Syzygy Ensemble



Syzygy Ensemble

Laila Engle, flute Leigh Harrold, piano Julia Stoppa, clarinet

2.00pm Sunday, 10 July 2011
29 College Crescent, Parkville

Meet the Artists

Syzygy Ensemble: an unexpected syzygy occurred when Laila Engle, Leigh Harrold and Julia Stoppa joined forces to perform Matthew Hindson’s “Death Stench” for a recital in 2008. The three musicians quickly realised they shared a passion for new music, robust reds and knock-your-socks-off spicy food. With so much in common Syzygy Ensemble was born.

Laila Engle holds a Bachelor of Music (hons) degree majoring in flute performance from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music studying with Alison Mitchell and also awarded LMUSA diplomas in flute and voice. She completed a Master of Music degree at Melbourne University in 2009 studying under Margaret Crawford and Mardi McScullea and awarded first class honours in performance. After graduating she was awarded an Artstart grant from the Australian council for the Arts. She has won numerous awards and prizes including 1st prize in the ensemble section at the Australian Flute festival twice; the Patricia Bell award, the National Women’s council scholarship for music, and the Margaret Henderson award.

Since 2004Laila has been a member of the Royal Australian Air force Band. During this time performance engagements have included tours to Russia, Malaysia, and Turkey. As a chamber musician of the Air Force Band she has performed at the Australian consulate in Turkey, the Townsville International chamber music festival, ABC Sunday live and recently recorded a CD with the Air Force Wind Quintet.

Julia Stoppabegan playing the clarinet at age 12. She won music scholarships to the MacRobertson Girl’s High School and Blackburn High School where she played in the Symphony Orchestra and Symphonic Band. Julia embarked on a gap year after completing high school and travelled to England where she worked as a nanny, but also studied clarinet with Claire Boughn of the Royal Academy of Music. When she returned to Australia, Julia completed a Bachelor of Secondary Education in Music and English at the University of Melbourne, graduating in 1995.

After teaching for two years, Julia undertook post graduate studies in music performance in the Netherlands, studying clarinet with Jan Jansen and Walter Boeykins and bass clarinet with Henri Bok.  She remained in the Netherlands for a time and performed with, amongst others, the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, Zeewese Orchestra, ASKO Ensemble, Schoenberg Ensemble, AVRO television orchestra, Rotterdam Young Philharmonic Orchestra and the Volharding Ensemble.

Since returning to Australia in 2007, Julia has held a full time position as clarinetist with the Royal Australian Air Force Band, touring to Malaysia in 2008. She is on staff at the Victorian College of the Arts and is lucky enough to be mum to two beautiful boys.

 Leigh Harrold is one of Australia’s busiest and most sought-after piano players, winning the Adelaide Critics’ Circle prize for Best Emerging Artist of 2005. Born in Whyalla, Leigh completed undergraduate and post- graduate studies at The University of Adelaide with concert pianist Gil Sullivan. He won many awards and prizes before moving to Melbourne in 2003 to take up a full scholarship at the Australian National Academy of Music (ANAM) under the mentorship of Geoffrey Tozer.

As a soloist, Leigh has performed with numerous orchestras and earnt an international reputation as a chamber musician, having performed as duo partner with such luminaries as Michael Cox, principal flautist with the BBC Symphony Orchestra; Daniel Gaede, ex-concertmaster of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra; Swedish cellist Mats Lidstrom; and British pianist Mark Gasser. In between studying for a Ph.D. in piano performance and working at ANAM, Leigh finds time to walk, read, and write musical articles and programme notes. He holds two University medals – one for Music and one for Applied Science.


Erkki Sven Tuur (1959 – ) “Architectonics VII” (1984)

Houston Dunleavy (1962 – ) “To the ends of the ocean” (2008)

Katy Abbott (1971 – ) “Making Angels” (2001)

Katy Abbott (1971 – ) “Music for Demons” (2010)

Bruno Mantovani (1974 – ) “L’ère de rien” (2002)


Theo Leovendi (1930 – ) “Plus One” (1988)

Richard Toensing (1940 – ) “Children of the Light”

  • Dawn Processional
  • The Song of the Morning Stars
  • The Robe of Light
  • Silver Lightning, Golden Rain
  • PhosHilarion (Vesper Hymn)

Jennifer Higdon (1962 – ) “Dash” (2001)