The Music Performance Unit UNSW has awarded its 2020 Willgoss Ensemble Composition prize jointly to Elizabeth Younan and Michael Grebla. The prize is aimed at encouraging and promoting the creation of an original, short work for ensembles, in support of a thriving instrumental and choral program at UNSW Sydney.
The winners each receive $2500 and will be commissioned to compose an original, short work for one of UNSW’s community ensembles. Elizabeth Younan’s will be for brass and percussion ensemble and Michael Grebla’s for string ensemble. Both will be performed in the 2021 season by members of UNSW Orchestra and UNSW Wind Symphony.
Elizabeth is of Lebanese descent and from Sydney. Until recently, she was living in Philadelphia, USA. She was a featured Australian composer of Musica Viva’s 2018 international concert season, where her Piano Sonata was premiered by Van Cliburn silver medallist Joyce Yang. The sonata was later nominated for Instrumental Work of the Year at the 2019 Art Music Awards. Elizabeth holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in composition from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, where she studied with composer Carl Vine AO as a
recipient of the Australian Postgraduate Award. Elizabeth currently studies as an artist diploma student under full scholarship at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, where she holds the Jimmy Brent Fellowship. She is the second Australian composer to be admitted to Curtis and studies with Dr Jennifer Higdon and Dr David Ludwig.
Michael Grebla is an international award-winning emerging composer from Western Australia, based in New York City. With a deep conviction for the role music plays in unifying society, constructing identity and building community, he endeavours to create inclusive cultural experiences, bridging tradition and the present. Recentl, his works have dealt with ideas of journey, displacement, transience and spirituality, offering his own deeply introspective expression and examination of the human experience. He has been recognised with grants and awards from the New York Composer’s Circle, the Zodiac Festival in France, the Australia Council for the Arts and the Australian America Association. Michael’s work has been performed internationally at festivals and by ensembles such as Ethel, Beo, Hub New Music, the Australian Youth Orchestra and the West Australian Symphony Orchestra. Michael is a John Monash Scholar and holds a master’s degree in music with honours from the New England Conservatory and undergraduate degrees from the University of Western Australia in mechanical engineering and music with first-class honours.