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31 January 2012

Composer & performer news January 2012

Garth Paine Image: Garth Paine  

Our bulletin from the composing/performing world - news, new releases, links to reviews, and other articles. Featuring Kate Moore, Garth Paine, David Chesworth, Mike Nock, Paul Terracini, Felix Werder, George Dreyfus, and others. [Updated 6 February.]

New releases

The new Bang on a Can All-Stars double album Big Beautiful Dark and Scary, released in iTunes on 31 January and physically a month later, includes Kate Moore's work Ridgeway. For details, see the Bang on a Can website.

Garth Paine's Present in the Landscape, available for download through CDeMusic, is an exploration of the Shoalhaven River in southern New South Wales. '... I spent a day on the river in a boat, stopping to talk with people about their use of the river and why they were there, either in a boat or on the side of the river, swimming and walking, picnicking... These recordings formed a snapshot of the white man's use and perspectives on the river, juxtaposed with interviews with local aboriginal men about the lore of the land and the importance of both water and the river in that natural lore.' More information: AMC Online and Earth to Earth network for environmental sound art.

The title of the new album by David Chesworth Ensemble, Vanishing Tekopia, refers to a tiny island with a distinctive culture, slowly vanishing beneath the Pacific Ocean - but it also refers to many minority cultural 'islands' throughout the world which are under threat of vanishing. The two singers of the ensemble have mastered an invented phonetic language which has been specially devised by Chesworth for this album. The CD will be officially launched on 19 February. All CD details (AMC Online) - see also: the Planet Company.

The new CD Nocturnes by Stefan Barcsay on the German Raccanto label includes Ross Edwards's work Blackwattle Caprices (1998) for solo guitar, as well as music by Villa-Lobos, Heller et al. CD details (AMC Online) - see also: Raccanto website.


The new release by Mike Nock Trio, Hear and Know, has been reviewed by the Jazz Planet's Phil Sandford:
'Hear and Know features seven Nock compositions played by his trio partners of several years, James and Ben Waples, with tenor saxophonist Karl Laskowski and trumpeter Ken Allars. The quintet format has proved an enduring one in jazz and this excellent album shows that it still provides a powerful vehicle for creative compositions, solos and group interaction. The CD highlights Nock's continuing development as a player and composer and the vibrancy and strength of some of the younger players on the Australian jazz scene.' See also: YouTube slideshow with 'After Satie' from the Hear and Know album.

The Chicago premiere of Paul Terracini's Gegens├Ątze (14 December) got a positive review on James Boldin's Horn World blog: 'one of the strongest and most engaging pieces... was the world premiere of an original brass choir work by Australian composer Paul Terracini...', Boldin wrote.

The New York City Jazz Record has listed the Crossing Roper Bar CD - a collaboration between the Australian Art Orchestra and the Young Wagilak Group - among the best releases for 2011 internationally. In his CD review in the January 2012 edition of the magazine, Donald Elfman writes: 'The song cycle from this remote part of the world is one of the oldest musical forms in existence and, in collaboration with what can be called free jazz improvisation, seems not only to stay alive but also, amazingly, to grow and thrive.' Read the full review (see p. 24 of the pdf magazine). The Crossing Roper Bar tour received the award for Outstanding Contribution to Australian Music in a Regional Area in the 2009 Classical Music Awards, presented by the AMC and the APRA.

In the same magazine (p. 26 of the pdf magazine), Peter Knight's e e cummings-inspired album Fish Boast of Fishing receives an honourable mention in 'the Best of 2011'.


To celebrate the Melbourne-based composer Felix Werder's 90th birthday, ABC Classic FM and JOLT Arts are putting on a special tribute concert at the Iwaki Auditorium on 23 February (at 7:30pm - entry is free). Pianist Michael Kieran Harvey performs alongside Speak Percussion and the Silo Quartet in a program of Werder's works, including a newly restored tape work from 1974, The Tempest. The event will also be recorded by ABC Classic FM for broadcast on New Music Up Late two days later on 25 January. See also: concert details in the AMC Calendar.

George Dreyfus's Symphony No. 3 will be premiered at Melbourne's Hawthorn Town Hall on 4 March 2012 - for details, see the AMC Calendar.

The UCSB (University of California, Santa Barbara) Percussion Ensemble performed Erik Griswold's works Simple Addition and Nostalgic Strains in their concert on 26 January in the University's Lotte Lehmann Concert Hall. For more details, see this article in the Noozhawk.

Elsewhere on the internet

The Peggy Glanville-Hicks Composers House has a revamped website - meanwhile the house itself is currently being renovated and the applications process is on hold for a few more months. The Composers' House is available for composers and their families to provide a 'haven' for writing music. Depending on the circumstances of the residency occupancy can last from 3 months to 1 year - for more details, see the website.

Matthew Westwood's interview with Simon Crean in The Australian (17 January 2012) reveals, among other things, that the Minister has recently attended several shows. For those concerned about the removal of the Office of Arts from the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, he had this to say: 'It certainly hasn't been downgraded... The judgment about downgrading will (rest) on the outcome of this policy.' The Office of Arts is now part of Crean's main portfolio, the Department of Regional Australia. Read the whole interview in The Australian (17 January).

The Australian (26 January) has also interviewed the new Dean of the Sydney Conservatorium, Karl Kramer.

The Australian Music Centre connects people around the world to Australian composers and sound artists. By facilitating the performance, awareness and appreciation of music by these creative artists, it aims to increase their profile and the sustainability of their art form. Established in 1974, the AMC is now the leading provider of information, resources, materials and products relating to Australian new music.


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