Close [X]


An Interview with Timothy Ford

This week we sat with Tim Ford to discuss his work and participation in Penrith Con’s Young Composers Program and plans for the future.

The Young Composer Program is an initiative to support emerging composers in Western Sydney, particularly in Penrith Local Government Area, by providing them with opportunities to improve their craft, have their music performed and receive feedback from industry professionals.

When did you start composing – and what or who were your early passions and influences?

I was writing songs from around the age of eight. They were of course, terrible! As my musical ability increased and my proficiency as a guitarist improved, I began composing lots of harmonies using loop pedals etc. My induction into orchestral composition began in school, around age fourteen as part of my Music GCSE.


What are the special challenges/pleasures of working on this commissioned piece?

I really loved working on this piece! I enjoyed writing with complete creative freedom. Most of my recent compositions have been for university, and have lots of requirements that are creatively limiting, however this opportunity has let me loose to explore my own ideas. I also really enjoyed writing music inspired by my favourite literary works. It gave me an excuse to re-read them!


Talk us through the process of composing this new piece for the Richard Bonynge Ensemble

This piece follows the story of an individual character over the course of 9 books. To compose this music, I divided this story into its three distinct sections and used these as my inspiration for each movement.

To compose the melodies, I took the syllabic rhythmic structure of passages from the text, applied pitch to them. I then used these melodies as the building blocks of each piece, layering harmonies and counter melodies to produce the final piece.


What are some of your favourite musical compositions? What makes them good?

The works of Bear McCreary are my absolute favourite! His ability to combine classical theory and orchestration with modern sound capture is just awesome! He has written and produced some of the most successful and awe-inspiring film/game soundtracks in recent times. I particularly like his epic brass and percussion!


What are the most challenging aspects of composing music?

The area I struggle with most is conforming to classical voice leading. This is an area of music theory I have recently been introduced to and need to study it more to improve my work! I also find writing articulations and dynamics for different instruments challenging, as I am not always familiar with their specific playing techniques, this is where working with Brian has been extremely helpful!


What are your goals for the future?

My first goal is to finish my degree, after this, I’m not sure if I want to progress to a master’s degree, but ultimately, I would love to compose movie and TV soundtracks!


Penrith Conservatorium of Music, housed at The Joan has enriched the lives of the local community for over 30 years through its passion for excellence in music education and performance. The conservatorium has an ongoing commitment to developing and nurturing local talent by offering pathways for students to pursue a professional career in music.

The following programs are available.

  • Workshops and ensembles for emerging musicians and vocalists
  • Commissions for emerging composers
  • Emerging Musician program
  • Arts administration training
  • Stage and orchestral management training

For more information and to send an expression of interest, please contact us at conservatorium@penrith.city.