Camerata – Queensland’s Chamber Orchestra has announced that Alexander Voltz will be its Emerging Composer-in-Residence for 2022.

Voltz, who is based in Brisbane, is currently the youngest composer represented by the Australian Music Centre. His work takes inspiration from myth, politics and the historic, while investigating the human condition. His music has been performed and supported by Opera Queensland, Australian National Academy of Music (ANAM), Flinders Quartet, Australian Youth Orchestra, Queensland Youth Orchestras and The University of Queensland.

Alexander Voltz

Alexander Voltz. Photo supplied

He has been awarded Artology’s 2015 Fanfare Competition (Sydney) and The University of Queensland’s Prize for Composition (2019 and 2021), and has collaborated with musicians including Graham Abbott, Susan Ellis, Alex Raineri and his father Bradley Voltz.

In June 2021, Voltz spoke to Limelight about his new opera Edward and Richard: The True Story of the Princes in the Tower prior to its premiere in Brisbane and wrote about it for our Cutting Edge column.

Speaking to Limelight about his new position as Camerata’s Emerging Composer-in-Residence, Voltz says, “I am thrilled to have secured this stable post after only just completing my undergraduate studies, particularly in these uncertain COVID times.”

“Over the next 12 months, I will write and arrange several works for the ensemble, some of which will be toured regionally. I am grateful to Camerata and all its partners for providing this opportunity, and am looking forward to creating music for audiences across Queensland.”

Voltz also thanked his supporters and mentors, who include Australian composers Brenton Broadstock, Melody Eötvös, Nicole Murphy and Catherine Likhuta.

Camerata is the Company-in-Residence at Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC). Under Artistic Director Brendan Joyce, it undertakes an annual regional Queensland tour and a concert season in Brisbane and Toowoomba.

The emerging composer program began in 2015 as a regional touring commission where an emerging composer was invited to write a piece of music inspired by a regional area through which Camerata was to tour. The original composition, Renewing Rain, was written by Christopher Healey and was inspired by Longreach and Ilfracombe.

Subsequent composers commissioned to write about a piece for a Camerata tour include Connor D’Netto who wrote about Charleville, Michael Patterson who explored the story of the historic Paronella Park in Far North Queensland, Isabella Gerometta who responded to Barcaldine’s Tree of Knowledge sculpture, and, most recently, John Rotar who depicted the area around Winton in his work Plains Baked Golden in the Morning Light, which premiered in Winton in 2021 as part of Camerata’s tour and Opera Queensland’s inaugural Festival of Outback Opera.

Announcing the appointment of Voltz, Brendan Joyce said, “The really wonderful and perhaps unexpected thing about these works is that in every case, we have had much of the regional audience in attendance mention that they felt the new commission was their favourite thing on the otherwise eclectic classical program. I just love that. Perhaps it’s just that people in the farthest regions of our huge state are still relatively cut off from live acoustic music making, so they are then so much more open to what we offer.”

“I’m also excited that by the time John Rotar came along in 2020, we were able to change it into an Emerging Composer-in-Residence program and he had the opportunity to write four to five works including a 30-minute ballet for the Queensland Ballet Academy in 2021, which Camerata also performed.”

While these works had their world premieres in regional locations, Camerata has also included them on subsequent mainstage programs at the QPAC Concert Hall, Australian Digital Concert Hall, and the Empire Theatre in Toowoomba.

Camerata hopes to record all these works in time, including the music that Voltz will write in 2022.