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30 October 2014

White Halo - an ensemble in residence at University of Queensland

White Halo Image: White Halo  

University of Queensland's new ensemble in residence, White Halo, will play works by Hindson, Mahler and Schumann in an ABC Sunday Live concert on 2 November. The pianist of the ensemble, Liam Viney, gives more details about the new group.

The University of Queensland's School of Music has launched a high-profile chamber ensemble highlighting the importance of chamber music to arts culture and music education. Building on UQ's existing performance staff, as well as recruiting new performers from Melbourne, Sydney and Los Angeles, White Halo takes its name from the halo effect that forms behind supersonic jets as they break the sound barrier. Under the guise of a traditional piano quartet, the group seeks to break barriers and explore new terrain within the art of chamber music.

The ensemble brings 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. Being colleagues with offices in the same hallway gives the group a sense of close-knit community with constant interaction and rigorous rehearsal habits feeding into musical cohesion.

School of Music Head, Professor Margaret Barrett stresses the importance of developing White Halo within the larger context of UQ and its musical and educational goals. One of the underlying aims of White Halo is to form the core of a hub for chamber music leadership and research. As part of the School 's research group, the Creative Collaboratorium, the ensemble will undertake performance-based research in innovative performance and music research activities.

'The group has begun to expand its collegial and collaborative model, with UQ as the base for a chamber music network - building on its existing relationships with groups such as Southern Cross Soloists, the Tinalley String Quartet, and Topology', Barrett said.

The term 'piano quartet' was deliberately omitted from White Halo's name to allow the possibility of flexibility, expansion, or contraction in different directions and combinations for different projects and collaborations.

Perhaps the most exciting aspect of White Halo's mission is in the commissioning of new chamber music from a diverse range of composers, including both established and emerging Australian and overseas 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. Other early highlights of White Halo's first season include a live broadcast on ABC Classic FM's Sunday Live, (2 November), the Bangalow Festival, and a gala launch at Customs House, Brisbane.

'Future plans include regional, national and international touring, as well as recordings, live broadcasts and festival performances', Professor Barrett said.

Further links

White Halo 2 November at 1 pm, ABC Studio 420, Brisbane, as part of Sunday Live - event details in the AMC Calendar
Sunday Live 2 November - ABC Classic FM website

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