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19 September 2018

Major funding for a new opera by Mary Finsterer

Mary Finsterer at the 2018 Art Music Awards Image: Mary Finsterer at the 2018 Art Music Awards  
© APRA AMCOS / Tegan Louise

Major funding of more than $500,000 has been confirmed for Mary Finsterer's next opera Antarctica, consisting of a generous donation of $250,000 from Melbourne resident Elaine Smith, as well as funding from other philanthropic sources. The funding will support the composer's research and compositional work over a five-year period in a close working relationship with the University of Tasmania where Mary Finsterer is Adjunct Professor and has now been appointed as the College of Arts, Law and Education (CALE) Creative Fellow. Further to her research work, and as part of her fellowship, she will work with students from the University's Conservatorium of Music, providing masterclasses and one-on-one tuition.

About her decision to support Finsterer's work with her generous gift, Elaine Smith said,

'I have had such a fulfilling journey in life, gaining such enjoyment from the arts. If I help support and assist a composer to pursue her dreams through this fellowship, that means the absolute world to me.'

Mary Finsterer's latest opera Biographica sold out during its premiere season at last year's Sydney Festival, and was named Vocal/Choral Work of the Year in the 2018 Art Music Awards. Her work has been featured at five International Society for Contemporary Music festivals, and her many awards include a Churchill Fellowship, and the Australia Council for the Arts Composer Fellowship, as well as the 2009 Paul Lowin Orchestral Prize for her work In praise of darkness, commissioned by ASKO/Schönberg and Tura New Music, and premiered by ASKO/Schönberg at Amsterdam's Muziekgebouw earlier that same year.

The forthcoming opera will draw from literature and mythology but it will also be influenced by the scientific research that has been undertaken in Antarctica.

'I have been working closely with scientists from the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS), researching their findings and studies with the aim of incorporating this in my new opera', Mary Finsterer said. 'I'm excited by this collaboration, as scientists follow a process that combines analytical and creative thought that isn't far removed from composing, in that we are each guided by modes of investigation and interpretation. Having this connection with science will help to envision my opera in a dynamic and fascinating way. I intend to create an interdisciplinary work that articulates and integrates science across all of the structural levels of the music composition.'

Further links

Mary Finsterer - AMC profile

Mary Finsterer - www.maryfinsterer.com

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