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10 April 2017

Composer and performer news, April 2017

Matthew Hindson and choreographer David Bintley's ballet <em>Faster</em> is currently showing in Sydney Image: Matthew Hindson and choreographer David Bintley's ballet Faster is currently showing in Sydney  
© The Australian Ballet

Recent premieres, performances, awards, and other news about the AMC's Represented and Associate artists. For a constant supply of fresh news, we recommend 'liking' our Facebook page and following our @AusMusicCentre Twitter feed. (To see more of the AMC's Facebook news, go to our Page, make sure you've 'Liked' us and 'Followed' us, then select the 'See first' option which is hidden under the 'Following' button.)

Performances and premieres

Matthew Hindson's ballet Faster has had its long-awaited Australian premiere in Melbourne, with the Sydney season now underway. Premiered in the UK in the lead-up to the 2012 London Olympic Games, Faster is presented in Australia as part of a triple bill by the Australian Ballet, with the original choreography by Birmingham Royal Ballet's artistic director David Bintley. There are still many performances left to hear Hindson's 'rollicking, multi-faceted score' as Lee Christophis recently put it in his review in the ABR Arts.

Matthew Hindson has also just been confirmed as this year's composer in residence at the Australian Festival of Chamber Music in Townsville (28 July - 5 August 2017), program including the premiere of a new string quartet for the Goldner Quartet.

Pas de deux from Houston Ballet's Maninyas.

The Houston Ballet from Texas is currently performing their Stanton Welch choreography to Ross Edwards's Maninyas in Germany, with performances last week in Ludwigshafen and this week at the Theater Bonn Opera House. The Maninyas choreography was premiered in the mid-1990s - Houston Ballet has also, more recently, commissioned and performed Zodiac, a 40-minute ballet to an orchestral score by Edwards - another choreography by the ballet's Australian artistic director Welch. Performances of Maninyas are conducted by Simon Hewett, with Sonja Schebeck as violin soloist - both also Australian artists.

Anne Boyd's new orchestral work Olive Pink's Garden was premiered at the end of March at the Sydney Conservatorium's annual Chancellor's Concert. Professor Boyd shared some of her thoughts about her new work and the challenges faced by female composers in articles in Limelight magazine and on ArtsHub.

Carl Vine's Five Hallucinations for trombone and orchestra got its Australian premiere in a Sydney Symphony concert on 5 April. The work was composed for trombonist Michael Mulcahy - the soloist in the SSO concert - and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Mulcahy gave an interview to the Sydney Morning Herald, and Vine himself wrote about his work in some detail in Limelight magazine.

The first Australian composer to have her work already performed in the main hall of Hamburg's sensational and brand-new Elbphilharmonie concert hall is the Berlin-based Cathy Milliken, whose participatory orchestral work Waving was premiered by the Felix Mendelssohn Jugendsinfonieorchester in an event for young audiences at the end of January.

George Dreyfus's Adventures of Sebastian the Fox was, in its turn, featured in a children's program by the Bielefeld City Opera in Germany in the beginning of March, with a full house of children and adults spellbound by Dreyfus's music, as reported by a critic of the regional Neue Westfälische newspaper.

Lee Bracegirdle's harp concerto Legend of the Old Castle (2012) was performed in Baden-Baden in southwestern Germany at the end of February, with the American harpist Park Stickney as soloist of the Baden-Baden Philharmonic Orchestra. The location of the concert is significant because Bracegirdle's concerto was in fact inspired by the ruins of Baden-Baden's castle Hohenbaden, as pointed out in the review in the Badische Neue Nachricten after the concert. 'These walls, the legends that surround it, and the wind-harp that the Baden-Baden harpist Rüdiger Oppermann installed there inspired Bracegirdle for this work while he was in-residence in the Brahmshaus in Lichtental in spring of 2012. It doesn't require much fantasy to hear from this music the wind-harp as well as the legend of the greedy and cruel margravine.'

Kate Neal's latest percussion work will be premiered in Perth today 10 April, with another performance tomorrow evening. Never tilt your chair is an event inspired by the use of cutlery and table etiquette, and will have performing percussionists - Louise Devenish, Leah Scholes and Vanessa Tomlinson - sitting around a dinner table. See the AMC Calendar and this Limelight article for more details.

The music of Tim Dargaville will be featured in a full-length 'Speaking in Tongues' portrait concert at the Melbourne Recital Centre on 28 April. The centrepiece of this event is the world premiere of Dargaville's 2014 Albert H. Maggs commission Between Breath and Word. Also to be premiered is a major new solo piano work for pianist Bernadette Harvey titled Kolam, alongside other recent works (for more details, read Tim's blog article).

Another concert in Melbourne University's series of composer portrait concerts took place on 8 April, with chamber works by Chris Dench performed by Ryan Williams (recorder), Stuart Fisher (guitar), Justine Anderson (voice), Aviva Endean (clarinet) and Peter Neville (vibraphone).

2016 Lowin Orchestral Prize winner Lachlan Skipworth had a new orchestra work Spiritus premiered by the West Australian Symphony Orchestra on 10 March. The composer was interviewed about his work in The West. Another new work is underway for the Melbourne Chamber Orchestra to premiere in June.

The US-based Iceberg New Music picked Nicole Murphy's work for performance from the composer collective's annual call for scores. Murphy's sextet Untangled was performed last week by the Contemporaneus ensemble at the DiMenna Center in Manhattan, New York.

Andrew Ford's 60th birthday was celebrated on 18 March by the SSO with a performance of his revised work Headlong. More celebration is scheduled for 6 May, with the composer and Ian Munro premiering a new work In transit for pianist and speaker at the Arts in the Valley Festival. On the same day, Ford's viola concerto Unquiet grave and the choral work Waiting for Barbarians will be performed at the Canberra International Music Festival, along with Roger Smalley's popular Footwork. Ford's collection of nursery rhymes There was a man lived in the moon will also get its first live performance, together with Aboriginal children's songs and stories, on 30 April.

Canberra is also the place for friends of new carillon music: on 5-7 May new works by no fewer than ten Australian composers will be performed by carillonists Lyn Fuller and Thomas Laue. The ten miniatures last approximately 60 minutes altogether, with premieres by Gerard Brophy, Judith Clingan, Andrew Ford, Matthew Hindson, Elena Kats-Chernin, Becky Llewellyn, Kate Moore, Larry Sitsky, Jessica Wells and Natalie Williams.

Derek Strahan's Clarinet Concerto no. 1 (2002) was performed in the US at the beginning of April, as part of North by Northwest music festival. Soloist Ivan Petruzziello and Orchestra of Lux Musicae were conducted by J Emmanuel Godoy.

Andrián Pertout travelled to Santiago, Chile, at the beginning of the year, for a performance of his Aristotle's Rhetoric by the Orquesta Sinfónica de Chile - the first complete performance of his award-winning seven-movement work (for more details, see Andrián's blog article). Other highlights for this year include the world premiere of Iluminismo, Concertino-Doppio for alto saxophone, marimba and string orchestra by the Takoma Ensemble in Washington DC, and the Asian premiere of Un'impressione nel tempo for contrabass flute, viola, harp and didjeridu (2016) in Tokyo in a concert presented by the Japan Federation of Composers.

Ensemble Offspring's year of music by female composers got to an excellent start with the Arc Electric program, presented around the International Women's Day in March in Sydney and Melbourne. Australian composers featured as part of the program were Kate Moore, Liza Lim, Cassie To and Melody Eötvös. 'Ensemble Offspring were in fine form, presenting some of their most scintillating performances yet', wrote Matthew Lorenzon in his review for the Partial Durations blog. Offspring's next concert, at Petersham's Bowling Club in Sydney on 23 April, features music by Elizabeth Jigalin, Aviva Endean, Ellen Kirkwood and Bree van Reyk, among others.

Offspring's artistic director, percussionist Claire Edwardes, together with fellow artists Karin Schaupp, Julian Smiles, Jason Noble, Christina Leonard, Anna McMichael and Bernadette Harvey, have released a digital album entitled Kammerbox, consisting of works by Katy Abbott Kvasnica, Gerard Brophy, Richard Charlton, Amanda Cole, Tim Dargaville, Ross Edwards, Andrew Ford, Stuart Greenbaum, Maria Grenfell, Elena Kats-Chernin, Peter Sculthorpe, and the New Zealand-based John Psathas. The album and its individual tracks are downloadable from iTunes.

An album of Liza Lim's work How Forests Think is due for release by the UK-based NMC Records shortly. ELISION's album will also feature a new work by the US-based Aaron Cassidy - both works were commissioned to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the ensemble. For more details and pre-orders, go to the website.

Awards, appointments

Back in Australia, Lim has joined the University of Sydney's Conservatorium of Music in order to mentor female composers and develop the next edition of the national women composers' development program, set up by the Conservatorium last year. Currently based in Melbourne but spending a significant amount of her time overseas, Liza Lim has worked at the University of Huddersfield, UK, since 2008 as Professor of Composition and Director of the Centre for Research in New Music (CeReNeM). In Sydney Lim will work alongside fellow composers Matthew Hindson, Carl Vine, Paul Stanhope and Damien Ricketson, all members of the Conservatorium's staff. Recent appointments at the Con also include digital music experts Benjamin Carey and Daniel Blinkhorn.

Cat Hope has recently started in her new job as the Head of the Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music in Melbourne. Hope, who has changed her homebase from Perth to Melbourne for now, introduced herself to her new community and shared some of her ideas in an interview on the Monash University website. Hope's work for string orchestra, found objects and sub tones Pure had its UK premiere on 9 April in London by Ruthless Jabiru, conducted by Kelly Lovelady, as part of the Fuel program.


Matthew Orlovich has won the inaugural Willgoss Choral Composition competition, presented by the University of NSW. His winning work Sonnet, to the comet of 1825 will be rehearsed and performed by the Burgundian Consort next spring. The winner of the competition is awarded the cash prize of $3000.

Conductor and Artistic Director of Gondwana Choirs Lyn Williams OAM has been awarded the prestigious $25,000 Don Banks Music Award, announced as one of eight Australia Council Awards acknowledging the significant contribution by artists in Australia. Also acknowledged this year was sound artist Madeleine Flynn who received her Award (also $25,000) in the category of Emerging and Experimental Arts Award. Full list of Australia Council Awards (Australia Council for the Arts website). See a separate news article about grants to the AMC's Represented and Associate artists in the Australia Council's most recent grant round.

Melbourne-based composer Paul Copeland has won the 2016 Jean Bogan Prize for Piano Composition for his work Audacious Binary Forms. The main prize in this competition attracts the sum of $8,000. The Jean Bogan Youth Prize ($1,500) went to Queensland composer John Rotar for his Sonatine.

Elsewhere on the internet

Recent additions to the ABC Classic FM's New Waves podcast include Syzygy Ensemble's concert with works by May Lyon, Andrew Aronowicz, Lisa Cheney and Harry Sdraulig; and Ensemble Offpspring's Kontiki Racket program (listen to #1 and #2). New Waves has also teamed up with the new music playlist service called Making Waves - so far four composer interviews by the Making Waves team have been made available via Classic FM's podcast. Follow this link for interviews with Julian Day, Cat Hope, Timothy Tate and Joseph Twist.

New Australian content online includes Halcyon's Youtube channel which presents a varying selection of works performed by the Ensemble. The latest addition on the channel is Nicole Murphy's work Dearest mother, from Halcyon's War Letters album. For album details and purchases, see the AMC Shop.

Recent additions on Music Trust's 'Inside the Musician' article series include a fascinating article by film composer Guy Gross, as well as Riley Lee's article about his fascination with the shakuhachi.

Those who missed Jon Rose's 'The Museum Goes Live' exhibition last year at Carriageworks, can check a Youtube video with a selection of exhibits from the 'Rosenberg Museum' or watch and listen to an extract from a concert in two parts.

Adelaide Chamber Singers premiered Paul Stanhope's new work Agnus Dei / Do not stand at my grave and weep towards the end of 2016 - the performance is now available for viewing on Youtube.

University of Melbourne's Context journal issue no. 41 (2016) includes several articles of interest. Jeremy Rose writes about global dialects in the Sydney jazz scene and Elliott Gyger about his opera Fly Away Peter, and there are also contributions by Vincent Plush (about Roger Covell) and Andrew Aronowicz (interviewing Elliott Gyger). among other articles.


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