Willoughby Symphony Orchestra presents Dedications

Last modified on 27 March 2023


Conductor Dr Sarah Penicka-Smith plus Young Composer Award Winner’s new work performed 


Celebrate musical dedications with Associate Conductor Dr Sarah Penicka-Smith. Hear our beloved Concertmaster Maria Lindsay perform Alla Pavlova’s lush Monolog – written as a tribute to Pavlova’s violinist father – alongside a dazzling performance of Australian jazz legend Tommy Tycho’s Violin Concerto, dedicated to Lindsay herself. This exciting concert on Saturday 20 and Sunday 21 May opens with Béla Bartok’s passionate Romanian Folk Dances and comes to a riveting close with Antonín Dvořák’s epic Hero’s Song.

As Dr Penicka-Smith says “Many composers dedicate their work to someone dear to them, and in ‘Dedications’ we have the very special opportunity to hear the dedicatee, Maria Lindsay, perform the music she inspired Maestro Tommy Tycho to write. We’ve paired his deliciously passionate violin concerto with Alla Pavlova’s haunting ‘Monolog’, which Alla wrote for her father. ‘Dedications’ is also your rare chance to hear Dvořak’s ‘Hero’s Song’, the last major symphonic work this Czech composer wrote. It’s intriguing that we don’t know who exactly the hero is - perhaps Dvořak himself? And of course, we have the world premiere of the Young Composer Award for 2023, a new piece written especially for the Willoughby Symphony Orchestra and Choir. I’m very excited to reveal what music the Willoughby Symphony has inspired!”

The YOUNG COMPOSER AWARD 2023 recipient is Klearhos Murphy whose new work will be performed by Willoughby Symphony Orchestra and Choir. When Klearhos was told of his award he said "To be given the opportunity to write original music, and have it performed by such an accomplished orchestra and choir, is truly the opportunity of a lifetime. Willoughby Symphony has consistently been a beacon for young Australian composers through their generous award program, and I am forever grateful and uncontrollably excited to work with them and to have my music premiered by them."

The Young Composer Award is an annual national competition providing young Australian composers the rare opportunity to compose for a full orchestra then have their new work performed, and recorded live, by the Willoughby Symphony Orchestra.

Now in its 19th year this prestigious award is the only one of its kind. The award is hosted by Willoughby Symphony Orchestra and the orchestra gratefully acknowledges benefactor Mark Wakely’s generous support of the award in memory of Steven Alward. The award has become a springboard for a generation of composers. In addition to prize money, the recipient gains valuable experience and contacts refining their original score alongside a respected conductor and accomplished orchestra.



Klearhos Murphy is an Australian-Greek composer who has worked with a variety of national and international ensembles, such as WASO, PSO, WSO, SSSO, and the Marina Bay Sands Orchestra. His area of specialisation is composing and arranging music for symphonic and chamber music settings, drawing from Western Art, Byzantine and Greek-folk traditions.

In 2017, Klearhos won the WAAPA Symphony Orchestra Composition Competition, and in 2018, he participated in the WASO Composition Project where he worked closely with members of WASO and critically acclaimed composer James Ledger.

In 2019 he was awarded first prize in the St. Mary’s Composition Competition for his choral work “Ave Verum”, and in 2021, Klearhos coordinated, performed in and conducted Henousia: Graduation Recital, where his piece "Henousia Cantata" won the ROSL Award for Best Composition.

In 2022, Klearhos formed a band with Callum O'Reilly under the name "Erka Blasa” and released several singles on streaming services. Later that year, they were admitted into the 2023 "Saruya Artists Residency" in Fujiyama, Japan, as part of a collaborative group.

As an arranger, Klearhos has collaborated with composer and dear friend Callum O’Reilly to arrange music for several of PSO’s orchestral concerts including the “WA of the Year Awards” (2018) with PSO and Birds of Tokyo’s Ian Kenny, "Love Him Madly: The Doors Reimagined" (2019), "Sweet Dreaming: Eurythmics Reimagined" (2020) and "Nothing Compares: The Music of Prince" (2021).

This year, Klearhos has begun studying a Master of Music (Research) at Melbourne Conservatorium of Music, where he will be utilising Eastern Orthodox theology, Greek philosophy and Greek music as conceptual bases for the creation of new works for orchestra and chamber ensembles.

Throughout his career, Klearhos has been fortunate enough to receive numerous awards and scholarships for his work in music, including the WAAPA Symphony Orchestra Composition Competition, St. Mary's Composition Competition, Bendat Family Foundation scholarship, ROSL Award for Best Composition, JCH Society Scholarship and the Kenneth Moore Memorial Music Scholarship.



During the Greek Civil War, suppression towards communists and anti-government bodies by the then appointed government was at its worst. As conflict ravaged and destroyed nearly all areas of Greece, civilians were often taken from their homes and sent to political prisons/concentration camps for labour, torture, and finally, either ‘repentance’ or death. One of these camps was set up on the island of Makronissos (Μακρόνησος) and was one of the largest.

My grandfather often recalls his memory of officials wrongfully detaining and exiling his father to Makronissos. There was no due process during this time, and mere rumour was enough to send him there. Though he was released after one year, we can only assume he suffered greatly at the hands of those running the camp. Accounts of the terrible conditions of Makronissos at this time include forced starvation and torture, both physical and psychological. After all of this, one must ask why were people, regardless of their beliefs, allowed to endure such hardship in the first place? I dedicate this piece to my great-grandfather, to all those detained, and to all of those who lost their lives during this war. Being a ‘Prayer for Makronissos’, the musical material utilises Byzantine and Greek folk theory for its melodic and harmonic language, as well as rich orchestral timbres that help to elevate the prayer to a state of fulfilment, longing and optimism.



Béla Bartók - Romanian Folk Dances BB 76
Alla Pavlova - Monolog
Dr Tommy Tycho - Concerto for Violin and String Orchestra
Klearhos Murphy - Prayer for Makronissos
Antonín Dvořák - A Hero’s Song Op. 111



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