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Composer Cast: Jared McCunnie

Thursday 10 June, 2021

Jared McCunnie is an Australian composer and arranger who has written for brass band, concert band, big band, and smaller ensembles. He has already won a string of awards and is studying composition at Monash University in Melbourne as part of a double Bachelor degree in law and music.

Christopher Bond finds out more about Jared and his work with brass bands in Australia and beyond.


What were your early musical experiences like? How did it all begin for you?

JM: My direct family are not musicians themselves but are all lovers of music. In the car growing up, my dad was a classic rock listener, my mum loved jazz and Nonna is a big fan of classical music. I was also a massive Wiggles groupie; I would arrive in the morning for the first performance of the day and would still be dancing in the front row for the final performance many hours later.

Growing up, my family has always been supportive of my musical endeavours. I picked up classical piano lessons when I was about six. My piano teacher was and always will be a pivotal mentor for my musical career. She encouraged a comprehensive education of European, jazz and global music theory. While she valued the classics of Bach and Haydn, she was also incredibly supportive of my interest in less-familiar Romantic and contemporary repertoire. When I started composing, she guided me through the traditional rules before encouraging me to break those rules.

When I was 10, a local brass band advertised in the local paper that it was starting a junior band. My parents took my brother and me along and I loved having a new musical challenge. My early brass career was on tenor horn until I got braces when I was 12 and transferred to the baritone. At high school, I was strongly encouraged to pick up an orchestral brass instrument so I had a blow through a trombone and French horn, before settling on tuba. Since then, I have played Eb bass with school groups and community brass bands, as well as a seven-piece busking outfit.

Tuba is now my main performance instrument and has promoted my travel to New Zealand, interstate and to some fantastic regional towns across Victoria.

My desire for composing seemingly appeared from nowhere but it always felt right. I had always loved experimenting with Garageband and I started arranging music for a couple of musical groups I played within. When I was nurtured into turning some of my creative ideas in my head into notation to share with others, I loved sharing my music with others. 


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