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Margaret Dylan Jones : Associate Artist

Not all my music is beautiful but I hope it all comforts the listener or ultimately takes them to another, better place. It's often concerned with maintaining optimism, mental health and well-being, and dealing with inner conflicts.

Mix Margaret Jones, an androgyne, studied composition with Roger Smalley for five years at the University of Western Australia, beginning in 1979. She says, 'Roger helped me gain insight into musical construction in many styles and epochs. I can't imagine my life without having had that experience'.

Other UWA studies included piano with Brian Michell and two years of orchestration with Sir Frank Callaway.

Most of Jones's compositional output to date is for piano or choir, including two short pieces in the AMEB exam syllabus. Many are published by Currency Press, the AMEB, and her own Hovea Music Press.

Student works of which she is still proud include dabbles in free atonality or the 12-tone style. Many other compositions reveal a love of the standard piano repertoire which she performs regularly.

Through the 1980s and '90s Jones soaked up many varied influences by attending hundreds of new music performances in Sydney and Perth. In 1986 she was a key player in Tonight's Ensemble, a short-lived free improvisation sextet.

Her piano solo Sonatina, a very dark work written at a time of personal crisis in 1981, echoes the sense of isolation and disconnectedness often experienced by young people. The coda provides a sense of resolution in the evocation of a Balinese gamelan ensemble.

Jones founded and for six years conducted two community choirs. For the Perth Discovery Choir she wrote a song cycle for choir, piano and speaking voices. The setting of 13 poems includes three by her UK-born father, the prolific writer John Joseph Jones, builder and manager of the Parkerville Amphitheatre. On her mother's side Jones is a fifth generation West Australian, with over a thousand relatives in the south west of WA where magnificent old-growth forests provided inspiration for the song cycle.

For many years Jones was a dedicated advocate for the rights and wellbeing of trans* and intersex people. She was a very early adopter in 2002 of the honorific personal title Mx or Mix (an abbreviation of mixture, pronounced 'mix'), which was added to the Oxford Dictionary online version in 2015. She prefers female pronouns but is not referred to as a man or woman. To her family she is an offspring, a sibling and Uncle Margaret.

Her awards and prizes include: University of WA Choral Society Prize in Music (Studies in Twentieth Century Music, 1981); 1990. First prize, original composition open section in Fremantle Eisteddfod, for Sonatina (1990); Four first prizes and a second prize for singing in open vocal sections, Fremantle Eisteddfod (1992).

Program notes: www.mixmargaret.com/compositions.html; Media: www.mixmargaret.com/margaret-in-media.html

Margaret Dylan Jones — current to September 2015