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22 December 2015

Tilde New Music Festival

Tilde New Music Festival

Vincent Giles explains the background of the Tilde New Music Festival (22-24 January in Melbourne). In 2016, the 3-year-old festival will be hosting five days of workshops on 18-22 January in partnership with Arts Centre Melbourne, as well as a weekend of events.

When Alice Bennett and I originally conceived of Tilde we wanted to fill what we perceived as a gap in the Australian new music landscape by founding a festival and academy modelled on the European summer/winter courses such as the Darmstadt International Summer Course for New Music, or the Impuls International Ensemble and Composers Academy for Contemporary Music. However, we had no money at all, and so we started a small mini-festival, running for half a day, with the intention of getting practitioners and audiences of new music into one space for an extended period of time to stimulate conversation, engagement, and potentially collaboration.

I'll come back to the development of Tilde in a moment, after a short interjection to note how important David Chisholm's Bendigo International Festival of Exploratory Music is - the first instalment of this major festival was held in 2013, just prior to the first Tilde festival. BIFEM's ongoing success in presenting fantastic programs of exploratory and challenging work and international ensembles meant that Tilde could shift to a grass-roots model with minimal to no funding, presenting a space and platform for experimentation, collaboration and presentation of works focusing on the local geographic region.

In Tilde's 2nd year (2015), we expanded to a full day and included facilitated collaborations between dancers, performers, visual artists, composers, as well as presenting new works by a number of Victorian composers and performers, and an sound installation showcasing fixed-media works from around the world. The communal and collaborative nature of the festival, along with solidifying the notion that new music practice extends into other fields, as it always has, and that this is something to be celebrated and promoted.

Now entering our third year, we are totally excited to be facilitating our first ever academy! Still drawing on the European inspiration that we started with, and in partnership with Arts Centre Melbourne, we will be hosting five days of intense workshops and rehearsals aimed at young people under 30 to engage with new music as performers and composers. We are offering brass, woodwind, and string tuition along with computer music, and will hopefully, in future years, expand beyond that!

The festival itself has also grown substantially and now covers two days of performances across two venues, and a panel-based conversation to launch the festival on Friday night. Performances include practitioners from all around Australia and internationally, with fixed-media works presented now in eight channels and featuring works from all around the globe. We are again facilitating a number of collaborations, along with having two guest curators: experimental musician Clinton Green will be presenting two hours of performances on Saturday, and visual artist Anne Bennett is curating a number of visual works that resonate strongly with sound and music.

We are very proud of what we have accomplished given that we have no budget other than what the two of us (and some very willing accomplices) have donated. We are hoping to change this situation as we move forward, and plans are being formulated to facilitate this and expand the festival and academy even further.

Composers featured during the festival include Houston Dunleavy, Gary Butler, Warren Burt, Katia Tiutiunnik, Ross Edwards, Kirsty Bellharz, Michael Smetanin, Chris Dench, Gerard Brophy, Andrew Ford, Melanie Walters, Vincent Plush, Anthony Lyons, Jaslyn Robinson and Carmen Chan (changes possible).

> Tilde New Music Festival (event details in the AMC Calendar). See also: Tilde website.
> Tilde Academy 18-22 January 2016


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