Melbourne Symphony Orchestra performs May Lyon piece inspired by the shimmering balance inside an opal gemstone

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“It’s a beautifully nuanced instrument that is quite complex,” she says. “You can have one note that can be played six different ways, so to write for it means you can get many beautiful sounds.”

She worked closely with MSO horn players Nicolas Fleury and Rachel Shaw to refine aspects of the composition and they will be the soloists when the piece is premiered as part of Angel of Light, conducted by Benjamin Northey.

Lyon began composing as a child. She studied music at university as a singer, but composing was always her goal. It has been a challenging road, prompting her to join the Composing Women program, which supports female composers.

“It’s the only program of its kind in the world and we’re still trying to have our voices heard,” she says.

Rautavaara: Angel of Light is at Hamer Hall from March 25-27.

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