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Cat Hope : Associate Artist

'Music for me is part of a larger abstract schema; it is driven by conceptual ideas and the exploration of the possible qualities of sound'.

Random Audio Sample: In the cut : for violin, cello, bass clarinet, distorted bass guitar and turntable by Cat Hope, from the CD Disintegration: Mutation

Photo of Cat Hope

Photo: Karl Ford


Artist website: http://www.cathope.com

Cat Hope (b 1966) is an eclectic composer who creates acoustic and electronic works, sound art and improvised noise music. She has written a considerable amount of material for dance, theatre and film, winning the Pandora's Box Best Film Score Award in 2002. in 2011 she was awarded the AMC |APRA Inaugural Award for Excellence in Experiemental Music for her work with new music ensemble Decibel, as well as the Western Australian state award. In the same year, Cat was nominated for WA Citizen of the Year in the Arts and Entertainment category. She completed her PhD in Art at RMIT University, with a thesis entitled "The Possibility of Infrasonic Music".

Almost all her compositions feature some element of improvisation, and there is an emphasis on performative elements in her works. Her scores, often in colour, are read in a Score Player application developed in MaxMSP and available in the Apple App Store. In 2001, Cat developed the D.A.C.S (Digital Audio Control Skirt); which enables a music performer to control video projected onto the skirts' surface as well as audio samples whilst performing. The score for The Other Velvet (1998) for standing instrumentalist, dancer, backing CD and skirt is sewn into a garment to be worn during the performance. She also incorporates radios and other consumer electronics into her works, which may take the form of compositions, performance art, sound installations or a combination of all of these.

Hope came late to composition after studying for a Bachelor of Music (Hons) in performance at the University of Western Australia. After playing in bands in Europe from 1989 - 1997, she began making experimental music for solo bass and small ensembles. The inclusion of her work Mindimi Trek (2000) on the Susan Lawly label's 'Extreme Music From Women' compilation led to extensive touring in Europe and the USA and the creation of her first recording Fetish (2001) on the Bergerk Sound Gallery label. She has since toured worldwide as a solo bass noise artist and Fetish has been released on labels in America, Europe and Japan. More recently, her work with Decibel has been released worldwide.

Hope is currently a researcher at the Western Australia Academy of Performing Arts at Edith Cowan University. She is also the founder and convenor of the Totally Huge New Music Conference, a biennial new music conference in Perth. She is the director of the new music ensemble Decibel, where she also composes and performs.

Hope says: 'Music for me is part of a larger abstract schema; it is driven by conceptual ideas and the exploration of the qualities of sound'.

Cat Hope — current to January 2013

Collaborated with

Lindsay Vickery (1998 - current)


Awards & Prizes

Year Award Placing Awarded for
2013 Art Music Awards: Award for Excellence by an Organisation or an Individual Finalist (Individual) Supporting and growing new music in WA
2011 Art Music Awards: Award for Excellence in Experimental Music Winner Decibel's 2009/2010 Annual Programs
2011 Art Music Awards: Award for Excellence in Music Education Finalist Contribution to Music Education in Western Australia

Selected Commissions

  Work Commission Details
Stella Degredation (2012) Commissioned by Soundstream Collective.
Platinum fox : chamber ensemble (2012) Commissioned by the University of Western Australia
Black eels : electroacoustic (2012) Commissioned by Austin Buckett.
Digital sheet music sample Longing : for five instruments (2011) Commissioned by Decibel.
Digital sheet music sample Cruel and usual : for string quartet and four bass amplifiers (2011) Commissioned by Atticus String Quartet.
Wolf at harp : percussion quartet (2010) Commissioned by MONA FOMA.

Analysis & Media

Book: Women of note : the rise of Australian women composers / Rosalind Appleby.

- Article: Untamed melodies at the frontiers of sound

- Article: Hope for WA music

- Article: Sweet sound of decay

- Article: Thunderous noise of classical Cat's bass.

- Article: Velvet Touch