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Colin Bright Syzygy Band


Colin Bright Syzygy Band

  • Date: Saturday, 26 April 2014, 8pm
  • Venue: Recital Hall East — Sydney Conservatorium of Music, Cnr Macquarie St and Bridge St, Sydney, NSW
  • Tickets: Adult: $30 | Concession: $15

Event Details

The Colin Bright Syzygy Band has the aim of exploring ‘Art Music’ through Indeterminacy in Notation, Improvisation, Acoustic Instruments with Electronics & Sampling.

The pieces have ‘structure’ as in a composition, with core musical ideas suggested for development through improvisation. The player has the freedom to choose some of these ideas, develop their own ideas, or to go beyond...

Thus, a piece will be recognisable through its structure (& samples) although the rendering of the musical material will vary considerably from one performance to another.

Scores/Structures by Colin Bright. The core musical material suggests tonal plateaux and rhythms/pulses which persist for a period of time before changing, thus creating a sense of stasis.

Improvisation: Pitch (or non-pitch) organisation within a spatio-temporal framework with symmetric or asymmetric pulse. Improvisation is Composition in REALTIME.

I think that the future of Art Music will involve a return to Improvisation as a core factor of Composition and Performance.’ Colin Bright 2014


Program 1 2014

UnAustralia + live VJ (20 mins)

Bird of Sticks + live VJ (15 mins)

The Wild Boys Smile + live VJ (15 mins)

Heatwave + live VJ (15 mins)

War is GrEat! + video (20 mins)

Moon Over Long Reef + live VJ (10 mins)


SYZYGY is: -

Paul Cutlan - bass clarinet, saxes + FX

Nick Polovineo - trombone + FX

Noam Jaffe - violin + FX

Jim Piesse - percussion + FX

Colin Bright - piano + FX + sampling

Aidan Molins - VJ, film, projection, documentation


For Info on Con Gig - Sat 26th April 2014 + Scores

See SYZYGY - Concert 26th April 2014 - page at:



On Youtube: spA-C-- E performed by the Colin Bright SYZYGY Band at Colbourne Ave Glebe May 2013



Also see www.brightmusic.net


Program: -

UnAustralia - In September 2001, (PM Howard) the Federal Parliament passed the Migration Amendment (Excision from Migration Zone) Act 2001 and the Migration Amendment (Excision from Migration Zone) (Consequential Provisions) Act 2001.

The effect of this legislation was to excise the territories of Ashmore Island, Cartier Islands, Christmas Island, and Cocos Islands from the Australian Migration Zone for the purposes of limiting the ability of "offshore entry persons" to make valid visa applications.

Prior to May 2013, Australia's migration zone consisted of the mainland, plus some external territories, at the mean low water mark. On May 16, 2013, (PM Gillard) Parliament passed a law to excise the mainland itself from the migration zone, an unprecedented act. Thus, we have - UnAustralia!

From ‘Children Overboard’ in 2001 to - excising the mainland to - ‘Turn back the boats’ in 2013 - the Australian Government has demonised asylum seekers.

Bird of Sticks - Mesmerising rhythmic & harmonic patterns with colour & movement.

The Wild Boys Smile - The title is drawn from the novel by William S. Burroughs. It is basically about homosexual warrior packs out to save the world from an oppressive police state. A fanciful but quite imaginative notion! Samples of Burroughs readings are integrated into the music.

Heatwave - Australia is renowned for its hot summers, droughts & heatwaves. One of the predicted ramifications of Climate Change is more intense weather phenomena. So, heatwaves will become longer and hotter. The slowly rising synthetic chords act as a metaphor for rising temperatures.

War is GrEat! - features the infamous footage known as ‘Collateral Murder’ filmed from a US helicopter in Iraq. The film runs at half-speed - juxtaposed with the audio which has been condensed to 5 minutes at the centre of the piece. And there are many other war-related samples and pumping war drums.

People really like war! At least before it happens...

Moon Over Long Reef - Long Reef juts out like a finger reaching into the sea. Waves break over the reef. The large moon hangs above, light reflected across the water All the way to the beach at Dee Why. The moon slowly sinks into the ocean. Four minor 7th chords - with common note Bb - repeat in different voicings and form the central stasis. Very high and very low open chords create the expanse - an atmosphere of vast open space.



Syzygy is the conjunction or opposition of a planet with the sun or of any two of the heavenly bodies. ‘Heavenly’ may tell something of the etymology of the word. Also, metaphorically, it is a pair of connected or corresponding things : animus and anima represent a supreme pair of opposites, the syzygy. The musical simile is the interaction between players when improvising - sometimes in conjunction - sometimes in opposition!

The Future of Art Music 

Recently, I have been pondering the ‘future’ of Art Music, which, amongst other things, has led to the formation of the Colin Bright Syzygy Band with the aim of exploring ‘Art Music’ through Indeterminacy in Notation, Improvisation, and Acoustic Instruments with Electronics.

It seems to me that the fusion or combination of these elements, including a visual component, has the potential to forge an exhilarating and invigorating art-music renaissance, opening many new paths to explore, and eventually attracting wider audiences.

I think that the future of Art Music will involve a return to Improvisation as a core factor of Composition and Performance. By and large, performers have become highly proficient automatons, capable of churning through very difficult scores. Orchestras have become mere production lines of human-robots. To liberate performers from this drudgery and to activate and excite their creative juices, performers need to be given more creative power in music-making. Composer-performers can rejuvenate and create pieces/structures capable of emancipating performers from the role of musical-galley-slave.


Colin Bright Syzygy Band - Bios

'I think that the future of Art Music will involve a return to improvisation as a core factor of Composition. The combination of natural acoustic sounds, extended techniques and electronic transformations of acoustic instruments, is the way forward. Composer-performers can create such pieces/structures capable of liberating performers and rejuvenating Art Music practice.' Colin Bright - Composer 2013.

Colin Bright is a Composer and Improvisor. His compositions aim to define aspects of where I live (i.e. 'place'), and how I/we live (my perception of the psychological state of the society of which I am a part). Improvisation has always been at the core of my musical practice. Contrary to Australia’s other leading composers, Colin Bright is essentially self-taught. His early involvement in socio-political issues and his interest in Aboriginal music led to him to adopt Peter Sculthorpe as a mentor through the early seventies. Colin Bright has since received Composer Fellowships, International Fellowships and commissions from most of Australia’s leading ensembles and his music has been performed and broadcast in 27 countries around the world. He was awarded a 2 year Composer Fellowship from the Music Board of the Australia Council, 2003-4. And has twice received Best Composition by an Australian Composer at the Classical Music Awards

Paul Cutlan's career as a versatile multi-instrumentalist spans many different styles encompassing contemporary classical music, world music and jazz. He has worked with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, Sydney Symphony Orchestra and the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra. Paul is a member of the Australian Art Orchestra, having toured extensively, recorded three albums, and collaborated with musicians as diverse as Danish Trumpeter/ Composer Palle Mickkelborg, a quartet of Indian musicians, Archie Roach and Ruby Hunter and Paul Kelly. Paul leads the group Coltrane Project, which has been recorded frequently by the ABC.

Jim Piesse’s broad musical experience includes playing and touring with a who’s who of Australian and international artists. In addition, Jim has had extensive experience playing improvised music as a member of the acclaimed Nolan/Buddle quartet, and as a member of Galapagos Duck. He has also played concerts with bands led by Al Cohn, Barney Kessel, and Paul McNamara. Jim first studied at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, later going to the U.S.A. Jim won an Australian PPCA grant to continue his studies with the legendary Joe Morello. Morello teaches the techniques that are used by Dave Weckl, Neil Peart, Steve Smith, and many others. Leading Australian players come to Jim for help with developing and refining their technique, including Tim Firth, Hamish Stuart, Andrew Gander, Gerry Pantazis, Glenn Wilson, and Jamie Cameron.

Nick Polovineo - Trombone and Noam Jaffe – Violin.

Emerging young players who have been improvising for some years now, and bring a youthful vitality to the band. It is an important aspect of SYZYGY is to feature the interaction between younger & more experienced improvisors.

Aiden Molins - VJ - Projection & Film Documentation.

An emerging visual artist performing ‘live’ visuals in response to the improvisations.


Further information for this event is available online at the event's website or by phone on 0419 208 974 or by email to colin@brightmusic.net

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