Published
01 July 2014

Opera House composer

​One of St Catherine’s musicians has won a national accolade that could see her create a permanent legacy at the Sydney Opera House. Paris Francis in Year 8, entered a Sydney Opera House competition to create a new ‘cue bell’; the sound the audience hears to indicate it is time to take their seats.

The competition was open to anyone in Australia between the ages of 12 and 21 and the brief was to compose a 30 second fanfare. The Opera House didn’t just choose one winner though. It chose eight, and Paris’ entry was one of them. Paris said her composition drew on inspiration from Westminster Abbey which she visited recently as part of the St Catherine’s Music tour, as well as other fanfares she listened to.
 
“I wanted to start with something that would grab people’s attention and end with something really big so they would know they needed to go to their seats," she said. “The whole piece is a crescendo.”
 
Paris is a violinist and knew this was the instrument she wanted to play, ever since she heard the Wiggles for the first time at the age of two. Her win is all the more amazing because it was composed for trumpet, French horn and timpani, instruments she has never composed for before.
 
“I was elated and shocked,” she said. “I didn’t think I had a chance and no one in my family expected it. Now my mum, especially, is very proud and says she’s going to buy a season ticket!”
 
Part of the prize is a master class for the winners led by the renowned composer Nicholas Vines. Paris' composition will be recorded by the Australian Youth Orchestra in July and the fanfare will be heard publicly for the first time in September