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Peggy Glanville-Hicks Commissions

2020 Peggy Glanville-Hicks Commissions announced

20 May 2020. The Australian Music Centre is delighted to announce the 10 projects commissioned under the banner of the 2020 Peggy Glanville-Hicks Address. The 10 x $1,000 bursaries will go to projects proposed by Jane Sheldon, Amy Curl/SIMA, Arcadia Winds, Eric William Avery, Erik Griswold, Alice Chance, Julian Day, Belle Chen, Ania Reynolds and Jasmin Leung.

'We are extremely proud to be involved in presenting these 10 projects - and it's also important to note that every single one of them has a new, original Australian work at its core. We are also proud of the quality of the creative projects proposed for our modest scheme by 108 Australian artists and presenters. Had we had 40 bursaries to give, we would have ended up with 40 original and worthy projects instead of ten', said the AMC's CEO John Davis.

The 10 projects are as follows:

Jane Sheldon: Three Mouths by Ben Quilty, for electronics and mouth. A triptych of short, pre-recorded musical works for viewing on vimeo. The new compositions for electronics and mouth will be created in response to a mouth painted by Australian artist Ben Quilty in his works Self-portrait (big mouth) (2013); Self-portrait at 43 (2016); Straight white male, self-portrait (tongue) (2014). 'I love the grotesque treatment Quilty gives to mouths, including to his own mouth in his self-portraiture. It seems a good time to create a study of grotesquely-rendered mouths, given the way that COVID-19 has amplified (from certain perspectives perhaps necessitated?) tendencies to find elements of the body disgusting or threatening.' (Jane Sheldon)

Amy Curl/SIMA: new works by Judy Bailey and Mike Nock for streaming performance. Commissioning two composers to write a work during the COVID-19 period. Sydney Improvised Music Association will ensure the live premiere of the work once the restrictions have been lifted. 'Both of these musicians have contributed an immense body of work to the Australian repetoire... Their critically acclaimed and celebrated work has matured over a lifetime, and we believe it is important to document their voice at this time. The premiere performances will take place as part of SIMA's online concert series streamed via Facebook Live and made available after the event on YouTube.' (Amy Curl)

Arcadia Winds: Make Wind (Arcadia Winds & Lachlan Skipworth). Make Wind aims to educate and inspire Australians to make wind music in their own homes, then bring diverse communities together online to participate in and celebrate Australian music.
A short series of educational videos will teach viewers how to make basic, affordable wind instruments from household materials and how to apply the simple but powerful principles of wind playing to make music on them. The second stage of the project involves calling on viewers to record video of themselves playing their home-made instruments. Once these recordings are collected, Arcadia Winds will work with composer Lachlan Skipworth to digitally combine, layer and manipulate these recordings, in combination with music recorded by Arcadia Winds, into a new piece of audiovisual art.

Eric William Avery: String Song/Malwa Yuthi. Eric Avery will work with Jess Wright (violinist, Alice Springs Symphony) to give an insight into compositional process combining Aboriginal language and song with the violin. A series of exercises will look at syllables of particular words, then translate this into music to be played on the violin through various compositional means. The resulting piece for two violins and voices will be recorded and uploaded on YouTube.

Erik Griswold: Home Truths. In an ABC interview from 1986, 'Home Truths', Peggy Glanville-Hicks said: 'Anyway, I think that most of that 19th century (like Beethoven's 9th) is just like a piece of cloth - you've wrung out the last drip and can throw it away - let's get going on.' A new work, with a working title Home Truths, to be presented as video, will respond to this evocative quotation. 'I intend to explore several possible realisations, including: a) setting the text to music, b) creating a soundtrack for the existing video, c) creating a kinetic sound work which involves wringing a cloth above resonant objects' (Erik Griswold)

Alice Chance: Until We Gather Again - a virtual choir like no other. 'This project is born from a guiding philosophy of my practice: contemporary music belongs to everyone and everyone should feel safe and welcome to experience it and participate in its creation. Until We Gather Again is a ten-minute, aleatoric, audio-visual work designed to be uploaded to YouTube. The work manifests as a bespoke portrait of whichever choir is creating it together, from the safety of their individual homes. Its first iteration is in conjunction with Sydney's Leichhardt Espresso Chorus. The concept of a virtual choir comes about in a drastically different way to the tiled synchronicity that the name has come to represent: instead of lining each participant up to the same click track, this work embraces the out-of-sync interactions which have become our new normal, and reveals a beauty in the acceptance of this.' (Alice Chance)

Julian Day: Rose's Last Testimony: a video essay on Jon Rose. 'I will create an elliptical video biopic about Rose, blending my own spoken text with musical extracts and archival footage. I will base it on a recent video essay I made that elides Leonard Cohen with my late musician father. I will also reference Rose's radio portrait Paganini's Last Testimony and another oblique portrait, Hong-Kai Wang's Conceptual Biography of Chris Mann. Rose strikes me as Australia's most significant conceptual artist. For over thirty years he has built a wide-ranging yet consistent body of work. When Jennifer Walshe recently identified a "new" trend of conceptual music, I was outraged she didn't foreground our country's chief ambassador. My tribute is one small step in redressing this.' (Julian Day)

Belle Chen: Home From Afar - evoking Australian landscapes through video performance. For an Australian musician residing in London, the sense of isolation during social distancing is overwhelming, multiplied by news of travel restrictions and closing borders. 'Australia has never felt so far away. Now more than ever, I am missing home, family and friends, the expansive landscape, the sounds of birds and the ocean... I am proposing a performance in the form of pre-recorded video that travels through various scenes in Australia through integrating soundscapes I captured in Australia over the last few years, improvisation, electronics, and compositions by Peter Sculthorpe (Djilile, Night Pieces, Left Bank Waltz). The performance will be recorded with my home studio setup, and across multiple instruments (piano, prepared piano, synths).' (Belle Chen)

Ania Reynolds: Audible Lockdown. Audible Lockdown is a sonic depiction of Melbourne during the COVID-19 lockdown period, created with sounds recorded at various locations around the Melbourne CBD. The work draws its inspiration from the concept behind Reynolds's This City This Sound series: the investigation of the notion of sonic identity and how to convey and represent it. Reynolds and Carl Polke will take field recordings throughout the CBD of Melbourne and its surrounding areas, exploring and capturing these changed sonic environments and specific sonic elements found within them. The recordings will then be edited, morphed and manipulated to create a composition that is reflective of and inspired by the various locations throughout the city. The work will be presented on YouTube with accompanying imagery of Melbourne. This project transposes the original concept of This City This Sound to adapt to current COVID-19 restrictions - faced with the impossibility of international travel to explore new places, choosing instead to explore the familiar; create a new work based on the discoveries; and use an online presentation platform (YouTube) that will allow accessibility and exposure to audiences worldwide.

Jasmin Leung: Articulating the Hidden Sounds of My Bathroom. As we find ourselves indefinitely confined to our homes, there has been increasing awareness of the relationship between ourselves and the spaces we inhabit. Leung was, until recently, researching site-specific harmonic languages at Studio für Elektroakustische Musik, Weimar, before returning home due to COVID-19 - she will now use home isolation as a chance to create work that examines the sonic possibilities of the bathroom space by creating a work for a solo intoning instrument and electronics. The modular score and programming will be made publicly available, so that Australian improvisers can record their interpretation of the work, based off the sonic specificities of their own bathrooms. 'The point of departure for this work is the act of listening extending into a sonic response. The intrinsic resonances of a bathroom will be activated by the performer - frequencies unfolding slowly before enhanced electronically through psycho-acoustic phenomena (combination tones, interaction of the spectrum with pure oscillators etc.). This constellation of sound reveals the qualities of an intimate space, our relationship to our surroundings and possibilities of a radical perception.' (Jasmin Leung)

2020 Peggy Glanville-Hicks Commissions - background

In April 2020, the Australian Music Centre commissioned 10 presentations under the banner of the Peggy Glanville-Hicks Address.

We are committed to telling Australian stories to ensure that the diverse practices of Australian music are locally and globally visible and economically viable. The current precarious state of our community strengthens our determination to ensure that Australian music, and the diverse people and communities who create it, are valued and visible. We are focused on presenting the ever-evolving variety of Australian music to the world, and supporting a sustainable environment for our nation's musicians.

10 x $1000 bursaries were made available to the Australian music community to create online works that are realised in 2020. Distribution of the 10 works will be in partnership with the ABC and Monash University, in order for the new works to reach as broad an audience as possible, and further embed Australian music in teaching and learning.

The guidelines, as announced in April 2020, were as follows:

The content must be created from within a home or private studio, adhering to current social distancing measures, and be of a maximum 15 mins duration.

AMC embraces diverse music practices. We welcome submissions from First Nations practitioners, CALD practitioners, women, non-binary artists, musicians from diverse backgrounds, performers or composers from sound art, jazz, electronica, contemporary classical, improvisation, experimental music, everything in between, as well as producers, audio engineers, software programmers, writers and commentators.

Suggestions might include:

  • creative ways our community can engage with making or listening to Australian music at the moment
  • intimate, heartfelt stories on Australian music
  • new content for our ECHO online learning platform - e.g. a digital kit including a 2-page worksheet with teaching material including background information, a listening guide, up to four flexible and adabtable activities and links to relevant third-party media (Youtube, Soundcloud, articles and blog posts). Please see ECHO for examples of our existing resources.
  • a live-streaming performance of your own or other Australian music
  • a pre-recorded performance of Australian music (Youtube/Vimeo preferred)
  • articles, commentary, creative responses to the rich AMC collection
  • a series of videos on different aspects of your practice or area

The selection panel will be made-up of the AMC board members and staff, who cover a wide variety of expertise. The alignment of the material to the AMC’s vision will be key in our decision making. This includes our focus on opportunities for Indigenous artists, gender equity, innovation and collaboration. For an overview of our vision, mission and goals, see this one-page summary of the AMC's Strategic Plan for 2021-24. For further information, please check our website.

Unsalaried people affected by COVID-19 cancellations will be given priority.