East Maitland musician Gabrielle Cadenhead chosen to compose Newcastle Youth Orchestra’s performance Serenade Under The Stars

An East Maitland musician has composed her own concert… and she’s only 18.

Gabrielle Cadenhead has created the music for the Newcastle Youth Orchestra’s performance Serenade Under The Stars.

It is the biggest opportunity that has come Ms Cadenhead’s way, but it came through some hard work.

She developed a love of music at a young age, learning piano from age seven and flute two years later.

Ms Cadenhead said she was always making things up as she practiced, which led her to want to create her own music.

“Composition really came out of that,” she said.

“I didn’t really have a point where I said ‘I want to compose’.”

She became heavily involved in the composition side of music when she was in year 11 at Maitland Grossmann High School.

And from there she hasn’t looked back.

“I really like creating things,” she said.

“There’s something about hearing a new sound that I’ve created.”

Ms Cadenhead was accepted into the prestigious Sydney Conservatorium of Music after finishing her HSC last year.

She is in her first year of a Bachelor of Music Studies (Composition) and Bachelor of Arts (English).

Her music degree has given her the opportunity to study under renowned Australian composers including Paul Stanhope, Carl Vine, Ursula Caporali and Sandy Evans.

Ms Cadenhead was also accepted into the Newcastle Youth Orchestra this year, but was unable to participate due to university.

So when the opportunity came up to be involved in this concert, the young composer jumped at the chance.

A few months of work went into creating the piece for her application on top of her university study.

But her efforts paid off as her work was selected from a number of applicants to be performed by a 40 piece orchestra.

Ms Cadenhead said she was both excited and nervous about having her work performed.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity,” she said.

“It’s not often you get to write for a full orchestra, especially at my age.”

The achievement is a stepping stone towards Ms Cadenhead’s long-term aspiration.

“[My goal] is to be able to compose and not starve,” she said with a laugh.

“To make a career out of music would be really nice.

“It’s one of my passions, I don’t know what I’d do without music.”

Serenade Under The Stars will be performed at Civic Park, Newcastle this Friday from 5-9.30pm. The trees will light up from 8.15pm.