19 March 2008
Festival Season for New Music
© Scott Mackinnon
April is a busy month for Australian new music, particularly when it comes to festivals. Throughout April musicians, composers and concert-goers alike will have the chance to celebrate new music in a variety of forms at four different festivals across the nation. From improvisation, installation and free jazz to contemporary classical, each festival offers an exciting line-up of outstanding creative artists, demonstrating the diversity of talent in Australian new music.
MIBEM (Melbourne International Biennale of Exploratory Music)
Melbourne (various venues)
28 March – 2 April 2008
A new event on the Australian music calendar, MIBEM is a six-day exploration of unique musical possibilities taking place in various Melbourne music venues. The curators, renowned Melbourne artists/composers Anthony Pateras and Robin Fox, are bringing together over 50 international and Australian musicians from the cutting and far edges of contemporary music for a series of inspired and boundary-expanding sonic explorations. The line-up features an expansive variety of contemporary music forms including improvisation, audio-visual works, composition, electronica, free jazz, noise rock and contemporary classical music.
As far as local talent goes, the solo performance of Sydney-based improvising legend Jim Denley is sure to be a highlight. The festival will also see a momentous collaboration between poet/author/vocalist Amanda Stewart, electronic musician/installation artist Natasha Anderson and French electroacoustic improviser Jérôme Noetinger (Metamkine). Other artists performing include Menstruation Sisters (Sydney), Daniel Menche (Oregon), Cor Fuhler (Amsterdam), Clocked Out Duo (Brisbane), Brendan Walls (Sydney), Kirsten Reese (Berlin), Chris Abrahams (Melbourne), Valerio Tricoli (Palermo) plus more.
Adelaide Contemporary Music Festival
Dunstan Playhouse and Artspace, Adelaide Festival Centre, Adelaide
4-6 April 2008
Another festival devoted to new music is the inaugural Adelaide Contemporary Music Festival. Curated by Soundstream Contemporary Music Ensemble director, Gabriella Smart, the festival showcases a kaleidoscope of new music from Australia, Europe and Asia, juxtaposing works written in the 1950s with the premieres of works by emerging and established composers in three individual concerts. Featured composers include Adelaide’s pioneer of electronic music Tristram Cary, emerging Adelaide composer Anne Cawrse, Andrew Ford, Roger Smalley, Dutch composer Willem Jeth, Australian Greek composer Constantine Koukias, Russians Sofia Gubaidalina and Alfred Schnittke, and Korean In-Sun Cho.
Composer Roger Smalley, Constantine Koukias and Anne Cawrse will also take part in a composer forum led by Professor Charles Bodman-Rae, which will be presented alongside the performances by the Grainger Quartet, Telesto Duo, Gabriella Smart (pianist), Greta Bradman (soprano) and Trio d'anche Suave with Seung-Eun Lee (oboe).
‘What is Music?’ Festival
Carriageworks, Everleigh, Sydney
12 April 2008
The ‘What is Music?’ festival returns on 12 April 2008 with what promises to be an experimental music spectacular at the Carriageworks in Sydney. The festival has developed a reputation over the last ten years for presenting cutting-edge music making from artists across the nation and the world. This year, the festival is presenting mostly homegrown talent with a focus on large-scale new instrument design and modification as well as the usual presentation of sonic extremes.
Highlights include Robin Fox’s double laser synaesthetic sound and light performance, along with Anthony Pateras and Max Kohane’s new duo Maxximal Paterrorist (piano/drums) and Miles Van Dorsen’s Feuerwasser, a towering plume of flame, steam and sound that emanates from a body of water. In this installation, Van Dorsen pushes our understanding of physics, challenging us to reconsider what is possible. Robbie Avenaim, co-founder and curator of the festival, and Dale Gorfinkel will also present their current explorations with innovative instrumental building.
Other artists include Cor Fuhler (Amsterdam), Oren Ambarchi, Marco Fusinato, Chris Abrahams, Valerio Tricoli plus more.
Aurora Festival 2008
Western Sydney (various venues)
11-20 April 2008
Based largely around Western Sydney, the Aurora New Music Festival showcases a wide range of national and international composers in concerts given by some of Australia's best musicians. According to artistic director Matthew Hindson, the festival has a strong focus on newly written works: 19 new works will be premiered throughout the week. A range of discussion, workshops and forums (including an online one in resonate!) will be presented alongside the performances.
The festival highlights cross-cultural influences and features composers Chinary Ung (US/Cambodia) and Michael Atherton (Australia). The line-up also includes works by Rosalind Page, Elena Kats-Chernin, Damien Ricketson, Peter Sculthorpe, Mark Issacs, and Michael Smetanin.
© Australian Music Centre (2008) — Permission must be obtained from the AMC if you wish to reproduce this article either online or in print.
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