The Sydney has a history of commissioning renowned Australian composers to write works to be played by all competitors in the Competition. In 2016, Artistic Director Piers Lane AO decided, while making the performance of an Australian work the only compulsory requirement in the solo rounds of The Sydney, to make the choice of that work entirely the competitors’ own, hoping that a wider range of Australian works would be explored and performed, meaning greater variety for broadcast and internet streaming and an ensuing better knowledge of the range of Australian music for home and international audiences. He also hoped that, if competitors researched and learned a work of their own choosing, they would be encouraged to continue performing the work long after the competition itself. An example of the success of this approach is the American pianist Lindsay Garritson: her discovery of Carl Vine’s Toccatissimo in 2016 (coincidentally composed as a commission for an earlier Sydney) led to her commissioning his fourth Sonata and subsequently recording an entire cd of his music.
The aims of the Composing the Future project are manifold: to continue the tradition of The Sydney encouraging new Australian piano compositions, albeit in a new way; to enlarge the Australian repertoire for solo piano; to encourage composers to write works appealing to performers for whatever reason; to encourage composers to write for a medium that allows for easily achieved repeat performances and access to international audiences; and to encourage performers to support the composers of their own time.
It is hoped that works previously commissioned by The Sydney may be published as an iconic collection at some point. It is envisaged that the successful pieces from the current project would also be published in such a venture.