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26 August 2021

Two Australian composers break through at Lucerne Festival

Kirsten Milenko Image: Kirsten Milenko  

Two emerging Australian composers, Kirsten Milenko and Alex Vaughan, have their big break, this Sunday, at the prestigious Lucerne Festival in Switzerland, with their new orchestral works premiered by the Lucerne Festival Contemporary Orchestra.

The two 'Roche Young Commissions' have been funded by the festival's main partner, pharmaceuticals giant Roche, as part of a project with involvement by Roche scientists and the general aim to create dialogue between science and art.

In an interview in Limelight, the AMC-represented Milenko explains her work, Traho, influenced by the devastating bushfires in NSW in December 2019, and the resulting collective trauma:

'The poem at the centre of the piece, written by Bea Redweik, was pivotal in the development of form and dimension, as it gives a centre-point against which the rest of the music can take form in a different light.'

'On a conceptual level, there were specific qualities of fire that were important to portray. The first movement, for example, is a setting of embers flying like pollen. The latter movements look at what remains after fire - the ash that still falls like snow long after flames are gone, embracing tree skeletons left exposed on the land', Milenko said.

Milenko studied composition at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music under Liza Lim, Natasha Anderson and Rosalind Page, and completed her studies at the Royal Danish Academy of Music under Niels Rosing-Schow, Simon Løffler, and Jeppe Just Christensen. She is based in Paris and, in addition to composing, studies conducting with Arturo Tamayo at the Conservatorio della Svizzera italiana in Lugano, Switzerland.

> 'Two Australians to premiere Roche Young Commissions at the Lucerne Festival' - article by Hugh Robertson, Limelight (25 August 2021)

> Kirsten Milenko - AMC profile; see also https://www.kirstenmilenko.com/

> Alex Vaughan - https://www.alex-vaughan.com/

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