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6 June 2018

Diversity in Australia's music

A new book celebrates Roger Covell's contribution

Diversity in Australia's music

A new book Diversity in Australia's music - themes past, present and for the future, just released by Cambridge Scholars, celebrates Roger Covell's contribution to Australian music and academic life over a long career. Edited by Dorottya Fabian and John Napier, the volume includes 15 articles on a wide range of themes and topics, roughly chronologically grouped in three parts. The first part, titled 'Emerging Communities', includes Napier and Fabian's introductory essay which takes as its starting point Covell's seminal 1967 text Australia's Music: Themes of a New Society (reprinted and revised in 2016), followed by papers about early musical development in Brisbane (by Peter Roennfeldt), Canberra (Peter Campbell) and the Hunter Valley (Helen English). Also included is a brief survey, by David Symons, of Australian operatic works in 1930-1960.

Part II has some emphasis on migrant communities and multiculturalism, but it also includes Fabian's contribution about Covell's work with the UNSW Opera. His activities as musical and artistic director, over three decades, included some 30 operas, with world premieres of Barry Conyngham's Edward John Eyre, George Dreyfus's Garni Sands, Gillian Whitehead's Bright Forms Return, and full premiere productions of Roger Smalley's William Derrincourt and Larry Sitsky's monodrama De Profundis, as well as Australian premieres of works by Peggy Glanville-Hicks, Alison Bauld, Don Banks, and many works from the baroque, classical and romantic opera repertoire.

Samantha Wolf: The More I Think About It the Bigger It Gets
(Soundcloud audio)

In Part III, headed 'Prospects', Linda Kouvaras explores two works by Robert Davidson (Not Now, Not Ever! and Trump: Total Political Correctness) and one by Samantha Wolf (The More I Think About It the Bigger It Gets), discussing the concepts of 'new topicality' and 'new empathy', and how real-life artefacts or recordings employed in these works expand our capacity for responding with compassion. Cat Hope and Adam Trainer cover the impact, in Western Australia and more widely, of the thirty-year-old Tura New Music, and Cor Fuhler writes about the Splinter Orchestra's work through their participation in the 2016 Tectonics Adelaide event, and the Orchestra's field trip and rehearsal period in the Mungo National Park en route to South Australia.

> Diversity in Australia's music - themes past, present and for the future - book details on AMC Online

> See also: Cambridge Scholars

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