Here a few things that I have been involved with in the last couple of months (or so…):
On 31 August I hosted an experimental music concert: the ANU New Music Ensemble performed works by some old hats, Earle Brown and Morton Feldman, as well as recent works by Marcello Messina, and ANU’s own Tom Connell and myself.
On September 3, I was a part of the 21st Annual Precipice Performance event in Canberra. Ben Drury, Richard Johnson and I performed an improvised set with some talented experimental dancers and performance artists. https://www.facebook.com/events/1184562904937715/
On September 24, the EMS crew and I performed with Martyn Jolly at the Siteworks festival at the Bundanon Trust. Our performance, ‘Tragic Drowning Fatality’, involved thirty original magic lantern slides from the 1880s to the 1920s (Martyn Jolly), six actors from the region who read actual testimony of a double drowning that occurred in the Shoalhaven River in 1922, and EMS members (Andy Ryan, Jack Livingston, Ben Harb, Alec Hunter, and myself) accompanying the action with some amazing music composed by Dr Alec Hunter. https://bundanon.com.au/whats-on/siteworks-2016/
Also, I recently had the opportunity to have a piece of mine (‘Delphic’, for pierrot ensemble) recorded by Ensemble Offspring! Stay tuned to hear the recording.
Later in November…
I’m looking forward to travelling to Brisbane to share some of my works with the crew at the Conservatory of Music. I will also be presenting a paper at the ANU Postgraduate Symposium. More on these exciting things later…
This Wednesday evening (August 31, 2016) the New Music Ensemble is hosting a concert at ANU (held in the Big Band Room at 6.30pm). We will be playing new works by student composers, myself, overseas colleagues (Marcello Messina), and some old favourites from the New York School of composers (though, with a special New Music Ensemble slant…). I’m looking forward to it!
The Experimental Music Studio hosts a monthly series at the Ainslie Arts Centre in Canberra. It is a series that allows different experimental musicians and artists from Canberra and surrounding regions to share their work with the public. The most recent of the series (June 15) included electronic music (synthesised, built, prerecorded..the whole kit and kaboodle!), combined with acoustic instruments (both traditional, and not so traditional). My brand new piece, Colourless Green Ideas Sleep Furiously, was premiered in this concert by my friends in the Experimental Music Studio (and me).
On Wednesday (May 25), the Experimental Music Studio jumped in a van and travelled to Macquarie University in Sydney. We attended a seminar where our very own Dr Alec Hunter was the keynote speaker and he gave a presentation on free improvisation and musical anarchy. Our colleague, Marcello Messina, who is currently based in Sydney, also gave a presentation where he talked about the challenges facing composers who embark on practise-based research projects. The EMS also performed at the seminar, playing pieces by EMS members Alec Hunter, Ben Drury, and myself, as well as a free-improvised set.
The Sydney-based experimental music ensemble, Ensemble Offspring, are ensemble in residence at the ANU this year, and I was lucky enough to be able to compose a brand new piece for them. My piece, Spectrum (for clarinet, cello, and percussion),was premiered in a concert on 20 May 2016. Stay tuned for a recording!
Collected Resonances, held at the Ainslie Arts Centre in Canberra, is a concert series curated by students from the ANU. Each series features different groups of experimental musicians and visual artists from Canberra and further afield. On May 18, the New Music Ensemble (Ellen Falconer, Malcolm Newland, and Helena Popovic, and directed by myself) performed an amazing set that featured music by Luciano Berio, Johanna Beyer, and Jo Kondo; free-improvisation; and a video projection.
On May 6, the Experimental Music Studio participated in the Canberra International Music Festival. We performed a set in Rainforest Gully at the Botanic Gardens in Canberra. The ensemble was dispersed all over the rainforest, creating a natural surround-sound experience.
You Are Here is a festival that celebrates local experimental artists and the Canberran underground creative culture as a whole. Over the span of a week, various artists present their work in non-traditional venues and city spaces around town.
During the festival, the EMS performed at Everything at Once and All Together, in Varity Lane, Civic (15 April). Inspired by John Cage’s, Musicircus, it featured performances, music, and installations from over 30 artists, including us. Our set featured video projections accompanied by spoken word, synthesisers, acoustic and electric instruments, as well as toy instruments.
On 16 April, the EMS jumped over to O’Connor to perform in somebody’s home as a part of Let’s Stay In Tonight. For our set, At Home, we performed in the kitchen and living room (simultaneously), making music with an assortment of household objects.
A new electronic work of mine, Just One Sentence, was also premiered at the festival (17 April) as a part of Pieces For Cars, Tunnel, and Hexagonal Vents (this event was the brainchild of friend and colleague, Ben Drury). The audience experienced the compositions from above (heard through hexagonal air vents), as the electronic pieces were played from car stereos in the tunnel beneath them.
On 24 March, the newly formed ANU Prepared Piano Ensemble performed a set on (or should I say, ‘in’) the grand piano installation in the unique Nishi Grand Stair (Canberra). We explored interesting sounds and complex textures by collectively playing both the inside and outside of the piano. Aside from playing the keys, the inside of the piano was struck with various sticks and mallets, bowed (using rosined ribbon), plucked, and prepared with various objects including, but not limited to, cymbals, glass bottles, stones, bolts, and beads.
Composer and WAAPA lecturer, Lindsay Vickery, visited and worked with the Experimental Music Studio from 4-5 March. Vickery’s works explore the use of field recordings as a structural resource, new forms of notation (including the use of an iPad scrolling score app, designed by himself and his colleagues), and performance through the synthesis of instruments, electronics, and video. On 5 March, the EMS performed, alongside Vickery, a concert of his works.