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26 July 2011

Composer & performer news July 2011

Peter Knight Image: Peter Knight  

Our news bulletin from the composing/performing world - featuring Georges Lentz, Peter Knight, Claire Edwardes, Andrew Ford, Wendy Hiscocks, Stephen Leek, Peter Sculthorpe and Andrián Pertout, among others.

New releases

Georges Lentz's 60-minute solo guitar work Ingwe (an Aboriginal word meaning night) has been released on a CD by Naxos, performed by Zane Banks. Conceived as part of an open-ended cycle of compositions with the religiously inspired title Caeli enarrant…, it has been described as 'a nod to guitar heroes such as Jimi Hendrix, and a monumental meditation on the human condition, the bleak vastness of the Australian desert and the awe-inspiring radiance of its night skies'. Reviews of the CD on the Naxos website also give an idea of the nature of this monumental work. (See also: product details on AMC Online)

Parentheses Records (Perth/Belgium) have released a new CD titled Residual by Peter Knight and Dung Nguyen - in this project, the duo (both members of the acclaimed cross-cultural jazz ensemble Way Out West) develops unique approaches to combining Vietnamese and Western music elements in a contemporary setting. Since the formation of Residual in 2009 the duo has appeared at the Brisbane Festival, the Quiet Music Festival (Melbourne) and the Darwin Festival. See Parentheses website for more information.

Flash is Claire Edwardes's second CD for Tall Poppies - a compilation of miniatures for the marimba. Inspired by her formative musical years as a pianist and her two young daughters, Edwardes has chosen a program of new and transcribed gems for the mellow sonorities of the grand five-octave marimba. The seven Australian miniatures, most of them written for this project, are accompanied by a selection of international works, from Bach to Chick Corea. Listen to samples or buy this CD through the AMC Shop.

Andrew Ford's book Illegal Harmonies is back in print in an updated third edition from Black Inc. Originally a 10-part radio series chronicling the story of 20th-century music and first broadcast in 1997, the latest print version includes a chapter on music since 2001 and a completely new preface. Australian composers mentioned in the book include Percy Grainger, Peggy-Glanville-Hicks, Peter Sculthorpe, Richard Meale, Nigel Butterley, David Lumsdaine, Roger Smalley, Elena Kats-Chernin and Liza Lim. Music by Gerard Brophy and Brett Dean is discussed in the new chapter. For more information, see the Black Inc website. The original radio series will be repeated on ABC Classic FM beginning on Sunday 18 September.

A newly recorded selection of chamber music by Australian, London-based composer Wendy Hiscocks has been released by the Symposium label. The works on the CD include Shades of the Alhambra, Mother & Child Nocturne, Coral Fantasy and Libretto of the Eight Year Old. The composer appears as pianist, and much of the music was inspired by her homeland, the Moorish legends of Spain or the Indian poetry of Tagore. All CD details and audio samples are available on the AMC website. See also: Symposium Records website.


Decibel's CD disintergration: mutation has been reviewed on RealTimeArts by Chris Reid, who sums up: 'Disintegration: Mutation is absorbing and resolved work that extends the aesthetic that has emerged over recent years in blending the sonically possible into the demandingly-but-satisfyingly musical'. (Read also: Cat Hope's blog article about Decibel on Resonate.)

Reid also reviews Topology's release Difference Engine, describing the CD as 'very straight but [...] a superbly crafted and very satisfying CD'. 'These compositions sound as if they have grown out of experiments that have resolved themselves into a style. If this music had its roots in minimalism, it has evolved into something far more complex', Reid writes.

Phillip Clark gives a glowing review to a recent CD release of David Lumsdaine's music in the June issue of The Gramophone. 'This superb anthology reveals what a false dichotomy the whole field recording/"conventional" composition debate can be. Lumsdaine's soundscapes are as concerned with inner dialogues, counterpoint and structure as anything he commits to manuscript paper', Clark writes. More information about the CD White Dawn - songs and soundscapes by David Lumsdaine (Métier Records) is available on the AMC website and the Divine Art Records website.

Performances, honours, appointments

Stephen Leek has spent much of the winter in the Northern Hemisphere, among other things conducting and giving masterclasses in Taiwan and running choral composition workshops in Hong Kong. Leek's new work Jiri San Sunrise brings together choir, orchestra, didjeridu and taepyongso (double reeded trumpet-like Korean instrument), with words by Brisbane author Lesley Synge. The performance by the St Peters Chorale and the Queensland Korean Orchestra will take place on 8 October in Brisbane. A recently released CD of music for choir, two pianos and percussion features the complete performance of Leek's Warrumbungles Burning by the Brisbane Chamber Choir, St Peters Chorale, pianists Liam Viney and Anna Grinsberg, et al. The CD is available through the Brisbane Chamber Choir website.

Peter Sculthorpe's growing list of honours now includes a Spanish Knighthood in recognition of his contribution to strengthening the musical ties between Spain and Australia. The honour - entitled Comendador de la Orden de Isabel la Católica - was conferred on him by the Spanish Ambassador to Australia at a ceremony in the Australian National Library in Canberra in May. A selection of Sculthorpe's music accompanied the proceedings, and was performed by William Barton (didjeridu), Calvin Bowman (organ) and Synergy Percussion.

London-based composer John Carmichael returns to his hometown Melbourne in August to attend the premiere of his Piano Concerto no. 2. The work will be premiered by the Melbourne Chamber Strings and pianist Anthony Gray, conducted by Stefan Cassomenos, on 7 August. Carmichael was awarded the OAM in this year's Queen's Birthday Honours 'for service to the arts as a concert pianist and composer'.

In April, 2011, Andrián Pertout travelled to Ghent, Belgium, to attend the world premiere performance of A borboleta, for robot orchestra, at the Tetrahedron Concert Hall as part of 7th International Krikri 'Polypoetry' Festival 2011. The work was commissioned by the Logos Foundation and incorporates 37 of the Logos Foundation automatons (electromechanical computer-controlled acoustic instruments fitted with additional MIDI-mapped lights). Other recent highlights include the world premiere performance of La Homa Kanto for harmonically tuned synthesiser quartet at MicroFest 2011 in California, and Melancholia for two percussionists, 24 found objects and 8-speaker sound diffusion at the Australasian Computer Music Conference (ACMC) in Auckland, NZ, in July. Later this year, Pertout will be travelling to Puerto Rico, Chile and Uruguay to attend performances of his music.

Artistic Director, curator and harpist Marshall McGuire has left Perth and the West Australian Symphony Orchestra after five years as Executive Manager of Artistic Planning, in order to move to Melbourne and join Orchestra Victoria as Director of Artistic Planning. McGuire is also the Curator of the Utzon Music Series at the Sydney Opera House, and Artistic Director of baroque group Ludovico's Band.

The Australian Music Centre connects people around the world to Australian composers and sound artists. By facilitating the performance, awareness and appreciation of music by these creative artists, it aims to increase their profile and the sustainability of their art form. Established in 1974, the AMC is now the leading provider of information, resources, materials and products relating to Australian new music.


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