The composer is inspired by the moods of the sea, Tennyson’s Ulysses and poetic images of sailing in his new violin concerto.

Work So Dream Thy Sails
ComposerGordon Kerry
Scored forSolo violin, horns, harp, strings
Commissioned byAndrew and Fiona Johnston
PremiereOctober 30, 2016
PerformersHelena Rathbone, Australian Chamber Orchestra

It happens, of course, less often than it might, but it’s always affirming to receive fan mail. Composing requires solitude, and, living 800 metres from my own letterbox I’ve perhaps taken that to an extreme, so it’s nice to be reminded that one’s work is out there. I was especially touched when, some time ago, I opened an email that began, “I have been a long-time fan of your music for years”. But it got better: my correspondent, Andrew Johnston, wanted to commission a new work from me to celebrate his father’s 90th birthday, which would fall in 2016.

I have been very fortunate in regular  commissions from philanthropic individuals. In most cases it’s a simple request for a work of a certain duration for a specific ensemble, but occasionally patrons ask for a work that reflects something or someone close to their hearts. I’ve written...