Category Archives: Forthcoming Performances

Camden Haven Music Festival 2006

Recently I attended some performances at the Camden Haven Music Festival, a festival of various types of music held in the Camden Haven region of Australia (about 30 minutes south of Port Macquarie, or about 3 1/2 hours north of Sydney).

What made this event particularly special (for me at least!) was the fact that this festival featured the music of four Australian composers: Sarah Hopkins, Ross Edwards, Michael Atherton and myself.

Forum at Camden Haven Festival

The above photograph is from a forum held in the Kendall School of Arts Hall, a wonderful venue dating back many years. The forum was moderated by Damian Beaumont of ABC Classic FM. Following this forum, over the course of two days, were concerts dedicated to each of our music. On the one hand, the music of the four composers is very different: however in perhaps the most important ways they were similar. For example, Ross Edwards’ and Sarah Hopkins’ music contain aspects of spirituality, but from extremely different perspectives. The musical inspirations behind Michael Atherton and Sarah Hopkins seems to encompass more of an improvisatory approach as opposed to the strict notation of Ross Edwards’ and my own music. Damian Beaumont remarked that the difference between my music and Sarah Hopkins’ music is stark, and to some extent that is true, at least on the surface. But despite such diversity, each of the four composers was motivated by the strongest desire to have their music evoke positive ‘energy’ – the material or method of transmission was not as important as the background impulse. When it came down to the nitty-gritty, what we had in common was much more important than any diversity.

The works performed in my composer focus concert were:

    Little Chrissietina’s Magic Fantasy (James Cuddeford – vln, Stephen Emerson – pno)
    Song of Life (James Cuddeford – vln)
    Night Pieces (Paul Dean – clarinet, Stephen Emerson – piano)
    Lament (Trish O’Brien – cello, Stephen Emerson – piano)
    Piano Trio (James Cuddeford – vln, Trish O’Brien – cello, Stephen Emerson – pno)
    Always on Time (James Cuddeford – vln, Trish O’Brien – cello)

Song of Life
and Piano Trio were world premieres.

I hope that the superb work by the Artistic Director, Trish O’Brien, and the rest of the organizing committee of the Camden Haven Festival is given the recognition that it deserves from the highest quarters. It should be seen as a model for presentation of Australian music throughout the country in both metropolitan and regional centres.

San Francisco Ballet performances

I’m off to the US in a couple of days time to see the premiere of a new ballet, “Concordia”, choreographed by Toronto-based choreographer Matjash Mrozewski. The ballet is the middle section of a triple bill presented by the San Franscisco Ballet. There are seven performances between 11 – 24 April 2007.

The dance work will be presented to two of my pieces: firstly, a new version of technologic 1 for string orchestra, followed by The Rave and the Nightingale for string quartet and string orchestra.

The ensemble will be the San Francisco Ballet Orchestra conducted by Martin West.

House Music in London

Next month (December) will be the premiere of my new Flute Concerto, which is entitled House Music. More information including programme notes is available on the relevant programme notes page.

It has been wonderful working with the soloist, Marina Piccinini. Flute concertos are definitely not the easiest type of piece to write – there are a range of balance issues and so forth that need to be taken into account, particularly if we’re not using amplification. But it is great knowing that such a top performer and orchestra (The London Philharmonic) are playing the music. I’m sure it will be wonderful all around.

Australian Festival of Chamber Music 2006

This year’s Australian Festival of Chamber Music, held in Townsville in early July, looks to be an absolute cracker. Co-artistic director Chris Latham has organized a stellar cast of fantastic musicians – both national and international – playing a wonderful selection of music. I was lucky enough to attend last year’s festival and being right near the Great Barrier Reef, in the tropics in the middle of winter is a marvellous experience. Temperatures are near 27 degrees and it’s just like summer in Sydney. Sure beats the 13 degrees we’ve had recently.

As part of this festival, I have a new arrangement from the second movement of A Symphony of Modern Objects, “Spirit Song”. This new chamber version is scored for shakuhachi, violin, cello, piano and percussion. Also performed will be the oboe and string quartet version of Rush, played by the inimitable Goldner String Quartet and Diana Doherty, and Technologic, performed by the Fyra Quartet on their western Queensland tour.

Concert of music by The Queensland Orchestra

As part of my Composer-In-Residence position for this year with The Queensland Orchestra, they are playing a concert featuring a number of my works on 31 August, at the Ferry Road Studios.

The programme will also feature the amazing didjeridu player, William Barton, with a premiere of one of his new works.

My music in this concert includes: *Rave-Elation* (the Australian premiere of the 8 minute version, which I’ve never heard!), the complete *Balkan Connection* (first professional performance of the whole piece), a new arrangement of *Didjeribluegrass* for string orchestra, didjeridu and 1 percussion, and two movements from *A Symphony of Modern Objects*: “Spirit Song” and “Vietnam War Memorial”.

Should be a good concert! The conductor is Brett Kelly.