26 November 2014
Composer & performer news, November 2014
Our bulletin from the composing/performing world, with premieres and performances, new releases, and artist and ensemble news. Featuring: Luke Styles, Chris Williams, Brett Dean, Liza Lim, Betty Beath, Peter Knight, Garth Paine, Christopher de Groot, Kate Moore, Andrew Schultz, Rae Howell, Bruce Crossman and many, many others. UPDATED 28 November (Halcyon).
See also the news section of Resonate, and our Scoop page with more reviews of current concerts and CDs with Australian music - you can help to make this list more comprehensive by sending us review links by email.
Premieres, performances, commissions
Luke Styles's sci-fi adventure Tycho's Dream was premiered in Glyndebourne on 8 November by the young artists of Glyndebourne's Youth Opera, plus two professional singers. The work, with a libretto by Peter Cant, was created as part of Styles's young composer residency with Glyndebourne Festival. Coming up next for Styles is a new work on 10 December in an event by the British Film Institute, with soloists from London Sinfonietta. More information about Tycho's Dream and about the residency is available on the Glyndebourne website. Read also Luke's blog article on the Sound and Music website.
Chris Williams's work Scilla autumnalis got its world premiere on 22 November in Bristol, UK, in a concert performance by the New Bristol Sinfonia, conducted by Jonathan Lo. The work was commissioned by the New Bristol Sinfonia to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Bristol's famous landmark, the Clifton Suspension Bridge
Brett Dean will continue his involvement with the BBC Symphony Orchestra as their 'artist in association' during the concert season 2015-2016. He will work with the orchestra as a soloist, composer and conductor, including a performance of his own viola concerto. This season, the orchestra has just given the UK premiere of Dean's cantata The Annunciation (19 November), while a performance of his trumpet concerto Dramatis personae, with Håkan Hardenberger as soloist, is scheduled for 5 December.
Dean also had a residency, this November, at London's Royal College of Music. In addition to performances of his own music, he also curated concerts showcasing other Australian composers' work, including music by Carl Vine, Liza Lim (19 November), Georges Lentz, James Ledger, Anthony Pateras (20 November) and Lisa Illean (21 November).
Recent international performances of Betty Beath's music include a performance of Lament for Kosovo: adagio for strings at the Vienna Konzerthaus on 6 November, and a concert with the song cycle In this garden and the solo cello work Heart Song in Jackson, Mississippi, on 23 November. Betty Beath was also the featured composer of Radio Arts Indonesia during a week in November. A growing selection of performances of Beath's works, accompanied by artwork by writer and illustrator David Cox, are available on the Beath-Cox Youtube channel.
Peter Knight's electroacoustic score will receive its world premiere in January as part of Tamara Saulwick's work Endings. Part chamber concert, part performance work, Endings explores the experiences - both ordinary and extraordinary - to do with death, dying and the afterlife. The performances will take place at Carriageworks as part of the Sydney Festival on 8-11 January. Australian music events during the festival also include a new David Chisholm work The Experiment (15-17 January), percussionist Claire Edwardes's concerts on 17-18 January (a new work by Marcus Whale & Thomas William) and Sydney Symphony Orchestra's Symphony in the Domain (18 January - Peter Sculthorpe), among others.
Arizona State University's 'Listen(n)' project, directed by Garth Paine, the Australian associate professor and associate director of the University's School of Arts Media and Engineering, organised a surround sound concert of commissioned works in October. Composers featured included Leah Barclay and Ros Bandt from Australia. There was also one of Paine's own works in the program.
Christopher de Groot's soundtrack for the independent feature film Sororal competed for the Feature film Score of the Year Award at this years' Screen Music Awards - a major achievement for the emerging Australian film composer, a fact also acknowledged by the event organisers APRA and AGSC who included music by de Groot in the evening's live music program. The Feature Film Score of the Year Award went to David Hirschfelder for his score for The Railway Man, while by far the most successful award recipient was Cezary Skubiszewski, a winner in three categories: Best Music for a Documentary (Once My Mother), Best Soundtrack Album (The Broken Shore) and Best Music for a Television Series or Serial (Serangoon Road, award shared with his composer-producer son Jan Skubiszewski). More details about the Screen Music Awards are available on Resonate, and you can also read de Groot's article about his music for Sororal.
The Swiss new music label Hat Hut Records has just released a new recording of Liza Lim's orchestral music. The works included on the CD are The Compass (2006) for large orchestra with solo flute and didjeridu, Pearl, ochre, hair string (2009/10) and The Guest (2010) for recorder and orchestra. Performers on the CD are the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, SWR Sinfonieorchester Baden-Baden and Freiburg, flutist Carin Levine, William Barton (didjeridu), Jeremias Schwarzer (recorders), and conductors Christoph Poppen, Lothar Zagrosek and Rupert Huber. See also: Hat Hut website. Lim's work is featured this month at the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival by the Norwegian Cikada ensemble (23 November) and by the Arditti Quartet (29 November).
Dances and Canons is the debut ECM recording of both composer Kate Moore and pianist Saskia Lankhoorn. As well as compositions for solo piano, the album includes pieces for two pianos, four pianos and multiple pianos. More details of the recording can be found on the ECM website. This month, Moore was featured composer at the November Music festival in 's-Hertogenbosch. Works programmed included Days and Nature (performed by Philharmonie Zuidnederland) and Dances and Canons (Saskia Lankhoorn). Read more about Moore's recent premieres and releases on Resonate.
The Hush Music Foundation has released a new album with selections from live Hush concerts over seven years, with music by Paul Grabowsky, Andrea Keller, Tony Gould, Joe Chindamo, Mark Isaacs, Paul Stanhope, Elena Kats-Chernin, Graeme Koehne, and others. For details, see the Hush website. The official launch concert will take place in Melbourne on 6 December.
The 30-year-old Song Company has published a double CD of sacred and secular works, with Australian music by Ross Edwards, Raffaele Marcellino, Andrew Schultz, Andrew Ford, Gerard Brophy, Elena Kats-Chernin, Dan Walker, Martin Wesley-Smith and Gillian Whitehead. More information about the 30 Years of Song CD is available on the website. Read also Roland Peelman's blog article about the 30th anniversary and the 2015 season program.
A new CD of chamber and vocal works by Andrew Schultz is in the making, to be released in 2015 by the Southern Cross Soloists. Works on the forthcoming disc include the Paul Lowin Prize-winning To the evening star (2009) for soprano and piano, and Lines drawn from silence (2006), a work commissioned by the Southern Cross Soloists.
Brisbane-born flutist Tim Munro, a member of the eighth blackbird ensemble in the US, has released his first solo CD, featuring his performance of Brett Dean's solo flute work Demons. Read Tim Munro's blog article about his solo CD and the impossibility of achieving musical mastery.
Sunwrae aka Rae Howell has a new album out, this time an electronic collaboration with the New York-based artist Jon Cohrs. The project evolved over a number of years, with recordings in Canada, USA, Germany and Sweden as well as Australia. For more information, see the Sunwrae website.
Violinist Anna McMichael and pianist Tamara Anna Cislowska's lullaby project, consisting of works by Australian as well as international composers, has had a visual dimension added to it. You can watch videos to go with the music online on the unsounds website. You can also read Anna McMichael's article about the project on Resonate and purchase copies of the Close your eyes and I'll close mine CD from the AMC Shop. McMichael's more-recent solo digital release for the Unsounds label includes works for solo violin by Cor Fuhler, Damian Barbeler (several works from the Confession series) and Daniel Blinkhorn, among others.
Bruce Crossman's music theatre work Gentleness-Suddenness has been released on DVD by Filigree Films. The work was recorded at the Campbelltown Arts Centre in mid-2013, performed by mezzo-soprano Lotte Latukefu, violinist James Cuddeford, percussionist Claire Edwardes and pianist Michael Kieran Harvey. See also Filigree Films website and read Crossman's article on Resonate about his work.
Artist & ensemble news
Adelaide's new music ensemble Soundstream Collective brought to life new works by five of Australia's young composers in a concert at Elder Hall on 4 November as part of the Soundstream Emerging Composers' Forum. Three of the participating composers were awarded commissions: Samuel Smith ($5,000), John Pax ($2,000) and Daniel Portelli ($1,500). Other participants were Alex Chilvers, Sebastian Phlox and Michael Terren. The concert was recorded for broadcast on ABC Classic FM's New Music Up Late program on 29 November at 10:30pm.
The new ensemble in residence at the University of Queensland, White Halo, has brought together four experienced musicians: Adam Chalabi (violin), Patricia Pollett (viola), Patrick Murphy (cello) and Liam Viney (piano), all full-time staff members at the University. A part of White Halo's mission is to commission new chamber music from a diverse range of composers. Before the end of its first full year of existence, White Halo has already commissioned composers Andrew Ford, Gordon Hamilton, Matthew Hindson, and James Ledger.
The 40-year-old Synergy Percussion has launched a commissioning project, looking for commissioners for 40 short works by 40 composers, each piece lasting about 40 seconds. A fair few matches have already been made - more details are available on Synergy's website. Synergy's birthday concert in November was built around Steve Reich's Drumming, with artists from Synergy (current and former Synergy members) and Halcyon joining forces, and Marcus Whales as DJ providing additional entertainment before and after the Reich classic.
Halcyon is in the process of editing and mastering the recordings from their Kingfisher project (see this article for details) - the recordings will be released early in 2015. Halcyon itself is in a new situation, with soprano Alison Morgan stepping down as co-artistic director of Halcyon at the end of this year, after 16 years in this role together with mezzo-soprano Jenny Duck-Chong. Alison will perform in some Halcyon concerts in 2015 as a guest artist, as well as being involved in separate projects, including a concert on 18 January with soprano Jane Sheldon.
After a busy spring, including a collaborative Jon Rose event with Ensemble Offspring as well as concerts in Indonesia and Hong Kong, Speak Percussion headed for a tour in Eastern Europe in November. The 'Circuit' program included Thomas Meadowcroft's work Cradles and Matthew Shlomowitz's Popular contexts, volume 6. Meanwhile, Ensemble Offspring's 'Hatched' program had its final concert on 30 October, with five world premieres (of works by Cor Fuhler, Amanda Cole, and Jeremy Rose). Offspring then went on to produce perhaps their most ambitious program for the year. In addition to Offspring's musicians and the composer himself, Damien Ricketson's hybrid art project The Secret Noise involved two dancers, an actor and a flexible performance space with multiple venues inside the Sydney Town Hall (20-22 November).
The Australian String Quartet played its last tour of 2014, 'Relativity', with two guest violinists following the earlier-than-anticipated departure of Kristian Winther and Ioana Tache 'due to unforeseen circumstances'. Violist Stephen King and cellist Sharon Draper were joined by Adam Chalabi and Graeme Jennings for the program with two Australian works, Paul Stanhope's Sea Chronicles and Peter Sculthorpe's Island Dreaming - both with soprano Greta Bradman as soloist. The last-minute changes to this tour also included the postponing of the Australian premiere of Brett Dean's String Quartet No. 2 And once I played Ophelia. The ASQ will announce its 30th anniversary season program at the beginning of December.
A central figure in the Melbourne theatre scene, director, writer and artist Margaret Cameron, passed away on 20 October 2014. Cameron was a particularly close collaborator of composer David Young, with whom she created the 3-part operatic work The Minotaur Trilogy. Read a short tribute article by Aphids, and Cameron's own 2013 article on Realtime about the relationship between art and therapy.
The Australian Art Orchestra celebrated its twentieth anniversary with a gala concert at Melbourne's Malthouse, the venue which hosted the first AAO concert in 1996. The program for the evening showcased works drawn from the repertoire the Australian Art Orchestra developed over the twenty years of commissioning and performance, including music by Sandy Evans, Paul Grabowsky and Eugene Ball, as well as a new work by Austin Buckett. Read AAO's artistic director Peter Knight's article about the gala concert and other events he curated for the November celebrations.
Percussionist Vanessa Tomlinson's concert in Brisbane on 1 November featured eight new works by eight Australian composers: Cat Hope, Kate Neal, Peter Knight, Rosemary Joy, Lindsay Vickery, Natasha Anderson, and Tomlinson herself. A new work by Cat Hope was also in the program of Decibel's Sydney concert 'After Julia' on 8 November, along with premieres of works by Cathy Milliken, Andrée Greenwell, Kate Moore, Thembi Soddell, Michaela Davies and Gail Priest. The inspiration behind the program, former prime minister Julia Gillard, was present at the concert.
The Sydney Chamber Opera has been named a resident arts company at the Carriageworks multi-art centre in Sydney. Their 2015 program includes Elliott Gyger and Pierce Wilcox's opera Fly Away Peter (2-9 May 2015 - premiere details), based on David Malouf's novel about Jim Saddler, a young birdwatcher from Queensland thrust into the nightmare of the Western Front during WWI, and, in November, the Australian premiere of Fausto Romitelli's work An Index of Metals, directed by Kip Williams and featuring soprano Jane Sheldon. For details, see Carriageworks website.
© Australian Music Centre (2014) — 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, and Editor (Communications & Resonate) at the Australian Music Centre.
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