Detail of original painting by Matthew Quick

Introduced Species:
Symphony No. 2

For Orchestra (advanced).  18 minutes.  First performed in 2014.

Commissioned by the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, this 3-movement work takes its launching point from a painting by Australian artist Matthew Quick.

The painting in turn is inspired by the 1992 event when nearly 29,000 bath toys fell from a ship travelling from Hong Kong to USA.

In essence, the work explores the environmental issues surrounding the North Pacific Garbage Patch or Trash Vortex, and uses musical themes to depict a narrative as well as explore musical sonorities that align with plastics and their disintegration in the ocean’s five (possibly now six) garbage patches.

Commissioned by The Melbourne Symphony Orchestra together with the Albert H Maggs Prize Award for the MSO Up Close and Musical Program.


Flute (1) / Oboe (1) / Clarinet in Bb (1), Bass Clarinet (1) / Soprano/Baritone Saxophone (1) Bassoon (1)

Horn in F (1) / Trumpet in Bb (1) / Tenor Trombone (1)

Timpani + 2 percussion


Strings (note: the double bass is amplified and with delay machine)

Score and Parts

Available through this site shop

Teacher Resource

Work Process Diary+ Analysis Resource of Introduced Species by Katy Abbott.

Free Teacher Resource Document (30+ pages) including analysis of the work, plus ideas and questions for the classroom prior to attending a live performance.

“Katy Abbott delivers something exceptional in this work – a real marriage of the disturbing message of the intersection of a supposedly innocent baby’s toy and insidious environmental catastrophe and the extraordinarily evocative musical language from simple ideas that both entertains while it disturbs.”

Rhoderick McNeill
The Symphony in Australia 1960 – 2020: Routlidge, NY, 2022


A 4-minute animation by 3 different animators (and three different styles of animation) respond to this work. Includes music from movements 2 and 3.


Melbourne Symphony Orchestra
2014: 3 performances.

Melbourne Symphony Orchestra
2015: 3 performances.

Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra
2015: 1 performance.

University of Melbourne Symphony Orchestra
2016: 1 performance.

Sydney Symphony Orchestra
2018: 8 performances.

SSO together with VIVIDSyd + Macquarie University
2018: 1 performance.

UWA Conservatorium Symphony Orchestra
2019: 1 performance.

Sydney Symphony Orchestra performing Introduced Species, 2018  Photo: Daniela Testa