Music Ensembles

Our new BMus program nurtures the highest standards in performing, composing, researching, producing, or teaching by developing solid technical, aesthetic, critical and intellectual foundations in four new major streams: Music Creative Practice, Sonic Arts, Music Pedagogy, and Music Inquiry.

The School lays strong emphasis on learning through performance practice: there are plenty of opportunities to perform and active music groups to join.

Which Ensembles can you join?

Open to all UNSW students by audition:

UNSW Orchestra, The Burgundian Consort, Jazz Orchestra, Latin Jazz Conjunto, Medical Music Society Orchestra & Choir.

Open to all UNSW students no audition:

Collegium Musicum Choir, UNSW Wind Symphony

Open to any UNSW students through the courses BA Performance Labs 1 and 2, and all UNSW B Music students:

Balinese Gamelan, The Handbells Ensemble, Bulgarian Voices, Intercultural Ensemble, West African Drum Group, Fundamentals of Improvisation, Colla Voce.

Open only to students enrolled in UNSW B Music programs:

Chamber Music Ensembles, Guitar Ensemble, Intermediate Jazz Ensemble, Advanced Jazz Ensemble, Jazz Composition Ensemble, Contemporary Composition Ensemble, Sound Lab (Studio), Sound Lab (Live)

Performance Lab Students

Students enrolled in a performance lab must participate in an ensemble as a course requirement. These students must be aware that they need to attend 80% of ensemble classes as they would any other SAM class in order to meet the course requirements. These students will do part checking in weeks 12 or 13, depending on the ensemble, and will receive an ensemble grade.

Students must also register/audition for an ensemble during O-Week as all ensembles start in Week 1. If students find themselves not signed up to an ensemble by Week 1, they must contact their course convenor immediately.
 

View S1 2018 Ensemble Timetable (PDF) [196 Kb]

Below are details of how to sign up, or audition for each ensemble this semester

Balinese Gamelan (S1)

Runs in Semester 1 only

Ensemble Director: A/Prof Manolete Mora  <m.mora@unsw.edu.au>

Ensemble runs weeks 1-12, Tuesday 4pm-6pm, Robert Webster 331

The Balinese gamelan at UNSW is a variation of the semar pegulingan type, a gong-chime ensemble consisting of up to thirty players. The UNSW ensemble consists of metallophones, gongs, and other instruments, such as flutes, fiddles, drums and cymbals. This type of gamelan music is based on a seven-tone scale and can be used to perform a diverse repertoire including contemporary gong kebyar compositions, which are characterised by brilliant sounds, syncopations, sudden and gradual changes in sound colour, dynamics, tempo and articulation, and complex, complementary interlocking melodic-rhythmic patterns (kotekan).

Colla Voce Ensemble (S1)

Runs in Semester 1 only

Colla Voce Programme (PDF) [2 Mb]

Ensemble Director: Dallas Watts  <dallaswatts@icloud.com>

Ensemble runs weeks 1-12, Tuesday 4pm-6pm, Robert Webster 334

Auditions Required: Auditions in O-Week, Tuesday 20th February 2017 , 4-6pm, Robert Webster Room 334.

Registration: To be eligible to audition for this ensemble, you will need to email Dallas Watts at dallaswatts@icloud.com by 5pm, Friday February 16.

COLLA VOCE  (Vocal Workshop)

This ensemble is for those singers who want to get on stage and perform solos,duets and larger chorus scenes from Operas and Musicals.Improvisation interacts with major vocal works,culminating in a major night performance at the Io Myers Studio at UNSW on Friday May 18th.

The theme of the concert will be LIBERTE (liberty).The workshop will explore the way the politics of the French Revolution has impacted on Western Classical Music. Excerpts from Carmen, Les Miserables, Dialogues of the Carmelites, Fidelio, Faure's Requiem, Andrea Chenier and La Traviata will be explored for the final showing.

Audition Requirements: Find the lyrics/music for the French National Anthem (La Marsellaise) and select/sing two verses * in either French or English (preferably both). A rehearsal Accompanist will be available on the day, and there will also be a part-singing extract given at the audition, so you will need to set aside the full 2 hours for the audition on February 20th.

For any other inquiries please contact sam@unsw.edu.au

Contemporary Composition Ensemble

Not running semester 1

Ensemble Director: John Peterson  

Ensemble runs weeks 1-12, Monday 4-6pm, Robert Webster G18

We are pleased to announce that composer, John Peterson, will be directing the Contemporary Composition. There are places open in the ensemble, so if you are interested please contact John as soon as possible to register.

The Contemporary Composition Ensemble offers an "experimental space" where students create, rehearse, and participate in the performance of new works no matter their level of experience. While a series of short seminars will supplement the course, the focus here is on practical music making, on not only the ways composers capture and shape their ideas, but also how they can best bring their “paper music” to life.

By the end of the semester, students will have learned ways of developing their aural acuity, particularly their “inner ear”; refined their compositional technique through in-class tasks and feedback; improved their notation skills; and gained experience in leading a rehearsal. Most importantly, though, they will have heard a work of their own performed by an ensemble of their peers in a wholly supportive environment.

Sound Lab (Live) (S1)

Runs in Semester 1 only

Ensemble Director: Dr Adam Hulbert  <a.hulbert@unsw.edu.au>

Ensemble runs weeks 1-12, Monday 4-6pm, Robert Webster 140

Audition Required: auditions will take the forms of an interview please contact Adam Hulbert via email to organise a time to meet and please bring along any written pieces or musical influences.  Maximum  14 places

Sound Lab (Live) ensemble is offered to musicians who would like to produce and perform new electroacoustic works. Performers are encouraged to use their existing techniques with DAW environments and traditional instrumentation and/or expand these to incorporate UNSW’s collection of fixed-architecture and modular synthesisers. Primary tools for the performance will be Ableton Live and hardware synths and performers will be given support for learning these where needed. The ensemble will perform live in a multimedia environment, and video artists/VJs are welcome to apply. New works are performed live at the end of semester.

The Handbells Ensemble (S1)

Runs in Semester 1

Ensemble Director: Jonathan Ong  <jonathan.ong1@unsw.edu.au>

Ensemble runs weeks 1-12 Thursday 4-6pm, Robert Webster 331

Email ensemble director ASAP to secure your place

The Handbells ensemble features the university's own set of Malmark Bells, a professional instrument that offers students a fun and unique way to make music together.

The ensemble plays a diverse range of repertoire, ranging from folk tunes and classical music to contemporary, film scores, original compositions; we are only limited by the input in the ensemble. Students have the opportunity to write or arrange their own works for the ensemble, and accepted compositions will give students the opportunity to conduct their own work. The Handbells ensemble plays (at least one) concert at the end of the semester; this may require participation outside of the normal rehearsal hours of the ensemble.

Up to 14 students will be accepted into the ensemble. No prior experience is required, however apply promptly as places are limited and fill up fast.

West African Drum Group (S1)

Runs in Semester 1 only

Ensemble Director: Thiass Mbaye  <thiassmbaye@hotmail.com>

Ensemble runs weeks 1-12, Thursday 4-6pm, Robert Webster G18

This ensemble features the djembe drums (also ‘jembe’) a ‘goblet’ shaped drum whose origins are associated with the Mandinka peoples of the former Mali Empire. These drums are now part of various musical cultures from West Africa including but not limited to the nations of Senegal, Guinea, and Mali. The djembe is played with the hand while the three accompanying dunun drums (also dundun, djun djun) and bells are played with sticks. Traditional djembe ensemble music is learned aurally and presents rhythmic challenges to the musician. The ensemble instruction will also include some singing and dancing.

Chamber Music Ensembles (S1 & S2)

Runs in Semesters 1 & 2

Ensemble Director: Dr Kim Burwell  <k.burwell@unsw.edu.au>

Auditions for Chamber music will be held on Thursday 22 February from 1:30pm in Webster 334. If you would like to take chamber mysuc as the ensemble part of your performance lab course, you should form your own group, and book an audition by emailing Dr. Kim Burwell at  k.burwell@unsw.edu.au in an email that includes:

1. Names of participants

2. Ensemble combination (Your instruments)

3. Proposed repertoire, and a short note about what you expect to achieve in terms of outcomes.

Chamber music is offered to a limited number of small ensembles which will be chosen on merit. To audition, you should come along in your pre-formed ensemble, ready to perform repertoire that you have previously rehearsed, even if it is still a work in progress. You should also be prepared to discuss your intentions for repertoire during the semester. We will be looking for repertoire that is challenging, and that offers participants shared responsibilities across a range of ensemble skills.

Fundamentals of Improvisation (S1 & S2)

Runs in Semesters 1 & 2

Ensemble Director: Adrian Lim-Klumpes  <adrianklumpes@gmail.com>

Ensemble runs Weeks 1-12, Wednesday 4pm-6pm, Webster G18

Sign up in O week - email ensemble director to sign up

This is a 2 hour performance class that explores the 'how to' of improvisation in a practical setting.

No prior knowledge of improvisation is necessary, however participants in this ensemble are expected to be able to play their instruments with some proficiency, and to be able to read music.

The ensemble will perform together in an extended rhythm section and melody instruments workshop setting, with the repertoire being chosen primarily from the jazz tradition though not limited to that.

The harmonic and melodic structure of the pieces will be analysed and scalic/ modal possibilities suggested. Each student will be given an opportunity to explore these ideas in the performance of the piece(s). Pointers will also be given on group performance, 'groove', dynamics etc.

Please click below for the UNSW Jazz Syllabus:

UNSW Jazz Syllabus (PDF) [621 Kb]

Guitar Ensemble (S1 & S2)

Runs in Semesters 1 & 2

Ensemble Director: Janet Agostino

Ensemble runs weeks 1-12, Wednesday 4pm-6pm, Webster 331

Students who played in the Guitar Ensemble in 2017 do not need to re-audition. All other students will be required to audition on Wednesday 21st February 2018 at 4pm in Webster 331.

Students will need to perform a solo work of around 3-5 minutes duration plus do sight reading. Please contact the ensemble director to indicate your intent to audition.

The UNSW Guitar Ensemble provides a forum for classical guitar students to explore small ensemble repetoire as well as to refine their ensemble skills, including sight reading, rhythmic and stylistic accuracy, balance and creating an effective tonal palette. There will be at least one major performance scheduled per semester and this will form part of the assessment for the course.

Advanced Jazz Ensemble (S1 & S2)

Runs in Semesters 1 & 2

Ensemble Director: Alister Spence (alister.spence@unsw.edu.au)

Ensemble runs Weeks 1-12, Thursday 4pm-6pm, Webster G16

Please submit a paragraph about yourself and short recording of your jazz performance and improvisation by emailing this to the ensemble director during O Week in order to be registered for the ensemble. See below for the audition format.

This ensemble is for students who are experienced in jazz improvisation and have some practical performance experience.

Vocalists and instrumentalists on any instrument are welcome in this ensemble.

It is intended that participants will gain insight and experience and develop a more effective performance practice, both as a soloist, and as a member of a contemporary jazz ensemble.

Pieces will be chosen performed in the ensemble from standard and contemporary jazz and jazz related repertoire, covering a wide range of styles and rhythmic approaches. Original works are welcomed!

Topics that will explored include: applying modes, understanding choices related to harmony, re-harmonisation, metric modulation, rhythmic and melodic development. Stylistic flexibility and abstraction will also be touched on. Time will be spent seeking to develop effective group, soloist, and rhythm section interactions.

The Advanced Jazz Ensemble works in a supportive and encouraging environment. The performance results have been consistently outstanding! There will be a public performance towards the end of the Semester. Performance at this concert is compulsory for ensemble members.

Audition Format:

Please send a short paragraph about your musical experience and a short recording of yourself performing a 12 bar jazz blues in the following format:

• 1 chorus of melody

• An improvised solo over the form of the composition (2 choruses)

• 1 chorus of melody

Drummers should play a blues in the following format:

• Play the rhythm of the chosen blues melody (e.g. Billie’s Bounce, Tenor Madness) on the kit (1 chorus)

• 2 choruses of solo over the 12 bar blues form

• 1 chorus of melody

Please provide your student Id, Performance Lab course code (if known) and specify whether or not this will be your primary ensemble.

Previous members of the Advanced Jazz Ensemble are not required to audition. However, they must contact Alister Spence by email on during O week to confirm their interest in joining the ensemble in 2017. Please provide your student Id, Performance Lab course code and specify whether this will be your primary ensemble. The ensemble director will confirm your membership of the ensemble by the end of O week.

UNSW Jazz Syllabus (PDF) [621 Kb]

Jazz Composition Ensemble (S1 & S2)

Runs in Semesters 1 & 2

Ensemble Director: Alister Spence (alister.spence@unsw.edu.au)

Ensemble runs Weeks 1-12, Tuesday 4pm-6pm, Webster G18

Please submit an example of your composition work by emailing this to the ensemble director during O Week in order to be registered for the ensemble. Work can be in any style and doesn’t need to be complicated.

This ensemble is for students who are interested in jazz composition and have a reasonably sound knowledge of music theory, some composition experience, but not necessarily any jazz composition experience.

The information content is divided into semester modules.

In S1 2018 we will be studying Rhythm in Jazz music, investigating various aspects of rhythmic development in Jazz such as swing, syncopation, rhythmic subdivision, polyrhythm, metric modulation. Important examples will be listened to and played by the ensemble. Aspects of the South Indian techniques of vocalising rhythm (solkattu) and keeping time (tala) will be practised during the ensemble to assist in developing rhythmic flexibility.

The course will be both theoretical and practical. Examples will be listened to and analysed and also performed in class time.

There will be two short composition assignments set during the semester and a more substantial composition to be presented at the end of the semester, and rehearsed in class time with members of the ensemble.

UNSW Jazz Syllabus (PDF) [621 Kb]

Intermediate Jazz Ensemble (S1 & S2)

Runs in Semesters 1 & 2

Ensemble Director: Sandy Evans  <sandra.evans@unsw.edu.au>

Ensemble runs weeks 1-12, Wednesday 4pm-6pm, Webster G16

Please email Ensemble Director: Sandy Evans at sandra.evans@unsw.edu.au to express your interest. 

This ensemble is for students who already have practical experience in jazz improvisation and a good knowledge of chordal harmony and associated scales/modes. The ensemble is intended to deepen an understanding of jazz improvisational practice through the performance of pieces carefully chosen in a range of jazz related styles. Areas of focus include developing an improvisational language, chord/scale theory, guide tones, jazz voicings, group interaction, effective rhythmic expression and knowledge of repertoire. Vocalists and instrumentalists on any instrument are welcome in this ensemble as long as they have the experience and knowledge to complete the audition requirements set out below

In recent years, this ensemble has developed a strong identity and has come to be known as the G16 Jazz Collective. This group will perform a public concert on the evening of Thursday 17th May. Performance at this concert is compulsory for ensemble members

Auditions are on Wednesday 21st February in Webster G16. Please arrive as close to 4pm as possible. Students will be asked to perform a 12 bar jazz blues with a swing feel in the following format:

- 1 chorus of melody

- 2 choruses of improvised solo over the form of the blues clearly outlining the chord sequence

- 1 chorus of melody

Students may also be asked to sight read, including improvising while sight-reading a set of chord changes. Guitarists and pianists will be asked to demonstrate appropriate voicings for the chord symbols.

Students may bring an accompanist or a backing track, Please make sure you have the right lead to plug your device into the sound system. Leads will not be provided.

Drummers should play a blues with a swing feel in the following format:

- Play the rhythm of the chosen blues melody (e.g. Billie's Bounce, Tenor Madness) on the kit (1 chorus)

- 2 choruses of solo over the 12 bar blues form

- 1 chorus of melody

Drummers may also be asked to sight-read, and to demonstrate the following feels:

- Swing at slow, medium and fast tempos

- Jazz waltz

- Samba

- Bossa nova

Previous members of the Intermediate Jazz Ensemble are not required to audition. However, they must contact Sandy Evans by email on or before 21st February to confirm their interest in joining the ensemble in Semester 1 2018. Please provide your student Id, Performance Lab course code and specify whether or not this will be your primary ensemble. Sandy will confirm your membership of the Ensemble by email by Monday 26th February.

Please click below for the UNSW Jazz Syllabus:

UNSW Jazz Syllabus (PDF) [621 Kb]

UNSW Jazz Orchestra (S1 & S2)

Runs in Semesters 1 & 2

Ensemble Director: Sandy Evans 

Ensemble runs weeks 1-12, Wednesday 6pm-8pm, Webster G16

Entry by audition on Wednesday 21st February between 4 and 6pm in Webster G1

Please email Ensemble Director: Sandy Evans at sandra.evans@unsw.edu.au to express your interest.

UNSW Jazz Orchestra is a dynamic ensemble that plays jazz big band repertoire in a range of styles. Jazz Orchestra will conitnue with a Brazilian jazz theme this semester, as well as featuring UNSW student compositions.

Jazz Orchestra membership is open to the following instruments only for Semester 1:

Trumpet, Trombone, Bass Trombone, Piano, Bass (acoustic and/or electric).

Saxophonists, guitarists and drummers may attend the audition and will be accommodated in one of the other jazz ensembles if places are not available in Jazz Orchestra.

Auditions are on Wednesday 21st February in Webster G16. Please arrive as close to 4pm as possible. Students will be asked to perform a 12 bar jazz blues with a swing feel in the following format:

- 1 chorus of melody

- 2 choruses of improvised solo over the form of the blues clearly outlining the chord sequence

- 1 chorus of melody

Students will also be asked to sight-read. Pianists will be asked to demonstrate appropriate voicings for the chord symbols.

Students may bring an accompanist or a backing track. Please make sure you have the right lead to plug your device into the sound system. Leads will not be provided.

Drummers should play a blues with a swing feel in the following format:

- Play the rhythm of the chosen blues melody (e.g. Billie's Bounce, Tenor Madness) on the kit (1 chorus)

- 2 choruses of solo over the 12 bar blues form

- 1 chorus of melody

Drummers may also be asked to sight-read, and to demonstrate the following feels:

- Swing at slow, medium and fast tempos

- Jazz waltz

- Samba

- Bossa nova

Previous members of Jazz Orchestra are not required to audition. However, they must contact Sandy Evans by email on or before 21st February to confirm their interest in joining the ensemble in Semester 1 2018. Please provide your student Id, Performance Lab course code and specify whether or not this will be your primary ensemble. Sandy will confirm your membership of Jazz Orchestra by Monday 26th February.

Students are expected to:

1. Practise written parts

2. Prepare for any improvised solos in their book

3. Listen to recordings of the works being studied

4. Attend big band performances in Sydney during the semester

5. Attend all classes punctually

6. Perform at the Jazz Orchestra concerts: Jazz@the Pav at Bondi Pavilion on Friday 23rd March, and UNSW concert at Io Myers on Thursday 24th May.

Previous experience playing jazz and/or improvising is helpful, but is not a prerequisite. Brass players from any background are particularly encouraged to apply. Sight reading ability is required on all instruments.

Please click below for the UNSW Jazz Syllabus:

UNSW Jazz Syllabus (PDF) [621 Kb]

UNSW Orchestra (S1 & S2)

Runs in Semesters 1 & 2

Ensemble runs weeks 1-12, Tuesday 6:30pm-9pm, Clancy Auditorium

Entry by audition on Wednesday 21st February between 4 and 6pm in Webster G16

Weeks 1-12, Wednesday 6pm-8pm, Webster G16

Ensemble Director: Sandy Evans 

UNSW Jazz Orchestra is a dynamic ensemble that plays jazz big band repertoire in a range of styles. Jazz Orchestra will conitnue with a Brazilian jazz theme this semester, as well as featuring UNSW student compositions.

Jazz Orchestra membership is open to the following instruments only for Semester 1:

Trumpet, Trombone, Bass Trombone, Piano, Bass (acoustic and/or electric).

Saxophonists, guitarists and drummers may attend the audition and will be accommodated in one of the other jazz ensembles if places are not available in Jazz Orchestra.

Auditions are on Wednesday 21st February in Webster G16. Please arrive as close to 4pm as possible. Students will be asked to perform a 12 bar jazz blues with a swing feel in the following format:

- 1 chorus of melody

- 2 choruses of improvised solo over the form of the blues clearly outlining the chord sequence

- 1 chorus of melody

Students will also be asked to sight-read. Pianists will be asked to demonstrate appropriate voicings for the chord symbols.

Students may bring an accompanist or a backing track. Please make sure you have the right lead to plug your device into the sound system. Leads will not be provided.

Drummers should play a blues with a swing feel in the following format:

- Play the rhythm of the chosen blues melody (e.g. Billie's Bounce, Tenor Madness) on the kit (1 chorus)

- 2 choruses of solo over the 12 bar blues form

- 1 chorus of melody

Drummers may also be asked to sight-read, and to demonstrate the following feels:

- Swing at slow, medium and fast tempos

- Jazz waltz

- Samba

- Bossa nova

Previous members of Jazz Orchestra are not required to audition. However, they must contact Sandy Evans by email on or before 21st February to confirm their interest in joining the ensemble in Semester 1 2018. Please provide your student Id, Performance Lab course code and specify whether or not this will be your primary ensemble. Sandy will confirm your membership of Jazz Orchestra by Monday 26th February.

Students are expected to:

1. Practise written parts

2. Prepare for any improvised solos in their book

3. Listen to recordings of the works being studied

4. Attend big band performances in Sydney during the semester

5. Attend all classes punctually

6. Perform at the Jazz Orchestra concerts: Jazz@the Pav at Bondi Pavilion on Friday 23rd March, and UNSW concert at Io Myers on Thursday 24th May.

Previous experience playing jazz and/or improvising is helpful, but is not a prerequisite. Brass players from any background are particularly encouraged to apply. Sight reading ability is required on all instruments.

Auditions required. To sign up for an audition, please follow this link:

For more information, please see the MPU website: http://music.unsw.edu.au/instrumental/unsw-orchestra

Wind Symphony (S1 & S2)

Runs in Semesters 1 & 2

Ensemble runs weeks 1-12, Tuesday 4pm-6pm, Clancy Auditorium

No Audition. Follow the below link to register your interest:

http://music.unsw.edu.au/instrumental/unsw-wind-symphony

Collegium Musicum Choir (S1 & S2)

Runs in Semesters 1 & 2

Ensemble runs weeks 1-12, Wednesday 4:30pm-7:30pm, Clancy Auditorium

Auditions required.  Please follow the below link to make appointment for voice placement:

http://music.unsw.edu.au/choral/collegium-musicum-choir

Burgundian Consort (S1 & S2)

Runs in Semesters 1 & 2

Ensemble runs weeks 1-12, Monday 4-6pm, Webster G16

Auditions required. There are no available positions in the Burgundian Consort for Semester 2, 2018.

http://music.unsw.edu.au/choral/burgundian-consort

Medical Music Society Orchestra & Choir (S1 & S2)

Runs in Semesters 1 & 2

More information can be found on their website here: http://mmsunsw.weebly.com/

Enrolments are subject to approval - Please email A/Prof Manolete Mora <m.mora@unsw.edu.au> if you wish for one of these ensembles to be counted towards the ensemble requirement of your Performance Lab class.

Bulgarian Voices (S2)

Runs in Semester 2 only

Ensemble Director: Mara Miek

Ensemble runs weeks 1-12, Tuesday 4pm-6pm, Webster 306

Sign up in O week - email your interest to Mara Miek

Latin Conjunto (S2) - Cancelled

Runs in Semester 2 only - This ensemble has now been cancelled and no longer running in S2.

Audition will be during O week - Thursday, 19 July, 4pm, G18

Ensembles runs weeks 1-12, Thursday 4pm-6pm, Webster G18

Ensemble Director: Dr Manolete Mora  <m.mora@unsw.edu.au>

Sound Lab (Studio) - (S2)

Runs in Semester 2 only

Ensemble Director: Dr Adam Hulbert  <a.hulbert@unsw.edu.au>

Please express your interest during O-Week to Dr Adam Hulbert.

Ensemble runs Weeks 1 - 12, Tuesday 4pm - 6pm in Webster G16

Sound Lab (Studio) is intended for students who are interested in developing their ability to work in a studio environment. This ensemble focuses on studio recording and mixing techniques for a range of instruments, and involves collaborating with other musicians and ensembles to record their performances. Participants will also use their recorded material to develop remixes.

Intercultural Ensemble (S2)

Runs in Semester 2 only

Ensemble Director: Dr John Napier  <j.napier@unsw.edu.au>

Please express your interest during O-Week to Dr John Napier.

Ensembles runs Weeks 1 - 12, Monday 4pm - 6pm in Webster G18

The Intercultural Ensemble is a world music ensemble. We develop its repertoire each year from a diverse range of musical sources, depending on student abilities and inputs.