We Won’t Let You Down (Natalie Nicolas)

[blockquote author=”Natalie Nicolas, composer”]

Watching the CSO take on my piece will always have a special place in my heart. It was the last concert I went to before COVID-19 shut our arts down, and what a way to leave with a bang in 2020.

They bring flair and soul to everything they touch.


Natalie NICOLAS We Won’t Let You Down (2017)

CSO Chamber Orchestra
Pip Thompson, Tim Wickham First violin
Dan Russell, Lucy Macourt, Claire Phillips Second violin
Lucy Carrigy-Ryan Viola
Patrick Suthers, Samuel Payne Cello
David Flynn Double Bass

Originally commissioned by The Hush Foundation, this piece featured in the CSO’s 2020 Australian Series, presented by Singapore Airlines in collaboration with the National Portrait Gallery.

This performance was recorded in the Larry Sitsky Recital Room and produced by the ANU School of Music.  


‘We Won’t Let You Down’ was commissioned by the Hush Foundation for Hush Vol. 18, Collective Wisdom, in a wonderful effort to enlighten the lives of children living in hospitals around Australia and the world.

As part of this project, I visited the Westmead Children’s Hospital; with the help of some very wonderful, selfless staff, I was able to spend a couple of days understanding what life is like for a child growing up in such a space.

I bonded with these children— we spoke about life, hardship, art music, pop music, and joy. We sang together and we talked about what would lift us on our darkest days. Here was founded the inspiration for ‘We Won’t Let You Down’.

Written for the Australian Chamber Orchestra Collective, this piece embodies what the children taught me— the key to catharsis is drive. I interpreted this literally in my use of rhythm and tempo, whilst appropriating some pop stylistic elements into my world of art music, as homage to my inspiration.

I thank Paul Stanhope for trusting me with this project and instilling endless knowledge in me during the process of writing this work.

© Natalie Nicolas, 2020


Composer, PhD candidate and music educator Natalie Nicolas studied composition at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. She has written for the Australian String Quartet, percussionist Claire Edwardes, the Goldner String Quartet, the Muses Trio, the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra (TSO), TSO Principal Viola Stefanie Farrands, Sydney Philharmonia Choirs, Canberra Symphony Orchestra (CSO) flautist Virginia Taylor, CSO harpist Alice Giles, cellist Georg Pedersen, Geist String Quartet, the Australian Chamber Orchestra (ACO) and others.

Nicolas has won numerous composition prizes including the National Composers Forum and the Flinders Quartet Composition Competition. She was selected for the inaugural National Women Composer’s Development Program, and has completed a residency with the Flinders String Quartet.

Nicolas tutors and lectures in composition at the Sydney Conservatorium and for the New South Wales High Education Certificate. She also operates a piano studio and performs in various ensembles around Sydney.


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