17 April 2012
Collusion: 10 years in 2012
Art is not always to entertain or satisfy, it is to challenge, educate, inspire and flex the imagination!
In 2012 it's been 10 years since Dr Danielle Bentley (cellist and director of the Restrung Festival) and I (Benjamin Greaves) founded Collusion. Today, with pianist Brieley Cutting and clarinettist-saxophonist Diana Tolmie, Collusion is a powerhouse of experienced and educated chamber musicians with virtuosic technical skills and expansive repertoire. Past musicians such as Therese Milanovic (now pianist with Topology) must also be credited with the development of the always progressive legacy of Collusion.
Over these 10 years, Collusion has been performing an eclectic mix of art music for audiences throughout Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria. Programming has been characterised as bold, fearless and creative; it has even been labelled 'too difficult.' Never deterred, Collusion has continued performing compositions of creative wealth, musical importance and inspiration. We encourage audiences (from 4 to 104-year-olds) to open their ears and minds to new - and sometimes old - art music, to tolerate new sounds, and to discover Australia's wealth of talented composers.
We also provide a platform for artists' creative visual and spoken interpretations of live music. These authentic and genuine products add to the ever-developing culture of collaboration between small ensembles or solo musicians and Queensland's leading dance and circus companies such as Queensland Ballet, Expressions Dance Company and C!rca. The ensemble has collaborated with a variety of artists, including choreographer (and my partner-in-life), Gareth Belling, the dancers of the Queensland Ballet and its 'Professional Year' program. Director/actors such as Andrew Cory, Clint Bolster, and Damien Cassidy have shared the stage with Collusion's musicians, as have painters Sandy Pottinger and Billy Shannon; dancer Elise May, poets Luke Beezley and Brentley Frazer; photographer Lisa Clarke and circus artist Leah Reutens.
The ensemble has commissioned and premiered works by Robert Davidson, Paul Stanhope, Susan Hawkins, Joseph Twist, Robert D Clarke, Thomas Adeney, Gerard Brophy, and Steven Baker. Over the past five years, the ensemble has been heralded for its delivery of contemporary Australian art music to more than 50,000 children in association with Musica Viva. Collusion also once created and curated the Collusion Queensland Conservatorium Composition Prize.
In 2012, the ensemble introduces Gareth Belling (also dancer and choreographer with the Queensland Ballet) as member and resident choreographer. With videographer Jonas Hill and composer/electronic artist Susan Hawkins, Belling brings to Collusion an exciting new dance film I Read The Old Dream Slowly. It will be premiered on 12 May at the Queensland Conservatorium's Crossbow Festival - a festival of music for small ensembles (for more details about this impressive festival, please see the website). Another premiere, Andrew Ball's quirky and seriously fun (nothing wrong with that) Clockwork Ghost on 17 May will see Diana Tolmie rocking some pumping sounds for 'virtuoso' bass clarinet accompanied by viola, cello and piano.
Later in 2012, professional dancers (Dan Crestani, Rachel Walsh, Melissa Tattam, and Janette Mulligan) and designers (Ben Hughes and Libby McDonnell) will join forces with Collusion to create Gareth Belling's A Transient Beauty for Dr Danielle Bentley and Brisbane Powerhouse's Restrung Festival on 26-27 October. The work will fuse a dance narrative with the music of Nigel Sabin and Gerard Brophy (among others), and the magic of Susan Hawkins's incredibly beautiful sound art installations.
In 2012 many of our performances reflect the track lists of our soon-to-be released and much-anticipated CD series Flashpoint. CD 1 consists of masterworks by Messiaen and Hindemith, while music composed by Queensland and Australian composers Andrew Ball, Gerard Brophy, Robert Davidson, Thomas Green, Susan Hawkins, Nigel Sabin, and Joseph Twist monopolise CD 2. The second CD will be released on 7 October at Fireworks Gallery, Newstead with special guest dancers Rachel Walsh, Gareth Belling and didjeridu virtuoso William Barton.
To assist with the manufacture of both CDs, crowd-funding is a terrific new tool for Collusion. We have some exciting rewards (including the CDs themselves and recognition of support on the CD cover/booklet) for those who wish to be part of a historical disc. For more information and pre-orders, please see the website collusionmusic.pozible.com or www.collusion.com.au.
© Australian Music Centre (2012) — Permission must be obtained from the AMC if you wish to reproduce this article either online or in print.
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Violinist Benjamin Greaves has broadcast on ABC radio, as a solo recitalist, as a member of both Collusion, the Camerata of St John’s and as a freelance festival musician. With Collusion, he has released the CD In Depth (Move). For a full biography, see the Collusion website.
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