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Southern Cross Soloists respectfully acknowledge the Traditional Custodians & First Nation owners of the land on which we work. We pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We also recognise those whose ongoing effort to protect and promote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures will leave a lasting legacy for future Elders and leaders.

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Southern Cross Soloists is committed to cultivating a 21st century musical ecosystem that explores cultural responsiveness and expression through commissioning and performing works of Australian composers, whilst providing audiences with a broader menu of cultural offerings.


One aspect of this commitment is nurturing First Nation's representation in our arts practices to promote cultural understanding. Our renewed focus for 2022-2032 is to respond to this commitment by creating the SXS Didgeridoo Commissioning Project' a legacy of new Australian works for didgeridoo and small ensemble with our Artist in Residence, Wakka Wakka didgeridoo soloist Chris Williams.


Having appointed Chris as our permanent Artist in Residence in late 2019, SXS is excited to be evolving into a completely new artistic space to create our own unique hybrid music. Chris is unique as a musician as he has worked extensively as a professional trumpet player in the customary classical music space, from orchestra to solo, including with leading orchestras in London, Europe and across Australia, and in the jazz genre. SXS is committed to to establishing a valuable legacy of new works for didgeridoo over the next 10 years, with the aim to create a substantial new canon of works by the time Brisbane takes to the world stage with the 2032 Olympics.

Didgeridoo Commissioning Project Executive Advisory Committee

Chair & Creative Director

Chris Williams

Cultural Advisor & Mentor

Uncle Kevin Williams (Wakka Wakka / Gunggari Elder)

International Ambassador

Sean O'Boyle AM

Artistic Director

Tania Frazer


If you would like to support the SXS Didgeridoo Commissioning Project, please consider giving a one-off donation.


Donations can be to the value of your choice and any amount over $2 is tax-deductible. Visit the SXS GoFundMe page via the link below to donate today.

DONATE at GoFundMe >







Southern Cross Soloists Artistic Director Tania Frazer (oboe) and 2022 Artist in Residence Chris Williams (didgeridoo) discuss the SXS Didgeridoo Commissioning Project with Peter McCahon on 4MBS Classic FM 103.7.


Southern Cross Soloists is creating a new canon of works for didgeridoo

Ahead of the SXS 2022 season launch, Tania Frazer and Chris Williams talk about commissioning works for didgeridoo and chamber ensemble, and teaching composers how to write for the instrument.

by Hugh Robertson on 11 February, 2022


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Chris Williams, didgeridoo artist in residence, Southern Cross Soloists
Tania Frazer, oboist and Creative Director, Southern Cross Soloists
Sean O' Boyle, composer discuss the
SXS Didgeridoo Commissioning Project with On RN Breakfast with Patricia Karvelas.

22 February, 2022




Composer Sean O’Boyle interview with Kelly Higgins Devine for ABC Radio Evenings.

10 February, 2022

+ Q Weekend

'Ridgy didge'

Phil Brown talks to Chris Williams and Tania Frazer about the Didgeridoo Commissioning Project. 

Brown highlights the process of the writing is not being an 'afterthought', it's a core part of the composition process from the beginning. 

by Phil Brown on 4 June, 2022


World Premiere: Leah Curtis's The Ground


Leah Curtis tells us about her new work The Ground in preparation for the upcoming concert 'A Moment in Time'. 

by Leah Curtis on 8 June, 2022




Spotlight on Leah Curtis


Leah Curtis has her say on the process of writing for the concert 'A Moment in Time'. 

by Bridget Cormack on 10 June, 2022




You can now learn how to compose for didgeridoo!


Didgeridoo player Chris Williams talks about the world-first series! 

by Stephanie Eslake on 2 August, 2022



+ Weekend Notes - Melbourne 

Southern Cross Soloists - Maps and Journeys


Maps and Journeys: The World's First Astronomers tours to Sunshine Coast for a school show with 276 school students. After this, the production flew down to Melbourne for a performance as well. 

Read the review from the Melbourne show below!

by Weekend Notes on 8 February, 2023



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Free online composer's workshop series for the Didgeridoo


A YouTube series in which composers can learn more about composing for the didgeridoo.

by SXS on 25 July, 2022





How to write for the didgeridoo


Wakka Wakka decendant, Chris Williams, talks about writing for the didgeridoo in a workshop hosted at QPAC for young composers. 

This project is part of the Education strand (Tier 2) of the DCP.  

by QPAC on 28th September, 2022



+ Annoucement: Wakka Wakka Soprano joins SXS

Margaret Schindler Vocal Scholarship 2023

Nina Korbe


Chis Williams




Kay Feeney & Christine Dauber Chair

A descendant of the Wakka Wakka people from Queensland, Australia, Didgeridoo player Chris Williams, began his music studies from an early age. He studied his Masters degree in Classical Trumpet Performance at the Royal College of Music in London. Chris has toured with various music ensembles through Europe and Asia and has also played trumpet professionally with The Hong Kong Sinfonietta and several of Australia’s professional orchestras. As Artist In Residence with Southern Cross Soloists, Chris is one of Australia’s leading didgeridoo soloists. As a didgeridoo soloist Chris has performed in various countries including Kenya, Tanzania, South Sudan, Ghana, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Australia, Ireland, France, Austria, the UK, Italy, The Holy See, South Africa and Israel. In many of these countries he conducted workshops at various schools and institutions and was able to share about the Indigenous Australian Culture.


Chris was principal trumpet with the Australian Youth Orchestra for two years and has been on contract with the Tasmanian Symphony and as Principal Trumpet with Hong Kong Sinfonietta. He has appeared as guest principal trumpet with the Hong Kong Sinfonietta, the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, the Queensland Symphony Orchestra and the Queensland Pops Orchestra. Chris has performed as a trumpet soloist with the Hobart Chamber Orchestra, the Queensland Pops Orchestra and the Australian Army Band. He was nominated for the Australian Freedman Fellowship award for Jazz and for the Australian Young Achiever Award twice.




Chair Sponsor:

Michelle May, Kay Feeney & Christine Dauber

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Photo: Giselle Images


SXS will commission new works of 8-10 minutes for our 2022 QPAC Concert Series Australian composers, developed in close collaboration with Chris Williams and Indigenous cultural consultant Paula Nazarski. This helps to ensure the creation of culturally respectful works that promote dialogue and understanding of the past and present, with a view towards a reconciled future. This substantial collaboration between Chris Williams and composers will push the boundaries of how the didgeridoo is used in Australian Art Music. We are aiming is to create a uniquely Australian hybrid sound where the ancient musical voice of the didgeridoo is an equal conversation partner with traditional Western instruments, in order to create an equilibrium of instruments and conversational musical style.

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Composer Sean O'Boyle has extensive experience in composing for the didgeridoo, having composed his didgeridoo concerto for William Barton that ranked #32 in the ABC Classic FM's “The Classic 100 Concertos”. Sean has also worked closely with Dr Hal Kacenic who created a system of notation for the didgeridoo solo part that Chris Williams has been performing from. In 2020 & 2021 Sean created a chamber version of his concerto for Chris and SXS to perform extensively throughout Queensland and for Melbourne Digital Concert Hall, and is currently working closely with Chris and SXS to create a free online composers' resource to provide insights into composing for the didgeridoo.



Composer Leah Curtis is a highly successful concert and film composer who works extensively in Australia and the United States. Having studied with John Corigliano, Leah's compositions have been performed by major orchestras in Australia, the USA and Europe and at the Park City Film Music Festival and Hollywood Music in Media Awards. Leah is highly experienced in cross cultural collaborations and a new work from a composer of this international pedigree will be an excellent addition to the repertoire for didgeridoo and small ensemble.



Matthew Dewey is a composer and music director based Sydney and Hobart in Australia. He composes powerful, lyrical music for the concert hall, the theatre and for film. His first chamber opera was written and staged when he was just 18 and at the age of 24, his first symphony and first orchestral suite were recorded in Moscow by the Russian Philharmonic Orchestra. In addition to his work as a freelance composer, Matthew is the music director of Australia’s national classical music radio network, ABC Classic FM.





+ Chris Williams

+ Sean O'Boyle

+ Southern Cross Soloists


Currently, SXS are developing a digital guide for composers writing for didgeridoo, developed in collaboration with Chris Williams, composer

Sean O'Boyle and Southern Cross Soloists.


Through the collaborative nature of the SXS Didgeridoo Commissioning Project, we are aiming to encourage more composers to write works for didgeridoo. As such, throughout the creative process, SXS will host open workshops for composers to offer insights into the use of the didgeridoo, and all new works will be performed extensively as part of SXS touring programs.

The SXS Didgeridoo Commissioning Project greatly enhances SXS's scope to make a tangible contribution to the Australian art music canon, through promoting cross cultural genres in chamber music. The outcomes of the project will include increased cultural learnings across broad generational demographics which provide unique experiences for both audiences and the artists.


Photos: Maxine Williamson



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SXS sits down with composer Sean O’Boyle and Artist In Residence Chris Williams to discuss the Concerto for Didgeridoo by Sean O’Boyle/William Barton.

The innovative combination of the didgeridoo–an ancient musical voice of Indigenous Australia–with the traditional European classical orchestra has become somewhat of an iconic medium. Born out of a collaboration between maestro William Barton and the composer, the Concerto for Didgeridoo by Sean O’Boyle and William Barton sits among a body of wonderfully unconventional compositions by leading Australian composers. After its conception, O’Boyle’s concerto soon earned a permanent place in the Australian classical repertoire; ranking #32 in ABC Classic FM’s “The Classic 100 Concertos” and ranked #87 in the 2011 ABC Classic 100 “20th Century”.

How did you approach the cultural assimilation of western classical music and Australia’s First Nations People?

SOB: I looked at it from the viewpoint that the comparatively young western classical tradition could meld with the ancient didgeridoo tradition. We chose the themes of "Earth", "Wind", "Water" and "Fire". There is also extensive use of a bullroarer and clapsticks. The didgeridoo was treated as an improvising instrument and this gave enormous scope to the work.

On the whole, how does the musical assimilation of western classical music with musical traditions belonging to Australia’s First Nations People sit with you? Are there successful examples of this? Where does the concerto fit in this narrative?

CW: For me, the Didgeridoo is about storytelling and communicating the heart and voice of a people, groups and places. We have a distinct shared history in Australia, with an understanding of the past and present, with a view towards a reconciled future. This idea can be given a powerful voice through musical collaborations like these. Both art forms are dear to my heart. In a lot of ways, I think the merging of the two reflect the world we live in today.





Photo courtesy of Melbourne Digital Concert Hall

Since our first collaboration with William Barton in 2008, Southern Cross Soloists has pioneered a growing repertoire of cross-collaborative works that feature didgeridoo soloist.

Maps and Journeys: The World's First Astronomers

Production for mixed chamber ensemble, didgeridoo soloists, actor and dancer

Cultural Knowledge: Paula Nazarski

Preparation: Tania Frazer, Sean O'Boyle AM, Suzanne Kompass and Paula Nazarski

Music: Sean O'Boyle AM, Eric Avery, Brenda Gifford and Ross Edwards

Thursday August 11, 2022

Schools Concert - Bangalow Music Festival, A&I Hall

Selections from the Production

Saturday August 13, 2022

Bangalow Music Festival, A&I Hall

World Premiere Performance

Tuesday August 7, 2023

Schools Concert, Immanuel Lutheran College - Buderim

Wednesday August 8, 2023

Horizon, Melbourne Recital Centre - Elizabeth Murdoch Hall

Matthew Dewey – Kunanyi Skies

for mixed chamber ensemble and didgeridoo soloist

Sunday October 2, 2022

A Moment in Time, QPAC Concert Hall

Chris Williams, didgeridoo

World Premiere performance

Leah Curtis – The Ground

for mixed chamber ensemble and didgeridoo soloist

Sunday June 19, 2022

A Moment in Time, QPAC Concert Hall

Chris Williams, didgeridoo

World Premiere performance

Sean O’Boyle – ‘Beerwah’ The Mother of the Glasshouse Mountains

for mixed chamber ensemble and didgeridoo soloist

Sunday February 20, 2022

Fireworks and Fury, QPAC Concert Hall

Chris Williams, didgeridoo

World Premiere performance

Joe Twist – The Ancient Rainforest

for mixed chamber ensemble and didgeridoo soloist

Sunday September 5, 2021

Dreams and Visions, QPAC Concert Hall

Chris Williams, didgeridoo

World Premiere performance

Sean O’Boyle/William Barton – Didgeridoo Concerto

for mixed chamber ensemble and didgeridoo soloist

Thursday July 22, 2021

Brisbane Gala, Melbourne Digital Concert Hall

Chris Williams, didgeridoo

Wednesday November 18, 2020

Dusk Recitals; Chris Williams in Concert with Southern Cross Soloists

Bleach* Festival, Burleigh Hub, Gold Coast

Chris Williams, didgeridoo

Sunday October 18, 2020

SXS Returns, QPAC Concert Hall

Chris Williams, didgeridoo


John Rotar – Ginan: Songs of Knowledge

for mixed chamber ensemble and didgeridoo soloist


Sunday July 21, 2019

Maps and Journeys, QPAC Concert Hall

Chris Williams, didgeridoo

William Barton – Square Circles Beneath the Sand

for mixed chamber ensemble and didgeridoo soloist

Saturday August 19, 2017

Concert Five ‘Spirit of the People’, Bangalow A&I Hall

Annual Bangalow Music Festival 2017

William Barton, didgeridoo soloist

Joe Twist/William Barton – Bangalow Dreamsong

for mixed chamber ensemble and didgeridoo soloist


Featuring William Barton in collaboration with Southern Cross Soloists and community choirs from the Northern Rivers region

Saturday August 19, 2017

Festival Prelude, Bangalow A&I Hall

 2017 Annual Bangalow Music Festival

World Premiere performance

William Barton, didgeridoo/voice soloist

William Barton – I dream of sacred? I am my dream

for soprano, didgeridoo and mixed chamber ensemble


Recorded for ABC Classics

William Barton

Kalkadungu: Music for Didgeridoo and Orchestra

YouTube >   Spotify >

Australian Music Centre >

Tuesday August 4, 2009

Cocktail Chat with Piers Lane, Jupiters Townsville

2009 Australian Festival of Chamber Music

William Barton, didgeridoo soloist

Wednesday August 27, 2008

State Library of Queensland, Brisbane

World Premiere performance

 William Barton, didgeridoo soloist

Performance History
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