Saturday, July 4, 2015


Monday 29th June

Composer,pianist, entrepreneur, Sally Greenaway. 

Who would have thought that the life of a jobbing composer could be so stimulating and entertaining? But then Sally Greenaway is no ordinary composer, as members of the Canberra Critics Circle discovered when the engaged her in conversation in the second session of the 2015 series of “Conversations with the Canberra Critics Circle.

Not only is Sally a gifted composer for hire, she’s also an arranger and pianist with her own jazz ensemble, as well as a passionate and enthusiastic entrepreneur.

Sally studied jazz piano at the ANU School of Music, and is a graduate of the Royal College of Music, London, who during her London stay played jazz piano on Steinway’s unique “Ferrari” grand piano at the London Chopin Festival and on Liberace’s rhinestone grand piano at the Dorchester Hotel in Mayfair.

A prodigious composer, her compositions cover a vast array of styles and genres, including numerous classical chamber works, several works for jazz big bands, and more that 20 film soundtracks.
Her music has been performed by the Australian Youth Orchestra, the Canberra Symphony Orchestra, the Finnish vocal sextet, Rajaton, the Mothership Orchestra, the Royal Military College Big Band, the Woden Valley Youth Choir, the Melbourne Composer’s Big Band and numerous community and school ensembles.

Sally's many awards include winning the APRA JazzGroove Mothership  Orchestra National Big Band Composition Competition in 2008, the Canberra International Music Festival Young Composer Award in 2009 and being a finalist in the Seattle Women’s Jazz Orchestra Composition Contest USA in 2013.

The ABC Classics record label has just released her latest CD, “Aubade & Nocturne” a superbly produced showcase featuring 16 of her compositions.

In response to questions from the Circle, Sally gave many candid insights into her work as a professional composer and performer. She spoke about how she finally persuaded her parents to let her learn to play piano; how she discovered her ability to compose, and about the discipline required to compose to a commission deadline.

Sally Greenaway 
She revealed how she developed the skills necessary to allow her to compose fluently for multiple instrumentation, and how she learned to negotiate fees and contracts. She talked about her enthusiasm for composing for films, symphony orchestras and special commissions, and confided that she had insisted on being involved in every aspect of the production of the ABC Classics recording “Aubade & Nocturne”, describing the process, which included stripping nude to be painted with flowers for the stunning cover photograph. 

She then surprised everyone by generously gifting each of those present with a copy of her superb CD  “Aubade & Nocturne”.
The next “In Conversations with the Canberra Critics Circle” will be held at CMAG on Monday 6th July when the special guest will be distinguished ceramicist, Janet DeBoos.

Bill Stephens