16 Jul

European Sax Congress

Castello del Buonconsiglio Marangonerie, Trento, Italy. 11:00 am - 12:00 pm


Sydney Conservatorium Sax Orchestra perform Katia’s “First Light at Uluru”

in Italy, Croatia and Austria.

11am, Thursday 16 July 2024

European Sax Congress


Castello del Buonconsiglio Marangonerie,
Trento, Italy.

“Music from Australia”

Katia Beaugeais, Matthew Hindson & Brenton Broadstock.

Performers: Sydney Conservatorium of Music Saxophone Orchestra

Director: Dr Michael Duke
Sydney Conservatorium of Music


Concert Program Note (Updated 2024)

Katia Beaugeais – First Light at Uluru for sax orchestra (2015)

First Light at Uluru for saxophone orchestra received premiere performances at the 2015 Strasbourg World Saxophone Congress featuring 40 saxophonists and Selmer Saxophone Showrooms in Paris, Royal Northern College of Music in England, and by all Australian Conservatorium saxophone ensembles.
First Light at Uluru was recomposed for the Sydney Conservatorium Wind Symphony in 2016 and recorded by world-renowned didgeridoo player, William Barton, and the Royal Australian Navy Band for their “Spirit of Place” CD. Both versions continue to be performed regularly around the globe, including the Royal College of Music saxophone orchestra in London and the Japan Ground Self Defense Force Central Band at the Tokyo Metropolitan Theatre Concert Hall.

First Light at Uluru is inspired by the spectacular sunrise over Uluru – Australia’s most famous icon. Also known as Ayers Rock, it is a giant red rock in the middle of Australia’s desert, with the ground made up of red soil. Uluru is sacred to the Anangu, the Aboriginal people of the area.

First Light at Uluru begins with soothing air vibrato wind sound effects to reflect the peaceful and spiritual atmosphere of Ayers Rock, where only the soft wind gusts can be heard.
As the sun slowly rises, soft dream-like melodies gradually build up to chorale-like passages, exploring the beautiful, lyrical sounds of the saxophone orchestra. At dawn, the giant red rock changes colour, producing an illuminating red and orange glow. This is conveyed by delicate multiphonic and quarter-tone trill effects and fast semiquaver motifs producing a loud, kaleidoscopic, collage-like textural sound mass.

The compositional aim of First Light at Uluru is to show how unconventional contemporary playing techniques can also be used to create unique, calm, expressive and atmospheric passages, rather than in a modernistic style commonly associated with avant-garde repertoire.


© 2024 Program note by Katia Beaugeais – Free to use for concerts.


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