21 November 2013
Australian music in concert halls in 2014
Most big organisations have announced their season programs for 2014, while more flexible smaller groups haven't yet released all details for the coming year. The full picture is yet to emerge - at least it can be said that there is a fairly even, if somewhat thin, spread of premieres over the country. Symphony orchestras continue to experiment with various approaches as to where contemporary Australian works could live in their season programs: often they can be found in mini-festivals or series dedicated to contemporary music, chamber concerts, or school concerts and programs. Some festivals have announced their composers in residence for 2014, as has ANAM.
> Many of these concerts have already been added to the AMC's Australian music calendar, depending on the availability of dates and venue details - to submit additional events, please use the form on the website.
An Australian highlight of the 2014 Adelaide Festival is the Tectonics Adelaide project (9-10 March), conducted and curated by Ilan Volkov and involving the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, Jon Rose, Oren Ambarchi, Robbie Avenaim, Vanessa Tomlinson, Erkki Veltheim, Soundstream Adelaide and Speak Percussion, among others. Works programmed include David Ahern's Ned Kelly Music and After Mallarmé, Matthew Shlomowitz's Listening Styles (world premiere) and a Elena Kats-Chernin - Jon Rose collaboration Elastic Band (world premiere).
The chamber music concerts during the festival also feature two new Australian works for string quartet: Ross Edwards's String Quartet no. 3 Summer Dances (the Hungarian Kelemen Quartet, 3 March) and Stephen Whittington's Windmill (Australian String Quartet 11 March). The ASQ will be touring with Whittington's work in March, while their November tour includes the Australian premiere of Brett Dean's Ophelia Scene. For details, see the ASQ website.
The Kelemen Quartet are also touring with Edwards's Summer Dances as part of Musica Viva's international concert season. In addition to Edwards's new quartet, Australian works programmed for 2014 include artistic director Carl Vine's new Piano Trio (performed by Sitkovetsky Trio) as well as brass miniatures by William Lovelock (American Brass Quintet) and Christmas carols by Vine, Sculthorpe and Dean (as part of a mid-winter tour by the Choir of King's College, Cambridge). There will be no featured composer in 2014. For all tour details, see the Musica Viva website.
Another work by Vine - Smith's Alchemy for strings - will be heard in Sydney Symphony Orchestra's concerts on 19-20 March. SSO's 2014 season also includes two Australian premieres by Brett Dean (20-21 June and 22-23 October), a world premiere of a work for choir and orchestra by Paul Stanhope with Gondwana Choirs & Sydney Children's Choir (16-18 July) and the Australian premiere of Lee Bracegirdle's Harp Concertino (24-28 July). For details, see the SSO website.
In addition to the Tectonics spectacular at the Adelaide Festival, the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra's 2014 includes works by James Ledger (Two memorials) and Brett Dean (Pastoral Symphony) on 16 April, Sculthorpe's Sun Song (25-26 July) and Memento Mori (15 October), as well as the world premiere of Natalie Williams's Don Bradman-inspired work Our Don (14 August). The Nigel Westlake and Lior collaboration Compassion will be performed on 7 February.
Compassion is also featured in the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra's free concert at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl (15 February). New works by the MSO's 2013 Cybec Composers Program participants will be premiered in a free concert on 25 January, and Grainger's The Warriors is scheduled for 3-5 July. Outside the symphony concerts, a chamber work by Sculthorpe is in the program for 16 March, and Katy Abbott's new work is included in three school workshops in March (details on the MSO website).
The West Australian Symphony Orchestra premieres Carl Vine's new Concerto for Orchestra (10-11 October), and Iain Grandage's After silence... is included in the chamber music series. Details can be found on the WASO website. The program of WASO's Latitude new music concerts has not yet been released.
The Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra's 2014 includes a premiere of Richard Mills's new Impromptu, after Schubert (21 March), Kats-Chernin's Wild Swans Suite and Julian Yu's new orchestration of Alban Berg's Piano Sonata (10 & 12 April) as well as Katy Abbott's music for Li Cunxin's The Peasant Prince (6 June).
The Queensland Symphony Orchestra will premiere new works by Paul Stanhope (21 June) and Gordon Hamilton (9 August). See the QSO website for details.
The Australia Ensemble @ UNSW has looked at existing repertoire and is programming works by Martin Wesley-Smith, Raffaele Marcellino (16 August, together with The Song Company), Arthur Benjamin and Roger Smalley (20 September) as part of their 2014 season. There is also a brand-new version for piano and wind quintet of Ian Munro's Divertissement sur le nom d'Erik Satie (17 May). Full season program on the website.
Kate Neal is the festival composer of the next Four Winds Festival (18-20 April 2014). Neal will compose and arrange two new works to be premiered over the Easter weekend. Details on the the Four Winds website.
The Australian Festival of Chamber Music in Townsville has also announced its next composer in residence: Elena Kats-Chernin's work will be featured during the festival on 1-9 August. Program details will be confirmed early in 2014.
ANAM's composer in residence for 2014 is Brett Dean - works featured in ANAM's concerts over the year are Pastoral Symphony, Recollections, Viola Concerto, Voices of Angels, Intimate Decisions and Twelve Angry Men. In addition to Dean's works the ANAM season program includes Australian music by Hindson, Broadstock, Terracini, Lim and Pateras. For details, see the ANAM's website.
The Australian Brandenburg Orchestra's 25th anniversary year includes a new work by Kats-Chernin, performances in Melbourne on 22-23 February and Sydney between 19 February and 1 March. For details see the orchestra website.
The Melbourne Chamber Orchestra has a world premiere of Richard Mills's new octet on 25 & 30 May, and commissions by Gordon Kerry and Peter de Jager on 6 June in a joint concert with ANAM. Its 2014 season also includes music by Paul Stanhope (7 & 12 September).
Victorian Opera continues to premiere new Australian operas - in 2014 it will be Iain Grandage and Alison Croggon's The Riders, based on the novel by Tim Winton. Performances take place in September (premiere 23 September) and October. Full details on the VO website. Victorian Opera's 2014 also includes a new arrangement by Richard Mills of the medieval Christmas play The Play of Herod, performed by the Victorian Youth Opera (2-5 October)
Australian Chamber Orchestra performs works and arrangements by its leader Richard Tognetti as part of the Paganini/Tognetti tour in December 2014 (details on the ACO website). ACO2 performs Sculthorpe's Port Essington during its April tour to Western Australia (details).
Opera Australia has no Australian works in 2014.
© Australian Music Centre (2013) — Permission must be obtained from the AMC if you wish to reproduce this article either online or in print.
Anni Heino is a Finnish-born journalist and musicologist, web editor and editor of Resonate magazine at the Australian Music Centre.
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