The inaugural ASPIRE was held from 7-9 July 2017 at the world-renowned Queensland Conservatorium, Griffith University, Brisbane, and was a great success, attracting 450 students and their teachers from Australia and New Zealand.

ASPIRE 2017 – The 4-day Festival

The Icebreaker event, hosted at St Peter’s Lutheran College set the festival off with a bang! ASPIRE participants had the opportunity to meet fellow musicians and enjoy a meal from a food truck of their choice. The Toowoomba Grammar Funk Band kept everyone entertained and ASPIRE Festival Patron John Curro AM MBE officially opened the festival by cutting the HUGE ASPIRE cake!

The three days that followed featured stand-out adjudicated performances from top schools across New Zealand and Australia in the Queensland Conservatorium, Griffith University Theatre.

Each ensemble also worked directly with their adjudicators in technique-refining workshops, and with other renowned musicians in masterclasses.

ASPIRE 2017 Public Performances

The competition was complemented by public performances across Brisbane at Le Festival (Brisbane’s French Festival), a “Jazz Under the Stars” evening at Bulimba Golf Club, Queen Street Mall Stage, Old Government House, and the steps of the Queensland Conservatorium itself, overlooking the busy South Bank crowds.

ASPIRE 2017 Category Winners:

  • Concert Band – St Andrew’s Anglican College (Sunshine Coast)
  • Symphony Orchestra – Avondale College (Auckland)
  • String Orchestra – Brisbane Boys’ College (Brisbane)
  • Jazz Band – St Andrew’s Anglican College (Sunshine Coast)
  • SATB Choir – John Paul College (Brisbane)
  • SSA Choir – Westlake Girls’ High School (Auckland)

The John Curro Perpetual Award

Each of these ensembles performed to the entire festival congregation at the ASPIRE Gala Finale Concert on 9 July and the overall award for excellency – the John Curro Perpetual Award for Overall Best Performance – was awarded to Westlake Girls’ High School’s Cantare choir.

Queen Street Mall Stage

QLD Government House, QUT, Brisbane

Le Festival – Brisbane’s French Festival

Bulimba Golf Club

Aspire 2017 Clinicians


Jason Redman

Jason Redman has been the Principal Trombonist of the Queensland Symphony Orchestra in Australia since 1990, and has been teaching trombone to Undergraduate and Post Graduate students at the Queensland Conservatorium, Griffith University since 1998.


Dr Don Morris

Lecturer in Vocal Health and Pedagogy Dr Ron Morris is a speech therapist, audiologist and counter-tenor. Dr Morris graduated from The University of Queensland with an honours degree and has a Master of Music Studies and PhD from the Queensland Conservatorium.


Francois Combemorel

Francois began music at the age of five with piano and discovered percussion whenhe was fourteen learning from Georges Van Gucht, foundation member ofPercussions de Strasbourg. He studied at the Conservatoire National Superieur deMusique de Lyon with Francois Dupin graduating with a Masters in Percussion.


John Barry-Smith

Francois began music at the age of five with piano and discovered percussion whenhe was fourteen learning from Georges Van Gucht, foundation member ofPercussions de Strasbourg. He studied at the Conservatoire National Superieur deMusique de Lyon with Francois Dupin graduating with a Masters in Percussion.


Tim Sherlock

Timothy Sherlock is an Australian music educator, choral and handbell conductor and composer. He conducts the QPAC Choir, the Australian Catholic University Choir (Brisbane campus), the Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital Community Choir and the All Hallows’ School Handbell Ensemble.


Louise King

Louise is an exciting example of an independent contemporary classical musician. A refined English cellist with extensive international experience and training, she is an inspiring concert artist, teacher, recording artist, adjudicator and event producer.


John Curro

John Curro AM MBE is both the founder and Director of Music for Queensland Youth Orchestras (QYO), conducting the Queensland Youth Symphony since its beginning in 1966. He is in demand as a conductor and tutor for professional and youth orchestras and festivals.


A/Prof Peter Luff

Associate Professor Peter Luff is an Associate Professor and Deputy Director (Performance and Engagement) at Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University (QCGU). He holds the position of Associate Principal Horn with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra and is Vice President of the International Horn Society.


Brian Catchlove

Born in England and educated in Victoria after emigrating in 1971, Brian began music at age seven and received his first clarinet on his eighth birthday. He won a music scholarship in 1979 to attend the Ballarat Grammar School after which he studied clarinet at the Elder Conservatorium of Music in Adelaide with David Shephard and Gregory Blackman. Following a year in the World Expo 88 Marching Band in Brisbane he furthered his studies at the Queensland Conservatorium of Music with Floyd Williams.


Shelli Hulcombe

the Queensland Conservatorium of Music, Griffith University. She grew up in regional NSW, where she learnt piano from an early age (followed by violin, flute and oboe) before finally discovering a love of singing as a teenager. She is a passionate music educator, regularly adjudicating at many of the major eisteddfods around South East Queensland and examining for AMEB. Shelli is also a regular performer in the Musica Viva in Schools music education program, and is currently President of the Queensland chapter of ANATS (Australian Association of Teachers of Singing).

Aspire 2017

Concert Band Adjudicators

ASPIRE International Youth Music Festival was proud to announce Dr John Lynch, an exceptional wind conductor of international repute, and world renowned Brisbane based conductor Dr Peter Morris as the official 2017 concert band adjudicators.

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Orchestra Adjudicators

ASPIRE was pleased to announce Mr Mark Taddei, Director of Music for the Vallejo Symphony, one of California’s oldest orchestras and Artistic Director & Chief Conductor of TMO (Sydney) Sarah-Grace Williams, who was recently listed amongst ’10 of the Best Women Conductors’ as the official adjudicators for the 2017 Festival’s Orchestra section.

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Jazz Band Adjudicators

ASPIRE was proud to announce our world renowned 2017 Jazz Band adjudicators Dr Stephen Newcomb, based at Queensland Conservatorium with connections in New York City and Mace Francis, a young band leader on the rise, based in Western Australia.

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Choir Adjudicators

A man who has spent over 10 years at the helm of the famous The Sydney Philharmonia Choirs, Mr Brett Weymark will adjudicate the 2017 Choral Section of ASPIRE, with the new Head of Opera Studies at the Queensland Conservatorium, Mr Nicholas Cleobury who has conducted most major choirs in the UK and Europe.

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Aspire 2017 Partners

Principle Partners

Student Horizons

Gold Sponsors

Silver Sponsors

Bronze Sponsors

Encore Music Distributor
Kjos Music Company

Accommodation Partner

Catering Partner

Apparel Partner

Supporting Partners