The 2020 Summers Night Project

The Summers Night Project is a biennial national mentoring project established to support and mentor female and non-binary composers to create a new composition with the aim of growing the gender diversity of composers in music programs Australia-wide.  

This year is the second iteration of the project and will see the national reach expand from three states to five with performances in and composers from Perth, Adelaide, Brisbane, Sydney, and Melbourne. This year’s selected composers are Aviva Endean (VIC), Hilary Kleinig (SA), Bree van Reyk (NSW), Kate Milligan (WA), Frankie Dyson Reilly (QLD). The mentoring team for 2020 is Cat Hope, Gabriella Smart, Erik Griswold, Damien Ricketson, Vanessa Tomlinson, Olivia Davies, Tristen Parr, and Aaron Wyatt. The 2018 Summers Night Project commissioned works from Olivia Davies (WA), Rachel Bruerville (SA) and Carmen Chan Schoenborn (VIC).

About the Project

In 2017, Anne Summers, author of the groundbreaking examination of women in Australia’s history “Damned Whores and God’s Police” released ‘The Women’s Manifesto’. This was intended as a blueprint to create equality for women in Australia, articulating clear goals for change, one of which was the right to participate fully and equally in all areas of public life. Taking inspiration from the Manifesto, The Summers Night Project aims to provide support and mentoring for female and non-binary composers to create new works for performances in Perth, Brisbane, Sydney, Adelaide, and Melbourne.

From a national callout five composers have been chosen from a very competitive field featuring a wide range of different artists at differing points of their music career looking to further their practice as composers. From this pool of applicants, this year’s selected composer mentees are Aviva Endean (VIC), Hilary Kleinig (SA), Bree van Reyk (NSW), Kate Milligan (WA), and Frankie Dyson Reilly (QLD).

A mentorship team selected from each state and the new music ensembles, Decibel (WA), Soundstream (SA) and Clocked Out (QLD), comprising of Cat Hope, Gabriella Smart, Erik Griswold, Damien Ricketson, Vanessa Tomlinson, Tristen Parr, Olivia Davies, and Aaron Wyatt, will work with these five selected mentees toward creating a new work for their combined ensemble to workshop and perform. The mix of composers and new music performer mentors aims to facilitate a practical opportunity for mentees to create and render their work a reality. This mentoring will take place online between May and October 2020 with the performance outcome postponed until early 2021.

After initial consultations, planning, and development, workshops of the works will begin in Perth, and will then go on to be performed in concerts in Perth, Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, and Adelaide.

Project Partners

Soundstream, APRA AMCOS,  Queensland Conservatorium, Griffith University,
Sydney Conservatorium of Music, Monash University, Decibel New Music Ensemble, Clocked Out, University of Adelaide, Australian Music CentreChamber Music Adelaide.

Philanthropic Partners

Sydney Community Foundation’s Women Composers Fund and its associated donors

Government Project Funding

Soundstream have been funded for this project by The Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding advisory body.

Media Partner

ABC Classic

The Mentees


Clockwise from left: Aviva Endean (VIC), Hilary Kleinig (SA), Bree van Reyk (NSW), Kate Milligan (WA), Frankie Dyson Reilly (QLD).

Aviva Endean (VIC) | Aviva Endean is a clarinet player, improviser, composer and performance-maker from Melbourne. She regularly works across a range of contexts including experimental and improvised music, new chamber music, creating theatre works which are designed to be listened to, and working on cross-disciplinary collaborations. Her work seeks to foster a deep engagement with (and care for) sound and music, with the hope that attentive listening can connect people with each other and their environment.

Aviva’s debut solo release ‘cinder : ember : ashes’ featuring improvisations and original compositions was released on Norwegian label SOFA in 2018 to critical acclaim, with reviews speaking to Aviva’s innovation and virtuosity, and describing the work as ‘captivating, sophisticated, stunning, miraculous’ & ‘trance-inducing’.

Aviva is the recipient of numerous Awards including the prestigious Freedman Music Fellowship (2015). She has been a finalist for The Melbourne Prize 2019, the Greenroom awards 2020, the EG music Awards ‘Best Avant-garde/Experimental act’ (2013 & 2018) and the Aria Awards ‘Best World Music album’ (2014). Her work with Justin Marshall ‘I Am Hear’ was awarded Best Kids Work at the Melbourne Fringe festival (2018).

Hilary Kleinig (SA) | Hilary Kleinig is a multidisciplinary musician who works as a performer, composer, curator, producer and educator. She is passionate about collaborative creation and producing new work that is vital, current and courageous.

Hilary is cellist with and Artistic Director of Zephyr Quartet (ZQ) – ‘Arguably Australia’s most lateral thinking and inventive ensemble’ (Music Australia) – an award-winning, bold and adventurous string quartet, delighting in the exploration of diverse music and forging dynamic collaborations.

Hilary enjoys playing cello in live and recorded performance, working as a freelance musician for ensembles, orchestras and contemporary music & jazz artists. She often works in theatre and dance, where her roles have included composer, sound designer, performer and musical director for productions.

Hilary’s compositions are played by young people and professional ensembles, with works being commissioned / performed by ensembles such as the Muses Trio, Clocked Out, Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, Adelaide Chamber Singers and the Adelaide Youth Orchestras. In 2018 Hilary was invited to be COMA’s (Creative Original Music Adelaide) Featured Composer. She is currently working on an ambitious research, development and composition project The Lost Art of Listening – a performance piece for prepared piano and audience-played smartphone choir which investigates listening and how people experience and value music in an age of 24-hour connectedness and distraction.

Bree van Reyk (NSW) | Bree van Reyk is a drummer, percussionist, composer and sound artist who makes unconventional and tradition-challenging performance works. Her music resides in the intersection between contemporary classical, indie-rock and performance art and is equally warm-hearted, celebratory, and focussed on issues of equality.

Bree has been commissioned by Sydney Festival, Sydney Chamber Opera, Ensemble Offspring, Canberra International Music Festival, Marrugeku, Urban Theatre Projects, Performance Space, Sydney Dance Company, The Letter String Quartet, Shaun Parker Company, fashion designer Bianca Spender, AGNSW, GOMA and the MCA.

Her performance career includes tours and recordings with artists such as Gurrumul, Paul Kelly, the Australian Chamber Orchestra, Synergy Percussion, Ensemble Offspring, Holly Throsby, Sarah Blasko, Marcus Whale, Laura Jean, Sally Seltmann, Toby Martin, Darren Hanlon, Grand Salvo, Katie Noonan, Oren Ambarchi + Martin Ng, and Anthony Pateras.

Kate Milligan (WA) | Kate Milligan is a Perth-born composer, conductor, and researcher. Her works are generally electro-acoustic in nature, explore detailed, ambient soundscapes, and ask complex questions through experimental mediums. Kate’s most recent work Migrations was commissioned by the Perth Orchestra Project and premiered in November 2019. She has also written for Decibel New Music Ensemble (Young and Emerging Composers Commissioning Program, 2019) and the Western Australian Symphony Orchestra (Young and Emerging Artists Composition Project, 2016). In 2020, she is a participant in WASO’s inaugural Emerging Conductors Program.

Kate holds a BA(Hons) from The University of Western Australia. Her research interests sit at the intersection of identity studies and musicology, with particular emphasis on constructions of gender in new music practices. In 2021, Kate will be commencing postgraduate study at the Royal College of Art, London, in Curation of Contemporary Art.

Frankie Dyson Reilly (QLD) | Frankie Dyson Reilly is a Brisbane-based composer, orchestrator, pianist and educator. Under the tutelage of Dr Gerard Brophy, she graduated with a Bachelor of Music with Class I Honours from Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University in 2019. During her studies she was a recipient of the Alan Lane Composition Award and the prestigious Griffith University Medal. In recent years Frankie’s compositions and orchestrations have been performed by notable ensembles such as the Queensland Wind Orchestra and Queensland Symphony Orchestra, while her scores for Australian short films have been screened at international venues such as Festival de Cannes and San Mauro Torinese International Film Festival.

Many of Frankie’s works stem from a desire to imbue visual concepts within sound, particularly colour, light and shade. Frankie’s Honour’s research, supervised by Professor Vanessa Tomlinson, experimented with the use of colour in traditionally-notated musical scores to represent musical expression. She aims to undertake further studies to continue her promising research in this field.

The Mentors


Clockwise from left: Cat Hope, Gabriella Smart, Erik Griswold, Damien Ricketson, Tristen Parr, Olivia Davies, Aaron Wyatt, Vanessa Tomlinson.

Cat Hope | Composer, flute and bass player based in Melbourne. Cat uses graphic notation and improvisation in her work and is the artistic director of Decibel new music ensemble (est. 2009) and Professor of Music at Monash University.

Gabriella Smart | pianist, artistic director of Soundstream (est. 1993) in Adelaide. Gabriella is the recipient of an Australia Council for the Arts Residency at la Cité internationale des arts (Paris) and an Arts SA Fellowship in 2019/20.

Damien Ricketson | Sydney-based composer, founder / Co-Artistic Director of Ensemble Offspring (1995-2015) and former Program Leader of Composition at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music (2015-19).

Erik Griswold | composer and pianist working in contemporary classical, improvised, and experimental forms.  Particular interests include prepared piano, percussion, environmental music, and music of Sichuan province.  Originally from San Diego, and now residing in Brisbane, he composes for adventurous musicians, performs as a soloist and in Clocked Out.

Olivia Davies | Summer Nights Composer Alumnus: A participant of the 2018 Summers Night Project, Olivia Davies is a Perth-based composer whose texturally-driven work explores ideas of ambience, stasis and flow. Olivia will support mentees during the workshops in Perth.

Vanessa Tomlinson | percussionist, composer, curator with a strong interest in sounding places and objects. Professor of Music at Queensland Conservatorium, Artistic Director of Easter @ The Piano Mill and Tyalgum Music Festival, and co-director of Clocked Out.

Tristen Parr | cellist and composer working within dance, theatre and contemporary performance and member of  Decibel based in Perth. Tristen also has experience in production management and technical producing.

Aaron Wyatt | viola/violin, Decibel ScorePlayer programmer, conductor, member of Decibel based in Melbourne.