1 September 2009
Totally Huge New Music Festival 2009
The ninth Totally Huge New Music Festival, held in Perth (10-20 September), will present a diverse program of contemporary works, featuring both Australian and international performers and composers. A number of world premieres of Australian works will occur during the festival, including James Ledger's Chronicles, which will be performed by the West Australian Symphony Orchestra, of whom Ledger is the composer-in-residence.
Several other world premieres will be included in the concert by Decibel, a new music ensemble 'formed out of a desire to perform a range of music where electronic and acoustic instruments feature side by side'. New works include Warren Burt's Letters, Cat Hope's In the Cut and Dan Thorne's We'll Never Know. Also featured in the program are Ernie Althoff's work Front Row and Lindsay Vickery's Transit of Venus.
The Fremantle Symphony Orchestra will join forces with the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts' (WAAPA) Percussion Ensemble, Defying Gravity, and BellsWest, an ensemble of handbell ringers, to perform the world premiere of composer David Pye's circadian rhythms. The concert will also include a performance of Percy Grainger's The Warriors.
Australian artists in residence for the festival are Pimmon, who creates 'dense, challenging and engaging' electronic music, sound artists Camilla Hannan, Thembi Soddell and Tarab, and Ensemble Offspring.
Ensemble Offspring will join forces with Pimmon in a program consisting of Pimmon's electronic music, improvisation and Karlheinz Stockhausen's Kontakte (1960). Pimmon will also perform in 'A Sound Outing', a program of improvisation, electronic music and sound art, including a set inspired by the sounds of Perth. Joining him in this program are Gilles Aubry from Switzerland and Kueiju Lin from Taiwan.
In their other concerts, Ensemble Offspring will perform Spannen and Same Steps by Damien Ricketson, works by American composers such as John Cage, Philip Glass and Steve Reich, as well as several solo works - including Widdop, Phaeton, Relic - by West Australian Christopher Tonkin. Tonkin's music will also feature in an installation at the festival in collaboration with Taiwan's Kueiju Lin. The installation, entitled Listening to the Darkness, was inspired by the sounds and echo-location of bats.
Camilla Hannan, Thembi Soddell and Tarab will be the focus of Club Zho 88, the Tura New Music's monthly club night. They will also appear in Artefact Installation, a product of the sound artists' travels throughout Australia on the Artefact Tour. During this tour, they collected numerous sounds, objects and materials for the installation.
Other performers of the festival include the Grigoryan brothers, and the Adelaide-based pianist Gabriella Smart who will present a solo concert of contemporary piano works from Australia, North America and China, including Carl Vine's Five Bagatelles.
Works by up-and-coming Western Australian composers will be featured in a dedicated concert entitled Breaking Out. The program consists of works by Chris de Groot, Kynan Tan, Tilman Robinson, Talitha Broughton, Kelly Curran and Julie Hudson. A new chamber music ensemble at WAAPA, Resonator, will perform works by Australian composers. Another concert at the WAAPA auditorium will feature works for guitar by Australian composers including Peter Sculthorpe, Nigel Westlake, Richard Charlton, Philip Houghton, Robert Davidson and Johannes Leubbers.
As part of the festival, a 'Ruined Piano Sanctuary Tour' will be conducted through the Wambyn Olive Grove in York, accompanied by Ross Bolleter. Special projects of the festival include the Student Symposium, where young artists work with mentors such as Damien Ricketson, Cat Hope and Chris Tonkin over two days (10-11 September). Another project, DIY by Tetrafide, Western Australia's longest-running percussion ensemble, will present a showcase of their work with Bunbury schoolchildren and local community members.
ABC Classic FM will broadcast a concert of highlights of the festival. Hosted by Julian Day, the concert will be broadcast as part of his radio program New Music Up Late on Saturday, 19 September at 10:30pm.
Following the festival is the 2009 Totally Huge New Music Festival Conference (30-31 October). The conference provides a forum for artists, critics, commentators and academics to discuss the 'histories, methods, theories, approaches, techniques and dreams' that contribute to contemporary music and sound art.
Totally Huge New Music Festival (www.tura.com.au/events/totallyhuge/index.html)
West Australian Symphony Orchestra (www.waso.com.au/)
Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (www.waapa.ecu.edu.au/)
Ensemble Offspring (www.ensembleoffspring.org.au)
Decibel New Music Ensemble (http://www.decibelnewmusic.blogspot.com)
World Association for Ruined Piano Studies (www.warpsmusic.com)
Dan Thorne - MySpace (www.myspace.com/danthornemusic)
Lindsay Vickery - homepage (http://homepage.mac.com/lvickery/)
Pimmon - MySpace (www.myspace.com/pimmon)
Camilla Hannan - homepage (www.camillahannan.com)
Thembi Soddell - homepage (www.cajid.com/thembi)
Tarab - MySpace (www.myspace.com/tarab3058)
Gabriella Smart - homepage (www.gabriellasmart.com)
Johannes Luebbers - MySpace (http://www.myspace.com/johannesluebbers)
ABC Classic FM - New Music Up Late (http://www.abc.net.au/classic/newmusic/)
© Australian Music Centre (2009) — Permission must be obtained from the AMC if you wish to reproduce this article either online or in print.
Lisa Parragi is currently completing a Masters degree in Arts Management, having previously studied musicology at the Conservatorium of Music in Sydney.
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