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18 January 2008

Trans-Tasman Composer Residency Exchange - Colin Bright

Trans-Tasman Composer Residency Exchange - Colin Bright

2006 Trans-Tasman Composer Colin Bright’s new work Surf Symphony, the result of his residency with the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, will be premiered by the APO during Aquatica ’08 – Auckand’s Harbour Festival.

Aquatica is a celebration of the ‘City of Sails’: its anniversary, history, cultures, people and unique harbour. A water-themed party of city sized proportions, the festival spans all three days of the Auckland Anniversary weekend (26 – 28 January). Attractions include major local and international live music acts, the naval frigate, tall ships and displays of classic craft, maritime re-enactment displays, tug boats, street theatre, buskers, acrobatic performances, warbirds flypasts, fireworks, a ‘fare on the pier’ food market, and carnival rides. The Auckland Anniversary Day Regatta concludes the event with action shifting to the water on Monday.

Surf Symphony is a celebration of the beach, which according to Australian composer Colin Bright – a body surfing enthusiast as well as a creative artist – is one of life’s great pleasures. ‘Sun, sand and surf create an atmosphere for relaxation and play, bodysurfing and board surfing’, he says. ‘It is the playground of the hedonists. As a composer I tend to live somewhat in my head much of the time, whereas with bodysurfing I am forced to live in the present. It is an experience very much of the moment’.

Ambient in style, this psycho-acoustic work embodies the spontaneity and continuous frenzied movement of beach life from the glistening reflections of the sun, through to the splashing of water on the rocks, the sparkling grains of sand and the sporadic bursts of spray from breaking waves.

Colin Bright is an important figure in the Australian music landscape. His music – often driven by socio-political issues – explores aspects of place, both physically and psychologically. The Wild Boys (1995), however, saw a shift towards what Bright refers to as ‘urban psychoscapes’. Using sampled voices, many of his works since this piece seek, by integrating music and voice, to project the spirit of a particular writer/poet, adding a theatrical facet to his music. He is influenced by Australian aboriginal music – especially didjeridu – but also by aspects of jazz, rock and techno, particularly in the choice of instruments, electro sounds and rhythms. Bright has achieved great success as a composer having received Fellowships from the Performing Arts Board of the Australia Council, as well as numerous commissions from Australia’s leading ensembles. His music has been performed and broadcast in twenty seven countries throughout the world.

The exchange residency is managed by the Australian Music Centre and SOUNZ: the Centre for New Zealand Music. Supported by Creative New Zealand and the Music Board of the Australia Council, the project, initially established in 2003, aims to further develop music relationships between the two countries and provides significant opportunities for contemporary composers and other creative artists to collaborate with some of the world’s most outstanding musicians. Previous participants of the Trans-Tasman Composer Exchange Residency include: Jim Gardner (NZ) with Brisbane-based ensemble ELISION during 2005; James Ledger (AUS) with the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra, and Gareth Farr (NZ) with the Song Company.

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As a national service organisation, the Australian Music Centre is dedicated to increasing the profile and sustainability of Australian composers and other creative artists. The AMC facilitates the performance, awareness and appreciation of music by these artists through: composer and other creative artist representation and assistance; resonate – its online magazine; library and retail services; sheet music publishing; and the management, administration and publication of project-based initiatives. Its library collection holds over 30,000 items by more than 500 artists.


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