Sky Jammer

Sky Jammer

Commissioned by the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra,
Cybec Foundation, 2016

First performance 10/02/2016, Iwaki Auditorium, Southbank, Melbourne
Benjamin Northey, conductor

Duration: 9’00”
Instrumentation:  1.2  1  1

Program notes:

By 2056 forecasters say the population of Melbourne will be climbing towards ten million. Okay, but at what point would our surrounding environment be unable to support so many people? And how will we know?

Sydney’s housing median house price has reached one million dollars and Melbourne’s is not far behind. Younger generations are being forced to move further away from the city centre or from where they grew up. Chances of purchasing one’s own home is fading. Close family ties and old friendships are now difficult to sustain. Increased isolation and alienation are the flavour of life. A new but yet unclear model of our society is constantly revealing itself.

What was once Melbourne’s picturesque streetscape and skyline are giving way to towering skyscrapers, lofty high-rise apartments, and monumental office buildings. These are closing in around us, polluting the air and water, and blocking out the sun and our view of the sky above.

The term “skyscraper” once implied “progress”. To my mind – and thinking not only of my own generation, but of our children’s and their children’s – “progress” has become a dubious word. So emerges this work’s title, Sky Jammer. Watching the city rising around us, I wonder, is this “progress”, or are we facing outcomes we cannot yet grasp?


Full instrumentation

Flute (Piccolo)
Oboe (cor Anglais)
Clarinet in Bb
Clarinet in Bb (Bass Clarinet)
Bassoon (Contrabassoon)

French Horn x 2
Trumpet in C x 2

Percussion x 2


1st Violins x 2
2nd Violins x 2
Viola x 2
Cello x 2
Contrabass x 1