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10 June 2010

Composer and performer notes June 2010

A still image from Alice in Wonderland (1903) Image: A still image from Alice in Wonderland (1903)  

Performances and commissions

Maria Grenfell's music will be performed and workshopped this month in Switzerland during the Music 10 Festival (21 June - 4 July) in Blonay. Grenfell is one of a handful of composers, chosen from over 120 applicants worldwide, to take part in this international program; she has written a new work for the festival and is working together with other composers, including Americans Martin Bresnick, Stephen Hartke and Joel Hoffman. Her music will be performed by internationally acclaimed artists, including the Grammy-award winning classical music group eighth blackbird, and the Australian-born pianist Lisa Moore.

Anthony Pateras's composer residency with the Australian National Academy of Music will include several concerts throughout 2010, all featuring new works written for the residency. The first focus concert took place in March; forthcoming concerts will feature a new work for wind orchestra and electronics (17 September, with music by Bartók) and the premiere of Pateras's String Quartet (21 October, with works by Thomas Adès). Pateras's first commission for full orchestra, a double concerto for violin and prepared piano, will be premiered on 27 November by Richard Tognetti (violin), Pateras himself (piano) and the Orchestra of the Academy conducted by Brett Dean. For full details, see the ANAM homepage closer to the concert dates. In April-June 2010, Pateras has been hard at work during his residency at the Montalvo Arts Centre in Saratoga, California.

Andrew Ford finished his ANAM residency in May, with two new works premiered in a concert conducted by Brett Dean: Rauha (2009) for wind and brass, percussion, keyboards and double basses, and The musical child (2009, to words by Cathryn Strickland) for speaker, piano duet and string orchestra. Ford has just finished writing a new work entitled The Rising, a commission from the Black Dyke Band, the famous brass band founded in 1855 by John Foster, the owner of Black Dyke Mills in Yorkshire, UK.

Bang On A Can All-Stars' recent residency in The Hague included a performance of Kate Moore's work Ridgeway, commissioned by The People's Commissioning Fund At Bang On A Can. The work has been written as a tribute to an ancient road in southern England near where Moore was born. Current commissions include a new work for the Calder Quartet for the Carlsbad Music Festival (California, US) in September 2010.

Larry Sitsky's Symphony No. 3 received its premiere in April, performed by the Queensland Youth Symphony. The work is dedicated to the Queensland Youth Orchestras and John Curro, who conducted the first performance. The concert also celebrated the talent of the Czech-Australian pianist Suzanna Hlinka who performed as the soloist in Prokofiev's Piano Concerto No. 1.

New releases

Rae Howell's Sunwrae ensemble has released a new CD entitled Live at The Thornbury Theatre. The CD was recorded in Melbourne during the final performance of Sunwrae's 2009 national tour. Apart from Sunwrae's director Rae Howell (piano/vibraphone), the ensemble features a string quartet (Rachael Kim, Zachary Johnston, Phoebe Green and Julian Swinnerton), harp (Emily Rosner), alto flute (Belinda Woods), double bass (Luke Richardson) and drums (Pip Atherston-Reid). A trio version of Sunwrae will be touring on the East Coast in September 2010. For more information about the CD and the tour, please see the Sunwrae website. For other new CD releases of Australian music, see this news item on Resonate.

Web, radio, press

With close to 800 000 views so far, the 1903 first-ever film version of Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland, newly equipped with Wendy Hiscocks's music and restored by the British Film Institute, is quickly becoming a real YouTube hit. Of the original 12-minute film by Cecil Hepworth and Percy Stow, 8 minutes survive and can be watched on YouTube. Hiscocks performs her composition Jill in the Box herself on the film's soundtrack.

Colin Black's 51-minute sound composition Kilian's Antipodean Dream was premiered on the German Deutschlandradio Kultur's Klangkunst program 21 May. The work is based on the true story of the Sorb pastor Jan Kilian (1811-1884) who, to keep his Old Lutheran faith from the clutches of the Prussian government, dreamt of salvation in a foreign land. His initial emigration plan was to go to a continent of which he could have only have had a very vague idea: Australia (Kilian ended up in Texas.). To create his new work Black travelled to Kilian's homeland in eastern Germany and made location recordings of Kilian's churches, his home, interviewed Sorbs, researched historical documents and recorded Kilian's text on location.

The May issue of the INTO magazine by the UK-based Sound and Music organisation has chosen the ELISION ensemble as the topic of its 7-page cover feature. The magazine can be browsed online - the feature about ELISION and the way the ensemble 'reconfigures the relationship between the composer and performer' can be found on pages 30-36. The ensemble has been performing regularly at London's new King's Place concert centre, and its recent CD release Brian Ferneyhough - Terrain, is available on KAIROS label. The ensemble is also performing at the Spitalfields Festival on 18 June.

The Australian Music Centre connects people around the world to Australian composers and sound artists. By facilitating the performance, awareness and appreciation of music by these creative artists, it aims to increase their profile and the sustainability of their art form. Established in 1974, the AMC is now the leading provider of information, resources, materials and products relating to Australian new music.


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