Festival of Summer Voices


National Choral School and the Festival of Summer Voices will not be held in January 2021.

We acknowledge that this is deeply disappointing for our whole community. We hope you understand that in order to proceed with planning this major national project, greater certainty around COVID-19 is required.

The safety and wellbeing of our choristers, artists, staff, volunteers and audiences is foremost in our planning. We look forward to welcoming you all back for the 25th National Choral School in 2022 and hope to announce other national projects during 2021.

For regular updates on Gondwana Choirs as we continue Gondwana Online and plan for the future, please join our mailing list.

Composer School

Gondwana Composer School is a truly unique opportunity for emerging composers to develop their craft during two intensive weeks in January. Under the expert guidance of leading composers Paul Stanhope (Associate Professor, Sydney Conservatorium of Music) and Gordon Hamilton (Artistic Director, the Australian Voices), participants were mentored throughout the entire creative process, including composition, revision, rehearsal, workshopping, performance and recording.

In the first week, composers were challenged to write a piece in 5 days for one of the resident choirs at National Choral School. Each composer was mentored through this process by Paul Stanhope, leading to a concert in which each composer’s piece performed by their choir.

In 2020, we offered only 6 places, one for each choir.
Composers of all ages are encouraged to apply.


A Sydney-based composer and conductor, Paul Stanhope is a leading figure in his generation. He has had prominent performances of his works in the UK, Europe, Asia as well as North and South America. After studies with Peter Sculthorpe, Paul studied for a time at the Guildhall School of Music in London in 2000. In May 2004 Paul’s international standing was confirmed when he was awarded first place in the Toru Takemitsu Composition Prize. In 2010 he was Musica Viva’s featured composer and in 2016 Composer-in-Residence at the Australian Festival of Chamber Music in Townsville.

Paul has composed for all combinations of vocal and instrumental forces including a number of major works in recent years for large forces such as Jandamarra: Sing for the Country a dramatic cantata based on the life of the Western Australian indigenous resistance hero, premiered by the Sydney Symphony Orchestra together with Gondwana Choirs and members of the Bunuba nation in 2014.

Paul is a Senior Lecturer in composition at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, as well as director of Choral Programs.e was Musical Director of the Sydney Chamber Choir from 2006-2015 and is also the Artistic Chair of the Australia Ensemble @UNSW.