Welcome to the

Australian Music Composition Competition

est. 2014.

in collaboration with guitarist Callum Henshaw.


The prize pool includes over $10,000 in cash and prizes such as:

Exclusive Mentorship, Commercial Recording, Performances and more!

Richard Charlton: First Prize of $3,000 Sponsored by Matt Withers

Natasha Lin aka Aksuna Second Prize of $1,000 Sponsored by Ecotopia

Naomi Dodd U30 Emerging Composer Prize $1,000 Sponsored by Callum Henshaw

Winners will now write a 3-5 minute work for guitar duo to be included on an upcoming album recorded by Matt Withers and Callum Henshaw. Other featured works to be included on the album are Matt Withers’ new arrangements of the beautiful music of Nat Bartsch and a newly commissioned Tango written for Withers and Henshaw by the esteemed Elena Kats-Chernin.

1st Prize: Richard Charlton – $3,000 Sponsored by Matt Withers

“What a fantastic opportunity. I am extremely grateful to Matt & Callum and look forward to creating a uniquely Australian work for them to play. ‘Threads of Australia’ has such a wealth of ideas for me to draw on.”

“My work will be titled ‘Hanging in the Balance’, drawing on the concept of interaction between very different ideas and the way our continent is an amalgam of landscapes, people, weather, and more importantly ideas and views. The musical thread will be modelled on ‘Barabul-la’, an ancient chant or song supposedly sung by Bennelong and Yemmerawanne back in 1793. As Needham’s artwork shows quite a few tress, along with shorelines, skies and even the iconic Uluru, I will embody in the music a sense of being grounded, like a rock while trunks and branches spread to the sky.”

“The overall effect should be one of growth and transformation. I think the artwork is very much a journey of memory and the links or threads we make along that trip, and this in a way, is how music in general works; a voyage through time, remembering the past but embracing the future.”

2nd Prize: Natasha Lin (Aksuna) $1,000 Sponsored by EcoTopia 

“Having just relocated away from Australia, this is an exciting opportunity for me to continue working with the Australian music community, particularly with distinguished musicians such as Matt Withers and Callum Henshaw. Most importantly, I see this as a chance to express our collective humanity through musical collaboration, particularly during trialling and unsettling global times.”

“The classical guitar will create a beautiful timbre to evoke the sensitivity and delicate quality that is underlying in ‘Threads of Australia’, which can perhaps be conveyed through the incorporation of tremolos, sustained dissonant chords and harmonics. Nonetheless, the guitar, being such a versatile instrument, can also bring out the power and the strength evoked in Needham’s artwork, as depicted in the continual presence and growth of nature despite mankind interference.”

U30/3rd Prize: Naomi Dodd $1,000 Sponsored by Callum Henshaw

“As an emerging composer, it is such an honour to have been selected to work with two distinguished Australian musicians, to not only compose for them, but to learn from their knowledge and experience and create a uniquely Australian work that brings together music and visual arts.”

“Needham’s artwork irresistibly evokes the very essence of Australia. Observing the artwork creates a sensory response where the audience feels the warmth, ruggedness, beauty and diversity of the Australian landscape. The variety of textures woven together create an organic quality which tells a story.”

“Some panels of ‘Threads of Australia’ show mountain ranges and vast oceans while others zoom in and explore intricate textures of the land. I will consider this in the structure of my work, starting with one element – one sound – which unfolds into a moving and passionate work which aurally transports the listener, so they experience the Australian landscape wash over them.”

  • Open age to Australian residents with Under 30 Emerging Artist Award
  • Applicants were invited to submit a written response to the inspiration artwork by Sue Needham
  • Winners will have the opportunity for mentorship with the ensemble
  • Winners are commissioned to write a 3-5 minute work for classical guitar duo
  • Submissions closed C.O.B. Monday 28th February 2022


Sue Needham‘s 2022 inspiration work:

‘Threads of Australia’

Sue Needham acknowledges our indigenous culture in colour, and the Australian military in one single symbolic button.

The artwork is created from many materials; threads, twine, cord, watercolour paper, linen, fabric, handmade and pastel papers, acrylics, watercolours, plastic and metal buttons.


Sample previous work recorded by Matt Withers and Callum Henshaw in various ensemble combinations on Spotify here, with the 2022 Inspiration Playlist


The Australian Music Composition Competition was established in 2014 and has grown from strength to strength with the support of generous sponsors. Tax Deductible donations can be arranged.

If you would like to consider becoming a donor for the AMCC, please Contact Matt today.

Discuss how you could commission new works for guitar and exciting chamber ensemble combinations or contribute towards the recording of the very best of Australian music!

search previous next tag category expand menu location phone mail time cart zoom edit close