Ensembles you can join

Open to all UNSW students by audition only: UNSW Orchestra, Burgundian Consort, Jazz Orchestra, Latin Jazz Conjunto (T2 only) and Tango Ensemble (T3 only). 

Open to all UNSW students by registration (no audition required): Collegium Musicum Choir and UNSW Wind Symphony.

Open to any UNSW students through the courses BA Performance Labs A/MUSC1708 (12UOC) or Music Ensemble/MUSC4706 (6UOC), as well as all UNSW BMus students: 

Audition or submission required: Advanced Jazz Ensemble, Balkan Ensemble, Chamber Music Ensemble (T2 & T3), Guitar Ensemble, Intermediate Jazz Ensemble, Jazz Orchestra, Latin Conjunto, Sound Lab Live (T3 only), UNSW Orchestra, Burgundian Consort.

No audition required: Balinese Gamelan, Fundamentals of Improvisation, Handbells Ensemble, Jazz Composition Ensemble, Jazz Keyboard Ensemble, Sound Lab Studio and West African Drums, UNSW Wind Symphony, Collegium Musicum Choir.

Performance lab students 

Students enrolled in a performance lab course must participate in an ensemble as a course requirement. These students must be aware that they need to attend 80 per cent of ensemble classes as they would any other SAM class to meet the course requirements. These students will do part checking in Weeks 10 or 11, depending on the ensemble. 

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 convenor immediately. 

Below are details of how to sign up or audition for each ensemble for Trimester 2021. 

Most ensembles will have a public performance that will take place at a time that differs from the usual rehearsal time. All participants in the ensemble are expected to attend this performance. Your ensemble director should be able to inform you of the date and time of this performance at the first rehearsal or earlier. 

  • Advanced Jazz Ensemble (T1, T2, T3)

    Ensemble Director in T3: Alister Spence

    Schedule: Weeks 1-5 & 7-10, Thursday 4pm-6pm (online, possible F2F option after week 6)

    Jazz students MUST read - 

    Entry for new members is by email audition on or before Wednesday in O week.

    This ensemble explores established and new and exciting trends in jazz music and its many stylistic offshoots. It is intended 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. 

    Ensemble members will gain insight and experience as a soloist and as a member of a contemporary jazz ensemble. 

    Pieces will be chosen and performed in the ensemble from standard and contemporary jazz and jazz-related repertoire. Original works are welcomed! 

    The Advanced Jazz Ensemble works in a supportive and mutually encouraging environment.  

    Previous members of Advanced Jazz Ensemble are not required to audition. However, they must contact Alister Spence by email on or before Wednesday in O week.

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

    New applicants should submit their audition to Alister via email as an MP3. 

    Audition requirements: 

    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 

    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 

    Ensemble members are expected to: 

    1. Practise written parts 

    2. Prepare for any improvised solos  

    3. Listen to recordings of the works being studied 

    4. Attend all classes punctually 

     

  • Ensemble Directors: Mara Kiek and Llew Kiek

    Sign up: email your interest to Mara Kiek

    Schedule: Weeks 1-10, Tuesday from 4pm to 6pm

    In the Balkan Ensemble course, for both singers and instrumentalists, students will learn about characteristic elements of Balkan folk music, particularly the complex rhythms and harmonies that uniquely identify the music of this region. There will be a focus on the vocal technique required for authentic performance of Bulgarian traditional singing and plenty of opportunities for rhythm comping and traditional modal and contemporary improvisation for instrumentalists and vocalists.

    Please note, all participants will be required to sing as part of the training. The course is run by two of Australia’s most influential world music pioneers.

  • REGISTRATIONS

    Registrations opened in January 2021

    If you would like to audition for the Burgundian Consort, please email cmc@unsw.edu.au.

    Date: Tuesday, 9 February 2021, 10am

    Location: G16, Robert Webster Building

    Audition For the Burgundian Consort in 2021.

    The Burgundian Consort has existed as an elite arm of the Collegium Musicum Choir for many years (since about 1985). It includes only a small number of singers (12-18), mostly (but not exclusively) undergraduate music students and sings challenging, unaccompanied repertoire.

    All members of the Burgundian Consort are required to audition.

    Individual auditions took place on Tuesday, 11 February 2021.

    Please be prepared to sing and complete:

    • One piece to sing unaccompanied.
    • Part singing.
    • Sight reading.
    • Aural assessment.

    Rehearsals are each Monday during the academic term, 4pm to 6pm in Sir John Clancy Auditorium, UNSW.

    Non-academic enquiries: please email Music Performance Unit at cmc@unsw.edu.au

  • New members

    If you are a new member, you will need to undertake a short voice placement in order for us to determine which voice part you will sing with (namely, if you are a Soprano, Alto, Tenor or Bass). Voice placements will take place from the 6th to 10th of September.

    Please email cmc@unsw.edu.au with three times you are available for a voice placement during the week 24-28 May. Please prepare one song to sing unaccompanied for your voice placement.

    Existing members

    There is no need to take another voice placement.

    Registrations will open in May: https://www.music.unsw.edu.au/choral/collegium-musicum-choir

    Rehearsals are each Wednesday during the academic term, 5pm to 8pm in Sir John Clancy Auditorium, UNSW.

    Non-academic enquiries: please email Music Performance Unit at cmc@unsw.edu.au

  • Ensemble Director: Eamon Dilworth 

    Schedule: Weeks 1-5 & 7-10, Wednesday 4pm-6pm. (online, possible F2F option after week 6)

    Sign up: email ensemble director Eamon Dilworth on or before Wednesday in O week

    Jazz students MUST read - 

    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 and so on.

  • Ensemble DirectorJanet Agostino  

    Schedule: Weeks 1-5 & 7-10, Wednesday from 4pm to 6pm, Webster 331 

    Audition date: TBA, Webster Room 331 (during O-Week)

    Students who played in the Guitar Ensemble in 2020 do not need to re-audition. All other students will be required to audition before Week 1.  

    Please contact the ensemble director Janet Agostino to discuss your intent to audition.  

    The UNSW Guitar Ensemble provides a forum for classical guitar students to explore a wide range of repertoire as well as to refine ensemble skills, including sight-reading, rhythmic and stylistic accuracy, balance and creating an effective tonal palette. There will be performances scheduled throughout the year and participation in these will form part of the assessment for the course. 

  • Ensemble Directors:

    ·       T1 Alister Spence

    ·       T3 Jenna Cave

    Schedule: Weeks 1-5 & 7-10, Thursday 4pm-6pm. In T3 JCE will operate online, with possible F2F option after week 6

    Registration: To join this ensemble in T3, please email an Expression of Interest to Alister Spence or Jenna Cave by Wednesday in O week. Please state your instrument and a brief description of any experience you have performing and/or composing jazz (this is not essential). Include your student ID and either your Performance Lab Course Code, or your Ensemble Elective course code.  

    Overview: This ensemble is for students who are interested to gain understanding and experience in jazz composition and have a reasonably sound knowledge of music theory, but not necessarily any jazz composition experience. As this is a performance ensemble it is important that students are reasonably proficient on their instruments, however jazz performance experience is not necessarily required.

    The information content is divided into term modules. Previous members of the ensemble are welcome to enrol again for T3 as different material will be covered. Please email Alister Spence to confirm your membership for T3.

    The course will be both theoretical and practical. Examples will be listened to and analysed and also performed in class time. The relationship between the compositions and the improvisational opportunities that they offer will be explored. 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, rehearsed and performed in class time by members of the ensemble. The jazz composition ensemble offers a wonderful opportunity to hear your compositional ideas performed!

  • Ensemble DirectorAdrian Lim Klumpes 

    Schedule: Weeks 1-5 & 7-10, Wednesday 4pm-6pm (In T3 JCE will operate online, with possible F2F option after week 6) 

    Entry for new members is by email audition on or before Wednesday in O week.

    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.

    Auditions for new members will be conducted by email: Please email Adrian at adrianklumpes@gmail.com on or before Wednesday in O week. 

    Please state:  

    1. Your instrument(s).  
    2. Your background (if any) in improvisation. 
    3. Your Performance Lab Course Code, and whether this will be your Primary Ensemble, or your Ensemble Elective code.  
    4. Any other relevant information such as any specific improvisatory skills you want to develop, any particular reasons you are interested in this ensemble.

    In the same email, please include: 

    A short (one to two minute) recording of you performing a 12 bar jazz blues with a swing feel in the following format: 

    • One chorus of melody. 
    • Two choruses of improvised solo over the form of the blues clearly outlining the chord sequence.  
    • One chorus of melody. 

    Please send it as an MP3. 

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

    • Play the rhythm of the chosen blues melody (such as Billie’s Bounce, Tenor Madness) on the kit (one chorus). 
    • Two choruses of solo over the 12 bar blues form.  
    • One chorus of melody. 

    Please send it as an MP3. 

    Previous members of the ensemble do not need to audition. However, they must contact Adrian by email on or before the 8th September 2021, to confirm their interest in joining the ensemble. Please provide your student Z ID, Performance Lab course code or Ensemble Elective. Please note that numbers are limited, so be sure to contact Adrian ASAP. 

  • Ensemble Director in T2:  Casey Golden

    Ensemble runs Weeks 1-5, 7-10, Wednesday from 4pm to 6pm, Location Robert Webster room 141.

    Students interested in the Jazz Keyboard Ensemble are not required to audition. However, they must contact Casey Golden by email on or before Wednesday, 26 May to register. 

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

    This ensemble is for students who have little or no jazz performance experience, but are keen to learn how to voice chords, accompany effectively and improvise on the piano in a variety of jazz-related styles. Some piano performance ability is required. 

    By listening to audio examples and studying well-known jazz repertoire, the ensemble will gain experience in applying stylistically appropriate chord voicings, bass lines, accompaniment rhythms, modes and scales for improvisation and improvisational approaches, and effective ways to interact as an ensemble. Each member will take it in turns performing within the ensemble as bass line players, chordal accompanists, melody players and soloists. Time will be given for individual investigation and skill development as well as ensemble performance. 

    Please email Casey Golden or Alister Spence if you have any queries.

  • Runs in Terms 1, 2 and 3

    Ensemble Director in T2: Ellen Kirkwood 

    Ensemble runs Weeks 1-5 & 7-10, (In T3 JCE will operate online, with possible F2F option after week 6)

    UNSW Jazz Orchestra is a dynamic ensemble that plays jazz big band repertoire in a range of styles. Some Australian compositions are included in the repertoire. An exciting aspect of the group’s activities is premiering UNSW student compositions. The orchestra performs a concert at the end of each term.  

    Previous experience playing jazz and/or improvising is helpful but is not a prerequisite. Sight-reading ability is required on all instruments. 

    Brass players from any background are particularly encouraged to apply.  

    Jazz Orchestra membership is open to a broad of instrumentalists. 

    Previous members of Jazz Orchestra are not required to audition. However, they must contact Ellen Kirkwood by email on or before Wednesday in O week Please provide your student Id, Performance Lab course code and specify whether or not this will be your primary ensemble.  

    New applicants should submit their audition to Ellen Kirkwood via email as an MP3. 

    Audition requirements: 

    12 bar jazz blues with a swing feel in the following format: 

    • One chorus of melody. 
    • Two choruses of improvised solo over the form of the blues clearly outlining the chord sequence. 
    • One chorus of melody.

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

    • Play the rhythm of the chosen blues melody (such as Billie’s Bounce, Tenor Madness) on the kit (one chorus).  
    • Two choruses of solo over the 12 bar blues form.  
    • One chorus of melody. 

    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 all classes punctually. 
  • Runs in Term 1, Term 3

    Ensemble DirectorSonya Lifschitz

    Schedule: Weeks 1-5, 7-10, day/time TBA

    The Ensemble's mission is to INSPIRE and PROVOKE both the music makers and the listeners to examine, broaden and re-define the boundaries of music and the musical experience in the 21st century. 

    UNSW NEW MUSIC COLLECTIVE was formed in 2018 under the directorship of the internationally-acclaimed pianist Dr Sonya Lifschitz. The ensemble is dedicated to the creation and performance of new work as well as experimental and concert music of the 20th and 21st centuries. 

    Currently, the ensemble consists of eight members who bring exceptional performance, improvisation, arranging and compositional skills to enable creation and performance of advanced and challenging contemporary (art) music repertoire in curated, imaginative contexts. In 2018/2019, the ensemble performed: 

    Workers Union (1975) by Louis Andriessen; Changing Light (2002) by Kaija Saariaho; Tuning Meditation by Pauline Oliveros; Opera with Objects (1997) by Alvin Lucier; The Wonderful Widow of Eighteen Springs (1942) by John Cage; Action Music 2 (2018) by Erik Griswold; Coming Together (1971) and Attica (1972) by Frederic Rzewski, and Facing the Danger (1986) by Vincent Plush among others. 

    Membership of the UNSW New Music Collective is by audition only and is based on demonstrated high-level performance skills, interest in contemporary (20th and 21st century) concert music, openness and curiosity to work with graphic notation, including elements of improvisation, and well-developed collaborative skills. 

  • REGISTRATIONS

    Date: 10am to 5pm on Thursday, 11 February & Friday, 12 February

    Location: G14, G18, & 334 Robert Webster Building

    New members

    Auditions will take place Friday, 28 May from 10am.

    Registrations for UNSW Orchestra auditions will open in May: https://www.music.unsw.edu.au/instrumental/unsw-orchestra

    We are only auditioning the following instruments: Violin, Viola, Cello, Double Bass, French Horn, Trumpet, Trombone, Harp

    Please be prepared to play and complete:

    • Two pieces to play unaccompanied on your nominated instrument.
    • Scales.
    • Sight reading.

    Existing members

    Registrations for UNSW Orchestra will open in May: https://www.music.unsw.edu.au/instrumental/unsw-orchestra

    Rehearsals for UNSW Orchestra are each Tuesday during the academic term, from 6.30pm to 9pm location TBC.

    Non-academic enquiries: please email Music Performance Unit at cmc@unsw.edu.au

    Contact the MPU

  • Registrations for UNSW Wind Symphony will open in May: https://www.music.unsw.edu.au/instrumental/unsw-wind-symphony

    All woodwind, brass and percussion players are welcome to join.

    Rehearsals for UNSW Wind Symphony are from 4pm to 6.15pm each Tuesday during the academic term location TBC.

    Non-academic enquiries: please email Music Performance Unit at cmc@unsw.edu.au

    Contact the MPU

  • Ensemble ConvenorJohn Napier

    Schedule: Weeks 1-10, Thursday from 4pm to 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. 

    No auditions required. 

  • Offered in T2 & T3 2021

    Ensemble DirectorDr Kim Burwell

    Classical chamber music is for pre-formed small ensembles. To arrange an audition, you should email k.burwell@unsw.edu.au with a list of ensemble members and instruments, 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 term. The repertoire should be challenging and should offer participants shared responsibilities across a range of ensemble skills. There may be some scope to negotiate schedules: the earlier you get in touch, the more scope we will have. Feel free to contact Dr Kim Burwell at any time for more information, feedback on ideas, or appointments for auditions.

  • Offered in Term 2 only

    COLLA VOCE  (Vocal Workshop) face-to-face

    Ensemble Director: Dallas Watts  

    Schedule: Weeks 1-5 & 7-10, Thursday from 4pm to 6pm, Location TBA

    Auditions: Thursday, 3 June, from 4pm to 6pm (Week 1)

    • MASTERCLASS-DIRECTOR'S CHOICE

    This year's theme includes rolling Masterclasses in weeks 1-3, where each singer will be able to present at least one song from their own current exam repertoire if desired. The best eight songs will then be selected for workshop and then presented in a theatrical concert version* with singers encouraged by negotiation to direct their own or someone else's song for presentation. The final concert presentation will be held in class (week 10) on Thursday, 6 August.

    Contact Director Dallas Watts (dallaswatts@icloud.com) for an audition timeslot, please email before Thursday, 27 May.

    *Training in movement, scene superobjective and focus will be given so that the ensemble of singers will appear as fellow actors in each other's solo songs to build and enhance the main theme that the singer presents by the use stills/movement and collage effect.

  • Director: Sandy Evans  

    Tuesdays 4-6pm 

    Enrolment: On approval from Sandy Evans  

    Proposals for Jazz Chamber Ensembles are invited for T3. This is an exciting opportunity to pursue musical interests that broadly fall within jazz and improvised music. Applications from groups that explore improvisatory practices in a broad range of genres including jazz, intercultural music (e.g. Indian jazz fusion), new music, hip hop, RnB, electronica and anything else you might be interested in are encouraged. 

    Entry is by discussion with Sandy Evans. Write a short proposal detailing the creative rationale for your project, the instrumentation and the repertoire. Email your proposal to Sandy ASAP, and before Wednesday 8thSeptember. sandra.evans@unsw.edu.au  Include the student Id for each musician in the group, and either your Performance Lab Course Code, or your Ensemble Elective course code. Proposals will only be accepted for projects where most of the musicians elect this ensemble as their Primary Ensemble enrolment. 

    A musical sample may also be requested in some cases, but isn’t required in the initial proposal.

  • Ensemble Convenor: TBA

    Schedule: Weeks 1-5, 7-10, Thursday from 4pm to 5pm, Room TBA

    The Latin Conjunto is dedicated to the performance of Afro-Cuban and Afro-Brazilian genres, such as son, pachanga, mambo, salsa, samba and choro. Both instrumentalists and vocalists are invited to join the ensemble through audition. All students will learn the fundamental rhythms for these various genres and some may elect to learn the percussion instruments. Auditions will be held in O-week, but also please apply via email.

  • Ensemble Director: TBA

    Schedule: Weeks 1-5, 7-10, Thursday from 4pm to 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). 

    No auditions required, please email ensemble director if interested. 

  • Ensemble DirectorDr Adam Hulbert

    Schedule: Weeks 1-5, 7- 10, Monday from 4pm to 6pm in Webster 140 

    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. 

  • Ensemble Director: Maggie Ferguson  (no email as yet)

    Please express your interest by the 8th September to Dr John Napier.

    Schedule: Weeks 1-5 & 7-10, Tuesday from 4-6pm, Room TBA

    The Tango Ensemble will play classic Argentine tangos and milongas, using scores originally mostly written and arranged between 1930 and 1950. For pianists, players of orchestral strings, flute, clarinet, saxophone. Places in this group are limited and if auditions are required, they will be held in O-week, but please email John by sending your application to Dr John Napier.

  • Ensemble Director: Jonathan Ong

    Schedule: Weeks 1-5, 7-10 Thursday from 4-6pm Room TBA 

    Email ensemble director as soon as possible 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. 

    No auditions required. 

  • Sound Lab (Live) in lockdown!

    This term, we will focus on making music using smartphones. In particular, we’ll be using Endlesss for iOS (Android users, we’ll work out another solution) for online collaboration and remixing. Instead of a live performance, individual compositions that use the sounds from collaborations will be published via Soundcloud. No prior experience is needed to participate in this ensemble, although experience with, and access to, a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) will make your life a lot easier.

    To register interest, contact Adam Hulbert: a.hulbert@unsw.edu.au