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Daniel Portelli : Associate Artist

My music is a form of line-making, heard and experienced as radiant energetic lines drawn through space in time. A meshwork of sensory surplus, where objects and points break down.

Photo of Daniel Portelli


Daniel Portelli is an art music composer whose music has been performed by Tracensemble, Soundstream Collective, Adelaide Philharmonic Choir, Two New Duo, the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Tamara Cislowska, ESMUC Ensemble, Claire Edwardes, Liu Ying, and by a robotic piano named RHEA.

Portelli was awarded a PhD in composition at the University of Huddersfield (United Kingdom) with principal supervisor Professor Liza Lim and co-supervisor Professor Peter Ablinger. He completed a MA (Honours) at Western Sydney University (WSU) with Professor Bruce Crossman.

Portelli was the winner of the Winston Music ECF commission at the Soundstream Emerging Composers' Forum, with which he wrote the piece Animal (2015) for choir and ensemble. Animal is a political work in which (hidden amongst other sounds) the choir whisper interview excerpts from parents describing the mental state of their children living in Australian immigration detention centres.

Portelli has published an article on his piece Mapping Australia (2014), in the fifth issue of the CeReNeM Journal (UK). Mapping Australia is a satirical work incorporating found footage which details Australia's cartography practices in the 1960s and the carving up of the land for mining. The work explores the piano as geographic territory and criticises the 'terra nullius' idea in the archival film. Mapping Australia was broadcast to the ABC's New Music Up Late program and performed by pianists Gabriella Smart and Tamara Cislowska.

Portelli's music has an interdisciplinary focus, particularly in his incorporation of video as a sketching process for composition. For Portelli, the use of video becomes the primary 'corresponding' tool for the development of a multimodal practice; a mediating element for building vocabularies between the auditory, the kinaesthetic, the tactile, and the imagination. His ideas are incorporated into staff notated practices, animated scores, writings for robotic instruments, and sound and video installations.

In 2015, Portelli was involved in the Composition Beyond Music workshop at Impuls Music Academy in Graz, Austria where he created Copy/Make. This work is a visual representation of his compositional ideas where physical musical gestures are performed on a glass surface, captured and played back as individual GIFs, with sequences repeating back simultaneously at different rates. These images then become source material and a score for new sonic and kinaesthetic realisations in his process. Portelli also represented Australia as the Young Composer Representative at the Asian Music Festival, 2014, in Tokyo and Yokohama.

Daniel Portelli — current to May 2019

Selected Commissions

  Work Commission Details
Digital sheet music sample Animal : for SATB choir and ensemble (violin, cello, electronic keyboard, and percussion) with video (2015) Commissioned through the Soundstream Emerging Composers Forum