Composer Mentorship Winner

Orchestra Wellington in 2021 created the new position for a Composer Mentorship. The aim of the position is to support emerging composers in writing high quality works for orchestra, and to provide strong support for the composer throughout the composition process.

The chosen candidate creates a 4-7 minute work for orchestra which will be performed by Orchestra Wellington as part of their 2022 concert series at the Michael Fowler Centre, receiving mentorship across the year from Orchestra Wellington’s Composer-in-Residence John Psathas.


Julian is an emerging composer and multi-instrumentalist based in Wellington who was appointed as Sub-Principal Trombonist with Orchestra Wellington in 2015. In 2013 Julian completed his Postgraduate Diploma in Classical Performance at Te Koki New Zealand School of Music and has since enjoyed a diverse freelance career as a trombonist spanning a wide range of genres and ensembles which include the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra Wellington, The Royal New Zealand Air Force Band, numerous Jazz ensembles as well as acclaimed bands Richter City Rebels and Raw Collective.

Julian has recently taken up composition during the lockdown of 2020 in which he wrote his first orchestral piece “Nocturne for Orchestra” and some smaller works for piano. Along with a background in songwriting and music production, his time performing in the orchestra has certainly shaped him as a composer.

From Orchestra Wellington's Composer-in-Residence, the inimitable John Psathas:

"The Composer Mentorship we’ve launched at Orchestra Wellington is aimed at providing an emerging composer with a rare opportunity to create a new orchestral work with guidance from myself, Marc Taddei, and musicians from the orchestra. The chance to develop and workshop a new piece with direct access to the entire orchestra is very hard to come by, and I’m thrilled that we are able to offer Julian this resource."

"The residency’s goal is to realise the recipient’s potential as an orchestral composer through access, opportunity, and a live performance outcome to a receptive and nurturing audience. It also aims to develop the composer’s confidence in taping into, and expressing, their deeper core through music (something we cherish in the composers we love)."

"Julian has all the qualities we are looking for, technique, imagination, musicality, and a desire to meaningfully connect with and engage the listener. We are all looking forward to immensely to the music he will write for Orchestra Wellington."

We are thrilled to be working with Julian and we're relishing the opportunity to hear and perform his work next year. Exciting times ahead!

Credit: Leo Coghini (top of article), Charmian Keay (above)
Orchestra Wellington