Category Archives: New Composition News

Japan Premiere of “Faster” by National Ballet of Japan

This April, the National Ballet of Japan presented the Japanese premiere of my ballet, Faster, choreographed by David Bintley, with the music performed by the Tokyo Philharmonic, conducted by Paul Murphy.

The ballet explores the topic of sport: from the heroics and achievements of competition, to the agony of injury, to the limits of human endurance.

I have often said that when the curtain rises on a new ballet work, I understand the complete honour to be a composer.  This was certainly the case with Faster.  David Bintley is an incredible choreographer.  What he manages to achieve with a complement of human bodies is simply astounding.  Add the superb lighting by Peter Mumford and costumes by Becs Andrews – it was a stunning experience.

With choreographer David Bintley, conductor Paul Murphy and some of the cast of Faster after the final performance.

And not least of all, the magnificent Tokyo Philharmonic, with conductor Paul Murphy who managed to be one of the most energetic of all: a definite highlight of my career.

Premiere performance of Symphony No. 3: The Returned Soldier

This March marked the premiere performance of my Symphony No. 3: The Returned Soldier, by the Phoenix Symphony, under the baton of the incredible conductor Michael Christie.

This 25 minute piece deals with the subject of PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) experienced by veterans returning from combat, such as Iraq and Afghanistan in recent times.

My starting points in this piece were images and scenarios faced by these veterans in war, and their effects on families and loved ones.

It was a real honour to have several war veterans come to me and express how moving they found the piece, and how true to life it seemed as compared to their experiences.  My contribution pales into insignificance compared to the sacrifices they have made.

Week of many performances

This week I am fortunate to have four pieces performed (that I know of).

The first is my new ballet for the Birmingham Royal Ballet, Faster. I am in Birmingham for the rehearsals and the performances. It’s tremendously exciting to see the work of such an outstanding choreographer as David Bintley, and a joy to see music ‘interpreted’ to movement in this manner.

Back in Sydney, the major work that I co-composed with William Barton, Kalkadungu, will be performed with William as the soloist with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, conducted by David

William Barton and Matthew Hindson

When premiered in 2008, this work was reviewed as “winning the audience and given a standing ovation… Kalkadungu opens new opportunities for Australian music” (Murray Black, The Australian), and “The most compelling few minutes of indigenous – inspired fast music to come from any white Australian.” (Graeme Skinner, The Sydney Morning Herald).

More recently it received standing ovations at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl in Melbourne, with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, and at the National Reconciliation Concert with the Monash Academy.

A CD containing Kalkadungu has very recently been released on ABC Classics.

In Melbourne, my Siegfried Interlude No. 4 – Ride of the Viola Valkyries, will be performed as part of the Viola Festival being held at the Australian National Academy of Music. This work is for 8 violas, and is a contemporary reinterpretation of Wagner’s famous excerpt from Die Walkure.

On the other side of the world again, in Alaska, my string quartet no. 1, Industrial Night Music, will be performed by The Attacca Quartet in the Sitka Festival.

The Attacca Quartet

The only shame is that I can’t be in 4 places at once to hear them all.