6 August 2015
Australian music at 2015 Tyalgum Festival
Tyalgum Festival's co-artistic director Anna McMichael gives a preview of this year's events. The Festival takes place in the NSW village of Tyalgum and is one of this year's finalists for an Art Music Award in the category 'Excellence in Regional Area'. More information about the 2015 Art Music Award finalists in this Resonate article.
Tyalgum Music Festival (11-13 September 2015) has a vibrant history of commissioning and performing Australian works. Since 1991 the annual festival has regularly featured Australian music in its weekend program.
Over the years, new works have been programmed by numerous composers such as Ross Edwards, Robert Davidson, Ann Carr-Boyd, Sean O'Boyle, Erik Griswold, Anthony Garcia and Bradley Kunda.
Tyalgum's geographical area, situated in the Tweed Valley in northern NSW, the tiny village atmosphere, the flora, fauna and great natural beauty all inspire invited composers and performers during the festival. Many of the commissioned works refer to Tyalgum and especially to the surrounding nature. Concerts are held in the Tyalgum Community Hall, with stunning views of the mountains in the distance giving concerts a peaceful and special atmosphere.
As previous artistic director, Jenni Hibbard, says of Tyalgum Music Festival's Australian content: 'We are all proud that this inclusion of our living composers and their works has been a lasting legacy with so much on-flow in the world of Australian music... rich pickings from our wonderful composers!'
The festival has a strong tradition of volunteers and community involvement, and for the 2014 festival we arranged extra pop-up concerts along the main street, in the local shops, and late-night events at the Flutterbies restaurant. With scenic backdrops in all directions, outdoor events involving the whole village have a very special feel.
Tyalgum 2014 involved Australian works by Andrew Ford, Kate Moore, Erik Griswold, Gerardo Dirie, Trichotomy musicians, Cor Fuhler and Elena Kats-Chernin, and there was also a Peter Sculthorpe tribute concert. Performers included Anna McMichael and Tamara Anna Cislowska, The Song Company, Camerata of St John's and Lunaire Collective, among others.
The 2015 festival, 11-13 September, has a special outdoor event planned. 'Singing up Tyalgum', designed by composer in residence, Jon Rose, will be a celebration of songs of the Pied butcherbird, involving festival artists, Queensland Conservatorium students, Vox Caldera choir, The Song Company and local groups, all performing together on the main street of Tyalgum.
Jon Rose's Musical Ball event follows the family concert and involves a giant two-metre musical ball that will be activated by contact as teams engage in a fun and musical game on the village sportsground.
Other Australian musical content includes a premiere of a new work by Damian Barbeler, featuring classical accordionist, James Crabb, and a set of video screens with films inspired by the great eucalypt forests of the Blue Mountains.
Barbeler will also bring his musical Sound Bubble around the village throughout the festival weekend: an enormous, transparent, inflatable music box. Inside, live musicians will perform fantastical experiments on their instruments.
Clocked Out Duo (Vanessa Tomlinson and Erik Griswold) will appear at this year' festival, bringing a kaleidoscope of shifting sound colours with highlights from their recent CD Time Crystals, an exploration of perpetual motion, pattern and crystalline structures in musical form.
The Song Company will premiere a new work by Hollis Taylor, Absolute Bird. Roland Peelman says of The Song Company's involvement:
'We are incredibly lucky to be returning to Tyalgum. This year, we are bringing our own piece of nature: a broad selection of songs that are inspired by nature, and very specifically by birds, the original songsters! The inimitable Hollis Taylor has used her field recordings of the Pied butcherbird to write new pieces for us. They are not a description of this most exquisite creature, but rather a dialogue with the bird, a conversation between man and bird! What better setting than Tyalgum to bring these pieces to life?'
Tyalgum Music Festival prides itself on offering a diverse weekend program where historical classical repertoire and varied genres sit happily beside new works. We are thrilled to be nominated for the 2014 Art Music Award for Regional Excellence.
> The full festival program can be found at: www.tyalgumfestival.com.au.
© Australian Music Centre (2015) — Permission must be obtained from the AMC if you wish to reproduce this article either online or in print.
Violinist Anna McMichael is co-artistic director of the Tyalgum Festival.
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