About the premiere

‘An Australian War Requiem’ premiere.

An Australian War Requiem premiered at the Sydney Town Hall on Sunday 10 August 2014.

Outside the Sydney Town Hall 10 August 2014

Outside the Sydney Town Hall 10 August 2014

The performance was the culmination of more than two years of intense hard work, involving the composer, librettist, project managers and performers.

We were pleased to welcome a number of important guests to the performance, including:

  • His Excellency General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC (Ret’d), Governor-General of Australia, and Her Excellency Lady Cosgrove
  • The Hon Bronwyn Bishop MP, Speaker of the House of Representatives
  • Mr Andrew Elliot MP, Parliamentary Secretary, Member for Baulkham Hills, representing the Hon Michael Baird, Premier of NSW
  • His Excellency Mr Paul Madden CMG, British High Commissioner to Australia
  • His Excellency Mr Jean-Luc Bodson, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Belgium
  • Dr Şeyda Hanbay Arca, Consul General of the Republic of Turkey in Sydney
  • Mr Josef Reichhardt, Minister of Embassy, representing the Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to Australia
  • Mr Hans-Dieter Steinbach, Consul-General of the Federal Republic of Germany in Sydney
  • Ms Emmanuelle Denavit-Feller,  representing the French Consul-General in Sydney, also representing His Excellency the Ambassador of France to Australia
  • Mr Matthew Ayers, New Zealand High Commission Canberra
  • Mr Sandy Holloway and Ms Kathryn Greiner AO, former Anzac Centenary Advisory Committee
  • Maj Gen Dave Chalmers AO CSC (Ret’d), Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Mr Robert Kok and Ms Christine Forster, Sydney City Council
  • Rear Admiral Ken Doolan AO RAN (Ret’d), Chairman of the Council of the Australian War Memorial
  • Ms Alison Wishhart, Curator Australian War Memorial
  • Ms Belinda Hutchinson AM, Chancellor of the University of Sydney
  • Professor Stephen Garton, Provost and Deputy Vice Chancellor of the University of Sydney
  • Professor Ann Brewer, Deputy Vice Chancellor of the University of Sydney

As the last echo of the piper’s lament died away, for one, still moment, we paused to take in what we had just heard. And then, the audience spontaneously rose to its feet and thunderous applause broke out. This rapturous reception reflected the overwhelming impact the music, and the universal and yet very personal story it was telling, had had on those who were there. Emails, phone calls, letters and cards of congratulation have been flowing freely since the performance. And each uses a common language:

‘So moving…Inspiring…A magnificent performance…Poignant and evocative…Mind-blowing!…Superbly sung and played…A real masterpiece…’

Many speak of being moved to tears, of feeling a lump in their throats, that this was profoundly emotional experience:

‘Deeply memorable…Stunning—reflective and stirring…Wonderful!..’

And more than one has commented:

‘This is too good for one performance!…This belongs in the Australian repertoire from now on…’

From the soloists, Sydney University Graduate Choir members, guest choir, children’s choir and orchestra, feedback on the experience of rehearsing and performing An Australian War Requiem has been uniformly—and loudly—positive, many commenting on the fact they felt it a privilege to have been involved. Whether it be listening or performing, An Australian War Requiem has left an indelible impression on those who were there.

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