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Conversations With Composers

Conversations With Composers

6 July 2023 | 5:30PM | $15  |   |  Salamanca Arts Centre: Long Gallery

Join the effervescent Paul Jarman as he chats with Australian composers of choral music Sally Whitwell (NSW), John Rotar (QLD) and Nic Courto (TAS) in an informal and informative setting.

These composers will all have works performed at this year’s festival; they will share the inspirations behind their commissions, thoughts around composing for specific ensembles and the importance of connecting with other composers.

The bar will be open to enjoy some refreshments while spending time with these fine musicians.

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General Admission – $15

*A Booking Fee of $3.00 applies, plus a 2.2% Basket Fee which will be calculated at check-out.



VENUE: Salamanca Arts Centre: The Long Gallery

Getting to the venue: 

  • The Long Gallery is on Level 2, 77 Salamanca Pl, Battery Point TAS 7004 
  • accessible parking spaces are available outside ‘The Den’ on Salamanca Place. More accessible parks are located on Salamanca Place in a sectioned-off parking lot opposite the restaurant strip. 


Guide Dog/Registered Assistance Animals welcome

Guide Dogs and Service Animal facilities: 

  • Water bowls will be available at this event upon request. 

Wheelchair accessibility

  • The Long Gallery is accessible on level 2 via the lift located in the Salamanca Arts Centre Courtyard. If you wish to access the lift in the evenings, please access from the courtyard entrance via Wooby’s Lane
  • Accessible bathrooms are available on every level of the Salamanca Arts Centre.  

Paul Jarman

Paul Jarman is a frequent guest to the Festival of Voices as a composer, conductor, clinician, presenter and MC extraordinaire! Over the years, the festival has commissioned and premiered several works written or co-written by Paul. He has touched the lives of thousands of festival goers with his boundless and infectious joy and enthusiasm for all things choral music.

Paul is most well known as a lyricist and composer of choral music, a world music multi-instrumentalist, and a facilitator of community- inspired collaborations. Paul has written over 200 commissioned works for ensembles, festivals and events, including Gondwana Voices, Sydney Children’s Choir, Birralee Voices, The Song Company, Boston City Singers, Rafiki Youth Choir, The Australian Boys' Choir, The Hunter sSingers, Department of Education, Woden Valley Youth Choir and many more. His unique blend of melody and timeless poetry celebrates the human endeavour and has captured the imagination of singers and audiences worldwide. He has been commissioned to write music about some of the most inspiring people of our time including Jessica Watson, Terry Fox, Helen Keller, Ernest Shackleton, Aung San Suu Kyi, Pemulwuy and Mary MacKillop among countless others.

"By nature, he can’t help but inspire, not only with his compositions which have a way of challenging every singer to be a better person; but also with his contagious passion, his sincere love of people from all walks of life and his limitless energy."
Julie Christiansen OAM – Founder, Voices of Birralee

Photo credit: KiPhotomedia


Nic is a musician, composer and music teacher based in Hobart. His interests are varied and eclectic, working with choirs, big bands and concert bands, as well as dabbling in songwriting. Recently, he has been responsible for arrangements for the 'Moonlight Aviators' house band and in 2022 one of his original works for concert band, 'Widogast' premiered as part of the Grainger Wind Symphony's 'Made in Australia' concert. His work for vocal ensemble 'The Afterlife Suite' has become a full-length show for the 2023 Festival of Voices


John Rotar is Conductor and Artistic Director of The Australian Voices. Described by Limelight as a ‘talented and innovative composer’, John is a prolific composer and has had over 115 works performed by many leading arts organisations across Australia, Europe and North America. Aside from his conducting and composing work John is also an active performer as a trombonist, bass, organist and piano accompanist and holds the organist chair at the historic All Saints Church in the CBD of Brisbane.

Image credit: Ronan King-Rose


Sally Whitwell is a dual ARIA award winning pianist and composer from Sydney.

A new music specialist, Sally’s recordings and performances of the works of American minimalist Philip Glass have earned her wide acclaim, including opportunities to perform with the composer at Center for the Art of Performance UCLA, Brooklyn Academy of Music and Perth International Arts Festival.

She has released five solo albums with ABC Classic, including one featuring all her own compositions. Her next album is a collaboration with guitarist Matt Withers, an all Australian program of music for guitar and piano. Her 3 movement work  Starwalker is the title track.

Sally is very experienced in choral music, having been Principal Pianist for Gondwana Choirs for many years. Her choral and vocal music has been performed by many of Australia’s leading ensembles including The Song Company, The Australian Voices, Australian Vocal Ensemble (AVÉ), The Consort of Melbourne, Adelaide Chamber Singers, Divisi Chamber Singers, Brisbane Birralee, Moorambilla Voices, Sydney Childrens Choir and Gondwana Chorale.

Currently, Sally is working on Pictures at an exHERbition, a commission from National Gallery of Australia and Luminescence Chamber Singers. She is also working on her first opera, Margaret and the Grey Mare, a multi channel video installation opera, in collaboration with artist Katy B Plummer and an artificial intelligence, The Grey Mare Chatbot.

Image credit: Maja Baska

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