Recommended Composer for VSMF Festival 

My works are now recommended repertoire for the second year running for choirs entering the Victorian School Music Festival 2021.

Whenever the Wind is High, The Woodlark and Songs of the Sea & Sky are all recommended in either the Primary or Junior Secondary Sections and my works in general are suggested for the Open Secondary Section, alongside Paul Jarman, Annie Kwok and others.

World Premiere of Manley Hopkins Settings by Xavier College, Kew - August 2019 

Xavier College, Kew, have given the world premiere performance of The World is Charged with the Grandeur of God - Four Choral Works on Poems by Gerard Manley Hopkins. The set was premiered in Hamer Hall, Melbourne, conducted by Head of Choral, Nick Cowall.

It was an honour to be commissioned to compose a multi-movement choral work for the Xavier College Choirs and was a real delight to wrestle with the great poetry of Gerard Manley Hopkins, known for its unusual sprung rhythms, striking imagery and finely-wrought wordplay. There was also some great variety built into the work from the outset, with varied settings for the different choirs and in different instrumental combinations.

The pieces were as follows, in performance order: Let me be to Thee as the Circling Bird (TTBB with Tenor Solo) for the A Capella Chamber Choir; The Woodlark (SA, Piano & Percussion) for the combined Kostka and Burke Hall Choirs; Love Preparing to Fly (TBB, Piano & 'Cello) for the Senior Singers and God's Grandeur (SATB, Piano, 'Cello & Percussion) for the Xavier Combined Choirs.

The works formed the finale of Xavier in Concert and were met with great acclaim.

Many thanks to Nick Cowall, Head of Choral, who conducted with great authority and sensitivity, bringing excellent performances from the choirs who were highly responsive to the texts and the music. Thanks also to all the performers and to Director of Music Greg Carey.




New Manley Hopkins Commission for Xavier College 

Over the Australian summer I've been finishing a new commission for Xavier College, setting four poems by the great Jesuit poet Gerard Manley Hopkins. It has been a delight to be setting some of the finest English poetry. The works are for four of the Xavier College Choirs, and includes a finale setting of God's Grandeur for combined choirs, cello and percussion.

The works are due to be premiered at Hamer Hall in August 2019.

Gondwana Novus give Sydney Premiere of How to Get There 

Gondwana Novus have given the Sydney premiere of How to Get There, my setting of a wonderful, whimsical poem by Michael Leunig. The young choir performed the work beautifully under the direction of Kate Albury, as part of the Festival of Summer Voices, the Gala concert of the National Choral School. Congratulations to all!

Roderick Williams Performs Everyone Sang as part of War Tribute 

Award-winning British baritone, Roderick Williams, has been performing my setting of Siegfried Sassoon's classic poem Everyone Sang as part of a programme commemorating the Armistice. The concerts, accompanied by Susie Allan, included a recent performance at the Hampstead Arts Festival. Barry Millington writes in the London Evening Standard:

"The English late Romantics and their settings of the War Poets may have formed the nucleus of his sequence but there were fine examples too of songs by more recent composers including the Australian Todd McNeal..."

Godwits Premiere at World Migratory Bird Day 

Last Saturday I had the pleasure of conducting the Spotswood Primary School Choir and the Newport Community Choir in the premiere performance of Godwits at the World Migratory Bird Day celebrations at the Newport Hub.

The piece sets text from The Yellow Sea by leading Australian poet Barry Hill, and forms part of a short suite -Songs for Birds - commissioned for the City of Hobsons Bay in Melbourne's West. The full suite will be performed later in the year at the Newport Substation.

Thanks and congratulations to the choirs, who performed the piece three times to great acclaim!

Whenever the Wind Taken Up by Choirs Worldwide 

There has been huge interest in Whenever the Wind is High over recent months, following the Gondwana performance at Festival of Summer Voices. Orders for scores have come in from school and youth choirs across Australia and the UK.

The Gondwana performance is now available on youtube:

Junior Gondwana Give Sydney Premiere of Whenever the Wind! 

Junior Gondwana have given a brilliant Sydney premiere of Whenever the Wind is High, my setting of Robert Louis Stevenson's poem Windy Nights. They performed the work in the Grand Finale of the Gondwana Choirs Festival of Summer Voices at the Clancy Auditorium, University of New South Wales.

The choir gave an electrifying performance directed by Brisbane-based choral conductor, Kate Albury. ABC Classic FM recorded the concert for broadcast.

Many thanks and congratulations to Kate and Junior Gondwana!

New Commission - Songs for Birds 

Over the Summer I have been putting the finishing touches to an exciting new commission for the City of Hobson's Bay in Melbourne.

Songs for Birds is a suite of three short pieces setting words by one of Australia's leading poets, Barry Hill. The chosen birds - Godwits, Magpie and Ibis - are all seen in the Hobsons's Bay area, close to where I live in the western suburbs of Melbourne and the area where Barry grew up.

It has been a real pleasure to work on a piece with a strong sense of place. Excerpts were presented last week at the Australian Choral Conductors Summer School and were received with great enthusiasm, especially for Ibis!

The work is scored for children's and community choirs and piano and will be performed by local performers later in 2018. 

Ivanhoe Girls' Grammar School Premiere New Arrangement of Let it Go, Brother 

The Junior School Choir of Ivanhoe Girls' Grammar School have given the first performance of a new arrangement of Let it Go, Brother. The song is a folk-gospel ballad sung by British singer Emma Lewendon on my album, All My Good Intentions.

The choral arrangement, for two-part upper voices and piano, was made at the special request of Head of Junior School Music, Christopher Cox.

Congratulations to Christopher and the girls!