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Andrée Greenwell : Represented Artist

Random Audio Sample: The hanging of Jean Lee : songs about the last woman to be hanged in Australia by Andrée Greenwell, from the CD hanging of Jean Lee

Photo of Andrée Greenwell

Award-winning composer Andrée Greenwell works diversely across mainstream and experimental platforms within the Australian performing arts, film and television. She is one of Australia's leading composers for voice and a significant music theatre creator, described by Keith Gallasch (in Realtime 53) as occupying: 'a special place in the musical culture of Australia. Her distinctive compositions sit uniquely at the nexus of folk, opera, pop, jazz and avant garde trajectories'. Her capacity to create independent music theatre in Australia is unmatched, and in her work she rigorously explores themes concerning a female experience.

As artistic director of Green Room Music, Greenwell regularly brings together unusual combinations of instrumentations and musicians from contemporary classical, popular music, indie and improvisation scenes. Such artists have included Deborah Conway (voice), Marshall McGuire (harp), Melissa Madden Gray (aka Meow Meow), Michael Kieran Harvey (piano), Phil Slater (trumpet), Paul Cutlan (clarinets/ saxophones), Max Sharam (voice), Christine Douglas (soprano), Miriam Allan (soprano), Paul Capsis (voice), Jeff Duff (voice), Peter Neville (percussion), David Hewitt (percussion), Cameron Undy (bass guitar), Toby Hall (drumkit), Hugo Race (voice and guitar), and Josh Barber (drums) and Lucas Taranto (bass) of Gotye.

Her most recent project is the interdisciplinary concert program GOTHIC, which premiered at the Vivid Festival NSW in 2015, with stunning motion graphics by Michaela French (UK) to critical acclaim. Her collaboration with writer Hilary Bell (Arrows I, II) was a program standout as part of Decibel's commissioned concert After Julia, performed in the presence of the former prime minister at the ABC Studios Ultimo in 2014, and at Perth Institute of Contemporary Art in 2015.

Andrée was the 2003 recipient of the biennial NSW Women in Arts Fellowship. The award allowed her to develop the new music-theatre work The Hanging of Jean Lee, based upon the verse biography by Jordie Albiston, which traces the life of the last woman to be hanged in Australia, in 1951. She presented a Victorian production of this dramatic cycle at Arts House, North Melbourne in 2013, bringing together elements of the film biography, song cycle and the rock video. The Hanging of Jean Lee premiered at the Studio, Sydney Opera House, in 2006, was recorded by the ABC in 2007-08 for a variety of feature program broadcasts, and was released on CD in 2012.

In 2011 Andrée Greenwell shared composition and music direction for Behind the Cane, commissioned by Queensland Music Festival artistic director, Deborah Conway, telling the stories of the Australian South Sea Islander community of Bowen. Scored for soloists, adult and children's choirs, brass trio, strings, guitar, keyboard, bass and double percussion, over 100 performers were involved in the project which was performed in the Bowen Sound Shell to audiences over of 8,000.

Her music-theatre work Dreaming Transportation: Voice Portraits of the First Women of White Settlement at Port Jackson, based upon the verse history Botany Bay Document by Jordie Albiston, was commissioned for the Sydney Festival to critical acclaim, and received a further season at the Playhouse, Sydney Opera House, in 2004. It was also studio recorded by the ABC Music and Drama Units for various feature radio programs, one of which went on to win the Prix Marulic, Croatia.

Greenwell has scored many theatre productions and, over the past fifteen years, many plays for director Marion Potts. These include the recent Tis Pity She's a Whore (2011) for amplified soprano, harpsichord and sampler instruments with live digital manipulations on laptop by sound designer Jethro Woodward; and Sydney Theatre Company's Volpone, for which she was nominated for a Helpmann award in 2003, writing songs for Paul Capsis, Jennifer Vuletic, Emma Cooper and a gypsy band.

Andrée Greenwell won a Green Room Award for her score for the Bell Shakespeare/Malthouse co-production of Venus and Adonis, also directed by Potts, starring Melissa Madden Gray (aka Meow Meow) and Susan Prior with recorders, electric guitar and drumkit/percussion. The production toured to Auckland Festival, Malthouse and Sydney Theatre Company. Excerpts were performed in the Joan Sutherland Concert Hall, Sydney Opera House for the 'Artists Unite' benefit concert for the Victorian Bushfires of 2009. She was music director for STC's The School for Scandal, directed by Judy Davis in 2001, and Black Mary for the Festival of the Dreaming in 1998, collaborating with singer/songwriter Jimmy Little.

Through her studies at the Australian Film Television and Radio School she directed, produced and composed 'Medusahead: a video opera clip for decapitated soprano and 3D animated snakes', starring the soprano Helen Noonan, which toured to many international electronic arts and film festivals, was installed at ISCM World Music Days, Luxembourg, 2000, and purchased by Arts France, Kunst Kanal Holland and Eat Carpet SBS. Following the success of Medusahead, Greenwell established Green Room Music as a platform to develop screen and performance projects. The first of these, Laquiem: Tales from the Mourning of the Lac Women, initiated as a CD based upon the novella by Kathleen Mary Fallon, secondly, as a performance work at the Studio, Sydney Opera House, and, thirdly, excerpts were script adapted and directed by Greenwell for film, with the assistance of the Young Film Makers Fund of the NSW Film and Television Office. Laquiem screened at many international film festivals and on SBS.

Andrée Greenwell was a resident composer at Chateau de La Napoule, France in 2002, assisted by the award of an Australian Elizabethan Trust Travelling Scholarship; Lecturer in Composition at the University of Western Sydney (1999-2002) and Teacher of Song Writing at University of Newcastle 2012-14. She was a guest presenter at the Visionlines Conference in association with Aarhus Festival; the ITI Music Theatre Workshop, Munich; and featured composer at the Nagambie Lakes Opera Festival, Victoria, 2015. She is an Honorary Post Doctoral Fellow at the University of Wollongong.

Andrée Greenwell — current to November 2015

Awards & Prizes

Year Award Placing Awarded for
2016 Art Music Awards: Award for Excellence by an Individual Finalist for her work as composer and Artistic Director of Green Room Music

Selected Commissions

  Work Commission Details
Digital sheet music sample Three songs after Julia : for voices and mixed ensemble (2014) Commissioned by Decibel.
Digital sheet music sample Dreaming transportation : voice portraits of the first women of white settlement at Port Jackson (2003) Commissioned by Sydney Festival.
Digital sheet music sample War poems : for baritone, alto sax, cello, piano and percussion (1998) Composed at request of baritone Grant Smith for a workshop at Opera Australia in Melbourne, in 1998
Medusahead : a video opera clip for decapitated soprano and 3D animated snakes (1997) Commissioned by Australian Film, Television and Radio School.
Digital sheet music sample Dotty : for soprano, flute, oboe, clarinet, violin, cello and piano (1992) Composed for the 2nd Composing Women's Festival, Melbourne
Sweet death (chamber opera) (1991) Commissioned by Chamber Made Opera.

Analysis & Media

- Review: The Song Company Modern Art Series #1 10 September 1996

- Review: The Song Company Viewing 30 May 1999