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Kolam : for orchestra

by Tim Dargaville (2012, this version: 2015)

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Kolam for orchestra


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Kolam for orchestra / Tim Dargaville.

Library shelf no. 784.2/DAR 1 [Available for loan]

Display all products featuring this work (5 more)  

Work Overview

Kolam is a ritualistic form of decorative threshold art, drawn on the ground using rice flour at the entrance of a private home. It is an ancient practice traditionally passed on from mother to daughter. A kolam itself is a mandala-like drawing composed of a continuous line curving around a matrix of dots. In the state of Tamil Nadu, in South India, kolam-making is widely practised by the women of the house each morning from daybreak. Kolams are thought to bestow prosperity to homes, are seen as a sign of welcome, and also ward off the "evil eye". Kolam patterns range between geometric and mathematical line drawings to free form artwork and closed shapes. Once drawn, these designs are left to be walked over, for passing insects to eat, and gradually disappear by the end of the day only to be reformed again the next morning.

Kolam : for Orchestra is intended to be a sonic meditation on this ancient and mysterious practice, and draws inspiration from the geometric nature of kolam design, as well its ephemeral nature. In particular, the temporal design and rhythmic writing in this work have been inspired by patterns and processes found in the parallel South Indian vocal percussion artform konnakol.

Work Details

Year: 2012, this version: 2015

Instrumentation: Flute, flute/piccolo, oboe, oboe/cor anglais, 2 clarinets in B flat, bassoon, bassoon/contrabassoon, 2 horns in F, 2 trumpets in C, timpani/tam tam, percussion (1 player), harp, strings (

Duration: 15 min.

Difficulty: Advanced

Dedication note: Dedicated to Melbourne Symphony Orchestra

First performance: by Arcko Symphonic Ensemble, Timothy Phillips at Melbourne Made (Church of All Nations) on 19 Mar 2016


Resonate article: Speaking in Tongues - a concert retrospective by Tim Dargaville

Resonate article: Inside the labyrinth, on the threshold by Tim Dargaville

Performances of this work

26 Apr 2021: at The Ashes (Blackheath Community Centre, Phillips Hall). Featuring Nexas Saxophone Quartet.

16 Mar 2021: at The Ashes (Melbourne Recital Centre, Primrose Potter Salon). Featuring Nexas Saxophone Quartet.

1 Dec 2019: at Five Chapters: Nexas Quartet with Piers Lane (The Independent Theatre). Featuring Nexas Saxophone Quartet.

4 May 18: May Residencies 2018 programme, Reiterkaserne, Konzertzaal, Kunst University, Graz, Austria. Featuring Patrick Skrilecz.

10 Oct 2017: at The fire in which we burn (Recital Hall West, Sydney Conservatorium of Music). Featuring Bernadette Harvey.

28 Apr 2017: at Speaking in Tongues - The music of Tim Dargaville (Melbourne Recital Centre, Primrose Potter Salon). Featuring New Music Ensemble, Melbourne Conservatorium of Music.

28 Apr 2017: at Speaking in Tongues - The music of Tim Dargaville (Melbourne Recital Centre, Primrose Potter Salon). Featuring Bernadette Harvey.

4 Mar 17: International Grammar School, Ultimo, NSW. Featuring Nexas Saxophone Quartet.

19 Mar 2016: at Melbourne Made (Church of All Nations). Featuring Arcko Symphonic Ensemble, Timothy Phillips.

14 Oct 2014: at Unerhörte Musik: sonic.art Quartet (BKA Theater (Berlin)). Featuring Sonic Art Quartet (saxophone quartet).

7 Jun 2013: at Continuum Sax : Laughing Gas (The Independent Theatre). Featuring Continuum Sax.

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