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2024 AWE Emerging Composer announced

Ahead of the 1 June ticket release for At the World’s Edge Festival 2024 (AWE), SOUNZ is thrilled to announce that Estella Wallace has been selected as the 2024 AWE Emerging Composer by AWE Directors Justine Cormack and Benjamin Baker and AWE 2024 Composer in Residence Eve de Castro-

AWE Artistic Director Benjamin Baker writes: “We are thrilled to announce Estella as AWE's third Emerging Composer. This unique opportunity will see her mentored to write a new composition that will receive multiple performances within the AWE festival programme and for 2000+ students throughout the Central Lakes region as part of the 'AWE+ in Schools' tour. We look forward to welcoming Estella to AWE in October, to working closely with her and sharing her musical voice throughout our region.”

Chosen through a nationwide selection process open to composers 23 years and younger, Estella will receive five months of personalised composition mentoring from Eve de Castro-Robinson to write a string chamber work for premiere within this year’s AWE Festival in addition to multiple performances in schools throughout the Queenstown Lakes and Central Otago region. Estella will also take up residence at AWE, attending performances in Queenstown, Bannockburn, and Wānaka, working with the musicians performing her piece, and personally introducing the work within festival performances.

Of this year’s strong group of applicants, Eve de Castro-Robinson says: "I was really impressed to see not only the quality of music, but also the high level of focus and commitment each student brought to their work in general. There’s certainly plenty of energy, engagement, and experimentation in these student composers, and that’s very heartening. In our selected composer, Estella Wallace, there is a clear musicality, but also the all-important fire in the belly, and a deep connection to the land."

Estella is currently a second year student in composition at the New Zealand School of Music – Te Kōkī. Having already composed for a wide variety of ensembles for choirs, one of her compositional achievements to date was winning the 2022 NZCF-SOUNZ Te Reo Māori Choral Composition Competition with her piece Ka Mate Te Reo I Te Reaka Kotahi which has notably since been recorded by Tudor Consort and also sung by the Christchurch Youth Choir.

Estella says: “I am so thrilled to have been selected as the AWE 2024 Emerging Composer, which is certain to be a real highlight of my composition journey so far. To have the opportunity to head down to one of the most beautiful places in New Zealand to share and create music with such talented musicians is something I am truly grateful for. It will be a privilege to receive mentoring from a composer as experienced and creative as Eve de Castro-Robinson, and I am so looking forward to working with her over the next five months. I’m ready to soak up everything possible from this experience which I know will help me develop into a more confident composer and can’t wait to share my work with everyone of all ages at the festival and schools. I hope it encourages some of the younger generations to get into composition.”

“We are delighted to extend our partnership with At the World’s Edge Festival, providing another year of this enriching opportunity for a young composer. Congratulations to Estella Wallace, who has demonstrably shown excellence in music composition. We eagerly anticipate hearing the music she will create for the festival stage!”, says SOUNZ Interim Chief Executive Claire Szabó.

For more information about the festival, visit, and be sure to sign up for AWE updates to never miss a note.