THE two brilliant young winners of the 2013 Classical Guitar Composition Project, it has just been announced by the Canberra Classical Guitar Society and Wesley Music Foundation , Sam Smith and Leonard Weiss. 

Sam Smith
Sam Smith
Each has won a $1,000 commission to compose works for amateur guitar orchestra, and specifically for the Canberra Guitar Ensemble (made up of members of Canberra Classical Guitar Society).

Smith began playing the guitar at 14 after being introduced to the music of Jimi Hendrix and Django Reinhardt. He began learning the classical guitar not long after, and was greatly influenced by his first teacher, Steven Thorneycroft, and the recordings of John Williams.

He began his university studies under David Malone at the Hobart Conservatorium of Music, before transferring to ANU to study with Professor Tim Kain in 2008. In 2009 he also began to study composition under Jim Cotter and Larry Sitsky, later that year winning an award for  his collaboration with local animator Katie Ryan on the  short film “Mi Amistad.

Weiss is a third-year composition student at the ANU.  Some of his previously performed compositions including “Synergy,” a duet for an electro-acoustic and acoustic harp  and “Electric Toast,” a piece written as the advertising music for the Z-26 Musical Tesla Coil. In 2011 he won First Place and the Canberra Audience Choice Prize in the 2011 National Carillon Composition Competition.

Weiss’s  primary instrument is the harp, though he also sings and plays the French horn, trumpet and  tubular bells. He has conducted small and large orchestras.

The organisers of the competition tell us  Wesley Music Foundation can accept tax deductible donations of $2 or more for this project. Please contact Wesley Music Foundation, PO Box 3217 Manuka, ACT 2603, email or telephone 6232 7248 or visit

Leonard Weiss
Leonard Weiss

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