Independent and FREE - 2021 Best Online Publication

Year 11 student’s musical composition stuns judges

Independent and FREE – 2021 Best Online Publication (Qld Country Press)

Year 11 student’s musical composition stuns judges

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Matthew Flinders student goes 'Supernova' with award-winning musical composition

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A Year 11 student at Matthew Flinders Anglican College has been awarded first prize in a prestigious composers’ event.

Kairyo Searle claimed top spot in the 2021 Australian Society for Music Education Queensland Young Composers’ Competition (Senior Division).

His musical composition, Supernova, was chosen as the winning piece by the adjudicators, highly-regarded professional composers Lisa Cheney, Dan Pratt and Martin Emo.

Flinders has one of the most highly-regarded school music programs in Queensland, with many of its student musicians choosing to study music extension subjects in secondary school and to pursue further study and careers in music.

Kairyo plays in five different bands as part of the Flinders Music Program, including the Musical Band, College Band, Saxophone Ensemble, Stage Band and Wind Symphony.


He will conduct the premiere of his award-winning composition live at the college, performed by the Flinders Wind Symphony on Saturday, October 23.

He dedicated the piece to his fellow student musicians in the Wind Symphony and their legendary conductor, Flinders music teacher, Mr John Thomas.

Mr Thomas said Kairyo was a remarkable young musician with a promising future.

“I consider Kairyo to be one of the best musicians I have worked with in my 28 years at the college,” Mr Thomas said.

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“He possesses an innate sense of musicianship and consistently inspires everyone around him.

“I have enjoyed watching his love of composing develop through his analysis of the Wind Symphony repertoire and believe this has had a strong influence on his composing.”


Kairyo worked on the piece during the COVID lockdown last year, writing it for a full concert band instrumentation at an advanced level.

His first prize earned him a mentoring session with the adjudicators at the ASME Queensland’s online workshops in September.

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And in early October, due to COVID restrictions, the finalists concert will be replaced by an online showcase to premiere Kairyo’s composition and the other winning works through online platforms, including SoundCloud and social media.

Previous winners of the competition have gone on to study composition at a tertiary level or work in the music industry as professional composers.

As a dedicated musician, Kairyo rehearses for more than six hours per week through the Flinders Music Program and also through private lessons with esteemed music teacher, Mr John Camp.

Supernova can be streamed on all music streaming platforms including Spotify and Apple Music.