One of West Australian Symphony Orchestra’s most celebrated initiatives is its Composition Project, which sees early career composers from WA hone their skills in a collaborative, hands-on environment. Mentored over a four-month period by Project Artistic Director James Ledger and musicians from the orchestra, the composers take part in one-on-one lessons, workshops and rehearsals, all of which culminates in a new work from each for 14-piece chamber ensemble. This year’s participants are Maddie Ivy, Nate Wood, Tim Newhouse and Simon Kruit, whose works will be showcased by WASO at the Final Showing on June 10. Limelightspoke to Assistant Concertmaster Semra Lee-Smith and Principal Second Violin Zak Rowntree about the Composition Project, for which they have served as mentors since its inception.

Semra Lee-Smith. Photo supplied

How have you both been involved with West Australian Symphony Orchestra’s Composition Project?

Semra Lee-Smith: I am the first violinist in the 14 to 15-piece ensemble involved in the Composition Project. The ensemble consists of one person from every section of the orchestra. I can’t actually remember when I got involved – my emails tell me it’s at least since 2013!

Zak Rowntree: From memory, I think that...