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Buried Treasure: The Colonial Woman Composer


Buried Treasure: The Colonial Woman Composer

  • Date: Thursday, 11 August 2016, 1.00-1.30pm
  • Venue: State Library of Victoria — 328 Swanston St, Melbourne, VIC
  • Tickets: This is a free event

Event Details

One of three concerts that challenge the notion of a 'composer' and pay tribute to the creative output of Australian women composers in the nineteenth to early twentieth centuries.

Join us for a series of delightful lunchtime concerts to hear renowned soprano Merlyn Quaife and leading harpist Jacinta Dennett perform compositions written by early Australian women composers, arranged by Johanna Selleck.

An extraordinary array of works by women composers lies buried in the Library's archives, samples of which are being brought to light for these recitals in arrangements for voice and harp by Johanna Selleck as part of a Creative Fellowship.

The compositions date from the mid-1800s and include rare gems by Emily Patton, Florence Ewart and Georgette Peterson, as well as some unique vocal cadenzas composed especially for Melbourne's own Nellie Melba.

Each performance is thirty minutes in duration. Bookings are not required. 


  • The recital on Thursday 4 August will take place in the La Trobe Reading Room.
  • The recital on Thursday 11 August will take place in the Cowen Gallery.
  • The recital on Sunday 21 August will take place in The Courtyard. This performance will include compositions from a children's songbook, Bush songs by Georgette Peterson. The music is set to poems by classic children's author Annie Rentoul, with illustrations by her equally famous sister Ida Rentoul.

Further information for this event is available online at the event's website or by phone on 0419 107 308 or by email to johannas@unimelb.edu.au

Featured Australian Works

Die strassburger M√ľnster-Engelchen : soprano with ensemble by Henry Handel Richardson
— performed by Merlyn Quaife, Jacinta Dennett and Johanna Selleck
 A Persian song by Mona McBurney
 Chansonette by Mona McBurney
 I love thee by Florence Ewart
 Vocalise by Nellie Melba

Featured artists

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