Students at the ANU School of Music engage in a variety of academic programs specifically designed to help them prepare for their future careers as professional musicians, and the many ways they will engage with the community.
The following are just an example of the projects that students have recently been involved in. We are currently planning to add more of the great work our students are doing, so please do check back again soon.
Professional Practice Projects
Writing for the Music Profession
As part of the Canberra International Music Festival, Thursday 19 May 2011, Roland Peelman and the Song Company with the ANU School of Music Vocal Department performed Agnus Dei by Samuel Barber, in the Hall of Memory, within the Commemorative Area. Here is a short snippet of this beautiful performance.
The Wolfgang: ANU School of Music's newest ensemble
This group of ANU School of Music students formed after working with Pekka Kuusisto and the Danish String Quartet during the 2011 Canberra International Music Festival. They play music that has the spirit and passion of the folk tradition with the accuracy and ensemble unity of classical chamber music. With three violins and a cello they compose and arrange everything they play and share their music with the community in a variety of venues. During 2011 this included a fundraising luncheon at the popular Wig & Pen pub with all proceeds going towards the school's scholarship program.
Professonal Practice Projects focus on preparing musicians for the wide variety of profressional endeavours they will encounter in their lives as musicians. This creative music course offers hands-on collaborative experiences with professional music organisations in Canberra and regional NSW. The course is one of the cornerstones for the new Bachelor of Professional Music Practice which was introduced by the school in 2010.
Examples of the work students have done under these projects includes:
Producing a series of concerts at the Wesley Music Centre
Producing a series of concerts at the Young Regional Music Conservatorium
Presenting presentations at Early Childhood Centres
Producing and promoting the Musicaronnimus project for the ANU
Managing the School of Music Orchestra
In 2010 ANU School of Music students collaborated with NewActon, in a series of performance presentation dinners titled Taste the Music. There were also projects with the National Library, the War Memorial, The Canberra International Chamber Music Festival and a highly commended project producing music for an animated short movie.
As part of his Professional Practice Project course supervised by Jim Cotter, Head of Composition. Sam Smith composed the music for a movie directed and animated by Katie Ryan [a clip from this movie will appear here shortly].
Read about the Professional Practice Project in the ANU News
For more information contact:
As part of a new course in 2010 titled 'Writing for the Musical Profession', students at the ANU School of Music practiced the art of writing about music, by attending and then reviewing concerts in and around Canberra. The Canberra Times and the School have entered into a collaboration whereby selected musical reviews written by students enrolled in the course will be considered for publication. The first to be published were four reviews of an ABC live concert held in Llewellyn Hall on April 25th.
Arnan Wiesel, Convener of the new course, which has been developed as part of the new Bachelor of Professional Music Practice degree, points out that building a continuous relationship with the Canberra Times in relation to music reviews is important and beneficial to the students and the community. “Music reviews are an important component of a vibrant creative musical community, providing critical comments on current activities and promoting new musical ideas. Building a pool of young reviewers establishes connection with the community, promotes awareness of musical events, and establishes the ANU as a leader in the field of professional music practice” says Wiesel.
Three of the reviews first published were written by 1st year Bachelor of Professional Music Practice students and one by a Bachelor of Music student who has taken this course as an elective. The course is being delivered by several guest lecturers including Vincent Plush from the National Film and Sound Archive, Chris Latham from the Canberra International Music Festival and Katherine Kemp from the ABC.
Download the Canberra Times Reviews 4th May 2010
Download the Canberra Times Reviews 20th May 2010
Read the ABC Sunday Live, 25th April 2010 Student Reviews
Read the Canberra International Music Festival Student Reviews
ABC Sunday Live, 25th April 2010
David Pereira (cello) and Timothy Young (piano)
Australian National University, Llewellyn Hall, Canberra
Hindson – Jungle Fever
Pereira – Lullaby for Ivana
Rachmaninov – Cello Sonata in G Minor
ANU School of Music Student Reviews:
Sunday Live! Brought Canberra Alive
Review by Alexandra Barry
Sunday’s concert of the immensely popular ABC Live! Concert series was the last but by no means least of the Canberra series, featuring highly acclaimed artists Timothy Young on piano and Canberra’s own David Pereira on cello. Broadcast from the Australian National University’s Llewellyn Hall, the repertoire featured the technically challenging Sonata in G minor for Piano and Cello by Sergei Rachmaninoff, Jungle Fever by Australian composer Matthew Hindson, and David Pereira’s 2009 composition Lullaby for Yvana.
From the opening chords of Jungle Fever, Young and Pereira demonstrated a well established, seamless and intuitive relationship, featuring a great balance and energy between their playing. Young brought out a striking array of colours within the piano’s sonority. Whilst it was superbly played, one might wonder if the composer could have worked a few more ideas into the composition, rather than just featuring a few themes with some variations -the overall effect was repetitive and there was a feeling of wanting something more.
Lullaby for Yvana was written by David Pereira after the birth of his third daughter, and is dedicated to her. Said David of his composition, “It is nice to write something for someone you love. I am not an expert on composition, but it was easy because it was from the heart.” One could sense that it was a message of hope and love for Pereira’s youngest child, so impassioned was Pereira’s performance. The very softest notes could be heard with spectacular clarity throughout the immense concert hall, and the overall effect was spellbinding.
Their interpretation of Rachmaninoff’s Sonata was liquid gold for the audience, who sat enthralled throughout its entity. The Sonata showcased Pereira and Young’s masterful control and manipulation of their entire performance space, with an emotional intensity and passion for their music, which was clearly communicated and mutually shared with their audience. The technical demands of the work seemed to be nothing for both performers, who navigated the fast passages with an ease that is not often seen.
The success of this concert, and overall concert series, clearly demonstrated the huge potential that Canberra has to become a leader for performing arts. Llewellyn Hall was filled to near capacity with young and old alike, which leaves one wondering why, with world-class performers at our fingertips and a huge demand for the arts, can’t we have more?
This was the final of four ABC concerts broadcast live from Llewellyn Hall in April, and I willed, as I listened to the opening strains of Hindson’s Jungle Fever,that the technicians did not experience the gremlins of the previous week when the first minute of the program did not go to air. When it became obvious that the only creative highlight of Hindson’s work occurs in the first twenty bars, I really hoped the staff had this time got it right. Pereira’s clever evocations of exotic animals and tribes were relentlessly drowned by the pounding piano, cannibalising every futile attempt by Pereira to fulfil the composer’s intent.
It was almost a relief then to hear Pereira’s Lullaby for Ivana, written for the birth of his third daughter. Pereira claims to be an inexperienced composer, yet his intimate knowledge of the instrument and familial ties with the subject resulted in a satisfying work that had me a watching a private moment between father and child. The haunting music was reminiscent of a melancholy Vaughan Williams, leaving me with a lump in my throat. He was delicately complemented by Young, who, having finally mastered the responsiveness of the piano was making it sound like the harp for which the accompaniment was originally intended.
Pereira is the patron of the ACT Mental Health Foundation, and it was not lost on me that his final selection, Rachmaninov’s Cello Sonata in G Minor, was written at a time when the composer had recovered from a long period of depression. Pereira’s effortless playing seemed at times nonchalant, and I found myself drawn instead to the astonishing ability of Young who played the fiendishly difficult score with such an innate sense of lyricism and style that I almost forgot there was a cellist on the stage.
If ever there should be a work called Jungle Fever, it should be the second movement of the Rachmaninov, yet the alternating menace and passion of Pereira’s playing was not personified in his body language. I felt cut-off from his performance and closed my eyes. Suddenly I was transported into Pereira’s world. The power of music to express what is difficult through physical or verbal means became overwhelmingly apparent. By the fourth movement I was a convert, as too I think, was Pereira. His music, at the same time both majestic and insular, left me wanting for more.
On Sunday the 25th of April, Canberra gathered to watch a unique display of musical talent at the Australian National University’s Llewellyn Hall. The concert’s four main featured works included a diversity of technique and repertoire, leaving the audience with a contrasting yet complete program. Featured performers included David Pereira on the cello and Timothy Young on the piano. Reputations were proceeded, expectations fulfilled, and wallets untouched at this free concert to the public.
David Pereira’s compositional skills were brought to the table with the execution of Lullaby for Yvana. Composed upon the birth of his third child, the improvised melodic line of the cello was framed by spacious piano accompaniment. It was clear that the piece was without definite pulse. However, the interaction of the two instruments was not immediately indicative of this. Rather they portrayed a perfect balance of ying and yang, working together in one fluent motion. Despite some of the seeming twentieth century musical elements of this piece, it featured a traditional harmonic framework. With these elements in mind, it was concluded by some that the title Lullaby was a positive element of the unconventional.
Another highlight of the afternoon was the concluding presentation of Rachmaninov’s Sonata in G minor Op. 19. The piece itself translated well in the performance space. Dynamic execution and build up of emotional intensity were concrete highlights of the piece. A better acoustic balance from the Llewellyn Hall setting would have only enhanced this. The supreme contrast of the fantastically limpid piano to the soulful cello offered a significantly impressive tribute to Rachmaninov’s work.
Matthew Hindson’s Jungle Fever was another performance, which intrigued onlookers through the lively movement of David and Timothy. The vast range used in both instruments required strong physical and mental dedication from the performers. Whilst they triumphed in the end, the piece could be perceived to have been a mere time filler in comparison to the great execution of Sonata in G minor Op. 19 and Lullaby for Yvana.
Night Spell by Alicia Grant was omitted from the program on the day. Regardless, the show went on without a hitch.
Overall the ambiance was one worth embracing. The musicians displayed commitment, talent and emotion through their work, which was a joy to watch. Essentially the program was broad, yet the contrast maintained interest by all. A worthwhile experience.
On Sunday 25th April David Pereira (Cello) accompanied by Timothy Young (Piano) performed before a crowded Llewellyn Hall at ANU School of Music Canberra. Each piece showcased the versatility of Pereira as a performer and exhibited his compositional talents as well.
The opening piece Jungle Fever composed by Matthew Hindson was an honest performance expressing the true intention for which it was composed. The recurring melodic lines were distinctly articulated through Pereira's expressive tone exploring the repetitive delirium associated with tropical diseases. Pereira elevated the musical dimension conveying such messages through his interpretation and performance of Hindson's piece. The contrasts in rhythmic variation and sounds produced simultaneously between piano and cello highlight the versatility of Pereira's technique and add another dimension to the performance for the audience.
The following piece Lullaby for Yvana composed by Pereira himself expressed his love for his daughter through lyrical melodic lines with an improvised like style. The minimal piano accompaniment highlighted the clear tone of the cello and provided a tangential insight into his love for his daughter Yvana. Pereira explored the adaptability of the cello and the prolific colours and tones that can be produced. Pereira's stage presence captivated the audience who were mesmerised by his eloquentness as many sat forward in their seat to witness his expression of love that seemed almost infectious . This heartfelt piece was again a true reflection of the composer’s intention.
Finishing with the technically challenging Rachmaninov Sonata in G minor, Op 19 seemed an unusual choice to complete the performance as it is often referred to as a piano sonata with a cello accompaniment. The piano was more dominant in this performance and often over shadowed the cello. Pereira however still successfully conveyed the passionate and beautiful themes throughout the piece. Pereira and Young worked together spectacularly throughout this piece particularly during times of the cello taking on the accompaniment role.
Pereira’s performance was diverse and interesting exhibiting his versatility and technique on the cello. The multifariousness of the cello was exhibited successfully by Pereira and encompassed all aspects of each piece that was performed. This was a successful and passionate performance as the last of the ABC Classic FM Sunday Live series.
On Anzac Day, 25 April 2010, Cellist David Pereira and Pianist Timothy Young performed an entertaining Sunday Live concert for ABC Classic FM at Canberra's recently refurbished Llewelyn Hall. It was a brilliant and delightful afternoon of music that focussed heavily on the virtuosic talent of Pereira.
What stood out for me the most during the hour long performance was how much fun the two performers seemed to be having, it sincerely sounded like they were having a fantastic time on stage.
Pereira and Young’s hour long recital consisted of Australian composer Matthew Hinson’s Jungle Fever, Pereira’s own composition Lullaby for Yvana and Rachmaninov’s Sonata in G minor, Op 19.
From the opening piano chord of Matthew Hinson’s Jungle Fever, I was immediately drawn in. This piece was a fun highlight of the concert and despite its quite comical title, was an excellent modern and dramatic piece of music. Jungle Fever used many alternative performance techniques for the cello which created a weird and almost foreign atmosphere. It then surged into a beautiful romantic theme with occasional references to the anomalous beginning.
The next piece was Lullaby for Yvana, which Pereira composed for his third daughter. Before performing this beautiful work, Pereira told the audience a little about the piece and why he composed it. I thought this was really nice and it established a good connection with the audience. He seemed very genuine, it felt like you were listening to an old friend. Lullaby for Yvana was a lovely piece and was performed with a lot of limpid emotion. I felt privileged that Pereira was sharing with us a work which obviously means a great deal to him.
Finally the two performed Rachmaninov’s Sonata in G minor, Op 19. This piece was without doubt the centerpiece of the recital. The four movement epic was performed superbly, a perfect interpretation with both performers playing with great emotion.
The huge applause Pereira and Young received at the conclusion of the recital was well deserved after such an intense and long piece! Pereira and Young took myself and the audience on a musical journey, it was impossible to not get lost in this piece
Overall, I found the recital extremely enjoyable. There was a really friendly atmosphere throughout the entire concert, not only with the performers but the audience as well. I look forward to hearing David Pereira’s upcoming concert series that will undoubtably be as entertaining as this was.
Today’s performance offered a celebration of the partnership of cello and piano. No stranger to the stage of Llewellyn Hall, David Pereira respectfully demonstrated exactly why he is regarded as one of Australia’s leading cellists. The duo’s performance of Pereira’s own composition, Lullaby for Yvana, was a distinct highlight. Dedicated to Pereira’s daughter Yvana, the mesmerising melodies of this work were certain to have melted even the harshest of critics.
Complimenting Pereira’s playing was his antique instrument. Kindly on loan from the Holmes family, Pereira was performing on a Guidantus Cello from around 1730. This was a rare treat in itself as this particular brand of cello is considered one of the finest, and is exceptionally difficult to come across. Pereira took command of the instrument providing a technically sound and seemingly effortless performance.
Timothy Young’s performance should be in no way overlooked. Young’s technical abilities on the piano are to be envied by all. This is not the first time the duo have performed together and their experience and knowledge of each other’s playing was greatly evident in today’s performance. Young travelled from Melbourne to perform with Pereira for this special event and it was well worth it to see this team unite once again.
Rachmaninov’s Sonata in G minor provided a refreshing conclusion to the concert. Pereira and Young performed all four movements of the work with meticulous character and conviction. The limpid expression throughout the third movement was particularly beautiful. Host of the concert, John Crawford, was undoubtedly justified in introducing the Sonata as “a work to get lost in”. Both musicians demonstrated extensive attention to detail throughout the entire piece providing an engaging performance from beginning to end. A fitting finally for an exceptional concert.
While there is nothing like experiencing a performance live in a professional venue, the ABC Live concerts are specifically aimed at broadcasting a performance over ABC radio on a regular basis. On this note credit must be given to the sound engineer, Christian Hoff-Johnston. Having listened back over the radio broadcast after the completion of the concert, I was pleasantly surprised by the superior sound quality. Aside from the occasional cough from an audience member, the performance could almost be passed as a recording over the crystal-clear digital radio. Overall, an extremely satisfying way to spend a Sunday afternoon.
A very lively start for a concert on Sunday afternoon in Llewellyn Hall, staring David Pereira (cello) and Timothy Young (piano), with Mathew Hindsons Jungle Fever. The work went beyond the limits of both instruments with glissandos and the extremes of both the instruments ranges of pitch. Both parts interlocked beautifully with the piano being heard when needed and not overpowering the delicate sound of the cello.
The next work on the programme was by David Pereira himself. Lullaby for Yvana was dedicated to his third daughter Yvana, who was born last year. David said, “Although I’m not a very experienced composer, it seemed quite easy to write from the heart.” This quote is very much correct upon hearing it. The work was based on a five-minute improvisation that he then notated and is nicely written. Lullaby for Yvana is very contrasting to the previous work however, sometimes it did not feel like a typical lullaby that we might sing or hum our children asleep with. Originally, the work was written for cello and harp. In this performance, Timothy Young places a lovely collaboration on the piano instead of the harp and accompanies the cello superbly.
The final work in the programme was Rachmaninov’s Sonata in G minor, Op 19. A nice variety of tone colours helped create the mood of each movement without over doing it. There was a very moving first movement with great use of interplay between both instruments giving both of the performers a chance to shine in the spotlight. The second movement was very lively and full of energy from the start and caught the attention of the audience. Again a beautifully played third movement with a perfect sense of phrasing and solid use of musicianship. The final movement returned us to more energetic playing creating a perfect finish to the concert.
The days have gone of the boring classical music in a concert hall. This concert was simply exciting and superb. I’m sure David Pereira’s next concert in his Cello Series will have a very high expectation.
Review by Kate Hosking
As I tethered my bike outside ANU's Llewelyn Hall for Canberra’s final hosting of ABC's Sunday live, it was abuzz with the arrival of the blue rinse brigade. As I entered the hall, it was great to see families taking seats down near the stage. As an afternoon of free local music, the community atmosphere was welcoming. Musicians of the day were the local darling of the cello, David Pereira and Timothy Young, a pianist with a wealth of experience here and abroad.
The repertoire was to consist of three pieces by Australian composers and Rachmaninov's Sonata in G minor. I had been looking forward to the piece, Night spell by Alicia Grant, a young Australian female composer. In the eternal quest to balance the gender scales, it was great to see her work included in the repertoire. Unfortunately it was dropped due to a lack of time. However it will be heard as a part of the Aurora festival in early May.
Pereira and Young performed with a sensitive connection to each other and their instruments, particularly in the two Australian compositions. These local pieces, Jungle fever by Matthew Hindson and Lullaby for Yvana by Pereira, called for an obvious support role from the piano. Young was attentive to Pereira’s graceful cues. The delirium of the fever and the freedom of the new born as represented by these pieces created complimentary soundscapes.
As the composer himself called for, the Rachmaninov was not a cello sonata but one for piano and cello. It was here that Young sprouted wings. The technical requirements, the pace and the length, 30 minutes, meant a change in focus and output of energy from our musical hosts. I found it difficult to stay in the story perhaps due to the length. The previous pieces had been around ten minutes each. Perhaps it was because I lost some of Pereira to the task at hand. Such a piece calls for this focus.
Despite the grand stage and the fact that this was a live national broadcast, Pereira was there for us, the community, in the hall. He appears to be a humble man. I like that in our musicians. They are but members of our community. He and Young showed that diligence with technique and knowledge of past works opens us up to what exists today and provides a wide base for expressive communication.
ABC's Sunday Live series produced yet another sizeable gaggle of music lovers for what is now firmly embedded in the conservative Canberran psyche as quite the Sunday constitutional. Due to Classic FM's one hour time restriction, omitted from the original program was Alicia Grant's Night Spell, and remaining was Matthew Hindson's Jungle Fever, David Pereira's Lullaby for Yvana and Rachmaninov's Sonata in G minor, opus 19.
Accompanying the ever poised Pereira was none other than the rock-solid sensitive touch of Timothy Young. Acclaimed equally for his ability to collaborate as with his creative individuality, Young matched Pereir's eloquence with his own style of precision.
Jungle Fever begins as a fairly capricious piece punctuated by an array of 'extended' effects and erratic motifs by the cello. Although Pereira rarely moves unnecessarily his joy for the precise articulations is obvious. The piano sets a sparse harmonic landscape for what eventually turns into something more regular and constant. Although it is easy to dwell in this piece it does lack the compositional substance or the structural development to justify seven minutes. There are many logical places where the piece could finish earlier without causing offence. It did however set the air thick with a deep and focused sense of contemplation for what was about to follow.
Lullaby for Yvana is a piece composed by Pereira for his third daughter and was most definitely a highlight. Pereira begins bowing sweetly and freely, sustaining the one note and robbing the time signatures of all their authority. With Young once again offering a fairly sparse harmonic backdrop, but this time with weight and more depth, Pereira builds us up without overstatement and then gently collapses us like sunlight at dusk – a truly beautiful gesture.
And then down to the woods we go with the echoes of his Concerto No. 2, Rachmaninov's Sonata in G minor.No teddy bear's picnic to play, Young fluently negotiates a landmine and Pereira simply glides, both with a measured blend of powerful dexterity and humble sensitivity. Whether you are lucky enough to hear him play or just lucky enough to speak with him, David Pereira peruses a conversation characterised by eloquence and sincere generosity. And it is in this spirit of giving that he combines the truth and playfulness of a child with the restraint of a true master – always a joy.
Upon entering Llewellyn Hall, you are confronted with a solitary piano, chair and a music stand awaiting your full attention. It takes the mastery of David Pereira (cello) and Timothy Young (piano) to hold that interest and take you on a journey worthy of the utterly fantastical.
The program originally consisted of four pieces for cello and piano, with Alicia Grant’s Night Spell being pulled due to airing and timing issues.
The pieces played at this ABC Sunday Live Concert were diverse, each portraying something different: be it emotion, technique, fun or a combination thereof. The concert encompassed everything from the playful through to the foreboding.
Matthew Hindson’s Jungle Fever was first, and amidst the sliding notes and changing of tonality of the cello were the flagrant bashings of the piano. A stark contrast if ever there was one. The full range of both instruments were used to their maximum advantage, animating the performers.
David Pereira then showed his compositional skills playing Lullaby for Yvana, composed in celebration of his third daughter’s birth last year. He described it as ‘not being like a traditional lullaby’. Listening, it had all the ideas of a lullaby without the sickly sweet overpowering words to turn you off. Changes of register were capitalised and immediate, flowing on without losing any of the emotion or intimacy of what was being conveyed. Initially composed in free time, the two performers were able to convey this piece as though it was nothing more than a placid coffee conversation.
Following two very involving pieces Rachmaninov’s Sonata in G minor, Opus 19 lived up to the high standard already set and pushed it a little further. Rachmaninov preferred the title Sonata in G minor for Piano and Cello, and from this performance you can certainly see why. David and Timothy were worthy masters, yielding the piece to their whims, moulding it into music that overwhelmed consciousness, that facilitated the imagination to transport you somewhere else. The composition was milked for all its entertainment value, diminishing from loud into nothing, moving seamlessly between melodic lines and landing you back in the music you previously left behind.
Both performers held the audience’s attention till the dying notes of the piece had all but vanished. Engaging to the last second. If you have an active imagination, this concert would be the soundtrack.
The atmosphere was electric inside Lleweyn Hall as David Pereira and Timothy Young took their seats before a silent, expectant audience. Broadcast across Australia for ABC’s Sunday Live, the concert showcased a distinct collection of works for cello and piano, ranging from Russian romanticism to contemporary Australian. Unfortunately, Alicia Grant’s Night Spell was cancelled from the program. David had posted on his website that Matthew Hindson’s Lament would take it’s place, although there was no mention of this and the piece was not included.
Beginning with Matthew Hindson’s Jungle Fever, David’s quirky glissandos and great use of colour immediately captivated the audience, and despite a tentative beginning he relaxed into a rich and expressive tone. This piece provided an excellent opportunity for both performers to display their amazing ensemble skills. David’s phrasing was impeccable and the way Timothy managed to push and pull together with David was very impressive.
Although an exciting piece, Jungle Fever was overshadowed by Rachmaninov’s Sonata in G minor. David’s former teacher John Painter is renowned for his interpretation of Rachmaninov. This performance made clear that the baton has been passed on.
From the very beginning of the first movement David played with a rich, full tone. The piano part was beautiful, yet sometimes a little soft and unclear in the larger sections. Timothy exhibited flawless technique throughout the second movement, which gained momentum as communication between the two players improved.
As Timothy opened the third movement, David set the mood by closing his eyes and leaning back in his chair. The playing was breathtaking and highly expressive. Particularly inspiring was David’s interpretation of the delicate upper register melodies. The fourth movement started with a bang and continued to impress through beautifully constructed sonorous melodic lines. The Rachmaninov was a definite standout, it was a magnificent interpretation showcasing expert musicianship and emotional depth.
Included in the program was one of David’s own compositions titled Lullaby for Yvana. The piece had an improvisatory, oriental feel and was without a definite pulse. Although lovely in parts, the continuous melodic line became a little tiresome towards the end.
David and Timothy performed an entertaining, emotionally rich collection of works, revealing their exceptional ensemble and virtuosic abilities. As I’m sure is the wish of most performers, the audience was left wanting more...perhaps next time, they may be gratified.
Sunday’s ABC Live broadcast from Llewellyn Hall witnessed the much-loved Australian cellist David Pereira teaming up with Timothy Young, resident pianist at the Australian National Academy of Music.
The program, a curious assortment of seemingly unrelated works, commenced with Sydney composer Matthew Hindson’s 1998 Jungle Fever. This work borrows heavily from ‘popular’ music genres. Indeed, there were moments in when one could have been forgiven for glancing around in anticipation of an entrance by Delta Goodrem singing one of her pop ballads over the flowing piano arpeggiated harmonies. Hindson’s initial inspiration was a techno sub-genre known as ‘jungle’ music. The opening of this Jungle Fever, however, had no trace of delirium about it whatever- Pereira and Young enjoying a sparse and focused sound. Indeed, feverish emotion was at most hinted at, the supposed delirium instead appearing to be evocative of a gentle happiness within its ‘sufferer’. Both players enjoyed the relatively simple tunes immensely, and Hindson’s treatment of the melody was certainly creative and highly accessible to the audience.
Pereira’s own work, largely improvised, took us to a far more concentrated emotional realm as he played to his youngest daughter in ‘Lullaby for Yvana’. The lyrical cello line soared with love and tenderness, and yet the timbre was laced with a deliberate strain achieved by playing in a high register. Pereira’s tone was thus expressive both of great joy and of raw parental anxiety. Young provided sparse accompaniment to Pereira’s wish for Yvana’s happiness, until the two players met in a section of unison melody that was beautifully understated and delicate.
The afternoon ended in a grand flourish with Rachmaninov’s Sonata in G minor, Op. 19. Timothy Young’s remarkable talent was displayed in an exquisite control of the many character changes within this work, transitioning between sections with such conviction that an overall continuity was maintained. Sections of strong emotion and melodic lyricism were particularly well handled by Pereira, and the ensemble enjoyed a perfectly matched intention of unison phrasing. Perhaps unable to let go of the previous work’s love-centred emotional focus, the players seemed reluctant to embrace the harsher and more brilliant virtuosity of the second and fourth movements. However, this did spin a connecting emotional thread between the Rachmaninov and the Lullaby. Likewise, the child-like simplicity of the slapdash Jungle Fever could be seen as an opening to the parental love explored by Pereira’s Lullaby.
16th Canberra International Music Festival
14 - 23 May 2010
Various Venues and Concerts
ANU School of Music Student Reviews:
Golden time for a Golden Festival
The Canberra International Music Festival is off to a winning start, writes Alexandra Barry.
In the crisp, bright, golden sunlight of Saturday afternoon, the bells of the Carillion chimed across Lake Burley Griffin, rustling the golden autumn leaves from their branches and announcing the return of the Canberra International Music Festival, now in its 16th year.
The theme for the Festival this year is ‘Gold’, and such a theme is well justified by the Festival’s Artistic Director, Chris Latham. “We are experiencing a time of re-examination of what represents ‘real value’ having witnessed the collapse of the “imaginary” economy, and in a time notable also for the flight of investors from the financial markets towards the purchase of Gold, something which seems to represent true and permanent value. We believe that the Arts similarly represent true long term value to society, and to underline the point the 2010 Canberra International Music Festival program is constructed around works that relate to gold.”
The twenty-nine concerts of the ten-day Festival are held in different venues across Canberra, including Llewellyn Hall, the Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture, and the Fitter’s Workshop in Kingston. Many of the pieces of the Festival program were selected for their relationship to gold in an aesthetic, synaesthetic or symbolic way.
Canberra audiences have responded with a huge degree of enthusiasm to the return of the Festival, judging by the standing-room only crowds at both the Gala and Myrrh concerts, on Friday and Sunday nights respectively, with many audience members donning a gold accessory here or there to enhance the Festival’s theme.
In just the opening weekend of the Festival, Latham has already given concert-goers golden gifts of musical works.
A feature of the Opening Gala concert, held at St Christopher’s Cathedral, was J.S. Bach’s Easter Oratorio, a work of opulence and richness, which is rarely performed within Australian concert settings. Just over half an hour in length, the work featured stunning oboe and flute obligatos performed by Thomas Indermuhle and Virginia Taylor. Other highlights were the efforts of the Combined Canberra Choir, who sprang to attention from various positions among the audience during the performance of Handel’s Zadok the Priest, delivering not only a superb performance but quite a shock to many of the ‘civilian’ audience members.
The Festival features 16 world and Australian premieres, including the stunning Australian premiere of Einojuhani Rautaavara’s The Gift of the Magi on Saturday night, which centres around a golden watch.
The Canberra International Music Festival continues until 23 May, and tickets are available through Canberra Ticketing, or the Festivals website, http://www.cimf.org.au
Currently underway this month is the 16th Canberra International Music Festival, running from the 14-23 May, a festival of ‘golden’ music showcasing local and international artists. The festival is exhibiting music that has endured centuries and presents lasting impressions and long term values to society similar to that of gold. This underlying point presented by Artistic Director Chris Latham from Pro Musica is portrayed through the universal symbols of love, marriage, purity, malleability and transcendence that are experienced by the audience through the music.
The festival is showcasing many Australian premiere performances, one being the John Tavener piece The Veil of the Temple that was performed during Concert 10; Myrrh. Concert 10 showcased ‘monumental works for a hundred voices and brass’ in The Fitter’s Workshop, providing an ambience of golden sound through the amazing acoustics the building has to offer. The experience heightened by The positioning of extra choir members towards the back of the building behind the audience. The captivating experience received a standing ovation as the choir members exited the building in procession while completing the final bars of the piece. The movement of musicians and choir members was well executed and did not disrupt the enthralled audience.
The Canberra Times Opening Gala Concert was held in St Christopher’s, Manuka and provided an unexpected surprise for all of those that attended. After the procession of singers down the centre aisle during the beginning of Handel’s Zadok the Priest, a furtively scattered choir stood from among the audience creating a majestic wall of sound, and at the same time creating a talking point or more appropriately whispers amongst the audience in attendance. Although entertaining, slight confusion was created as many audience members thought they too were intended to stand. Due to the popular nature of the concert and the large turnout, many had an obstructed view and were unable to see acts that were part of the performance, resulting in an isolated and disengaged audience.
The festival is a great opportunity to showcase local talent especially through the use of ANU students in addition to international artists such as the New Purple Forbidden City Orchestra. All performances successfully tied in with the theme of ‘gold’, from golden sounds to pieces that represented royalty, a symbolism of gold. The festival concludes on 23 May at the completion of an array of twenty four golden concerts.
Canberra Times Opening Gala, Fri 14th St Christopher’s
Concert 6: The Gift of the Magi, Sat 15th Llewellyn Hall
Concert 10: Myrrh, Sun 16th Fitter’s Workshop
An annual event since 1997 and increasingly popular, the Canberra International Music Festival, now twenty-three concerts over nine days, opened on Friday at St Christopher’s Church, Manuka. The church’s golden lights were a beacon enticing entry from the cold. Artistic director Chris Latham has named ‘Gold’ as the prevailing theme. Representative of true and lasting quality, gold is a substance that transcends fluctuating human desires and historical contingencies.
The Canberra Times Opening Gala thus presented ‘golden masterpieces’, Handel’s Zadok the Priest and Bach’s Easter Oratorio. Canberra choir members interspersed amongst the audience bursting into song at the choral entrance of the Handel made for a wonderful start. Andrew Lawrence-King and his Harp Consort (‘The Harp of Gold’!) then entertained us with music from ‘a golden era’, Turlough O’Carolan’s 17th century Ireland. Elena Kats-Chernin’s traditional festival opener, originally a brass fanfare, was presented as a jazz arrangement by the ANU Head of Trumpet studies, Miroslav Bukovsky. No talk of gold trumpets here, however, the audience was treated to an early interval when the power box refused to accommodate the keyboard.
Latham has put together a program of cultural diversity. Finland was represented with an entire program of Einojuhani Rautavaara on Saturday the 15th in Llewellyn Hall. An English realization of his television opera, The Gift of the Magi, showcased the phenomenal talent being developed at ANU’s School of Music, exemplified in the work of Sonia Antiloff and Ben Connor. Timothy Young’s rendition of the Piano Sonata No. 2, The Fire Sermon, was irrefutable evidence that ‘Australia’s got talent’.
This sentiment was reinforced by the two epic choral works, Ross Edwards’ Eternity and John Tavener’s The Veil of the Temple, in the ‘Myrrh’ concert the following Sunday. Performing these works under the direction of Belgian conductor Roland Peelman were the joint forces of numerous Canberra choirs, the Australian Song Company and the Canberra Camerata instrumentalists. Their combined brilliant sound proved too great a force for Kingston’s Fitter’s Workshop, the Tavener suffering immensely for not having a suitably dryer acoustic, with the audience forced to endure the crashing of a gong at close distance.
The resounding message here is clear: Canberra has the talent, and the vision, to put on a ripping good festival and the Festival deserves the kind of international pull to truly call itself thus. But when, oh when, will appropriately suitable venues be built?
GOLD for the CIMF
Gold presents the idea of purity, excellence, transcendence, love and warmth, and for the Canberra International Music Festival this appears to be so. Two weeks of musical endeavours follow this premise.
The CIMF has been an annual event since 1997. It utilises a variety of venues and local and international performers to present a diverse range of musical and artistic experiences.
Artistic Director Chris Latham presents the idea that music and architecture are the gold of the arts – they will endure time.
The theme of gold is a criticism at the economic status of the world, commenting on the fact that more people are investing in a stable form of wealth.
It then begs the question, are the performances of the CIMF gold? Based upon three evening concerts attended, mixed conclusions can be drawn.
Myrrh was staged at the Fitters Workshop on Sunday 16th with two pieces; Ross Edwards Eternity and John Tavener The Veil of the Temple. Both compositions used choir, brass, organ and percussion.
Edwards’ piece grew from individual voices sounding notes to a wall of sound, persuading the progression of noise to shift between that of definable chords to clusters of notes. This was offset with light hues changing between the warm colours.
Tavener’s piece was an Australian Premiere, and rose to the occasion. It conjured up images associated with the sacred nature of religion. Choirs were located both inside and outside the venue; acoustically a great use of the performance space.
The World Premiere of the English translation of Einojuhani Rautavaara The Gift of the Magi, at Llewellyn Hall on Saturday, being touching in nature, was severely lacking. It was clearly evident that the singers were competing with the on-stage orchestra; the singers needed to be amplified.
The partial redemption that night was the prior three performances of other works by composer Einojuhani Rautavaara.
The Canberra Times Opening Gala Gold at St Christopher’s in Manuka on Friday 14th had the greatest diversity in musical range, stemming from medieval to modern jazz.
Entertaining in thought, but disappointing in actuality – the orchestra was positioned too low and the brass had to work too hard to keep quiet. Audience capacity seemed to not be considered and viewing ability was limited; performers were at the eye level of the audience.
Performances of the CIMF; some deserve the title of gold, some you would categorise as silver.
In its 16th year, the Canberra International Music Festival (CIMF) opened its petals this weekend in a variety of venues around town. With 'Gold' as this years theme, the festival is show casing the 'excellence and purity' of composers past and present.
In the 24 concerts over 10 days (plus a number of free events), the program is weighted heavily with local musicians. Many are connected with Australian National University. The composers are varied with some concerts offering an interesting mix and others dedicated to one specific composer. Of the living composers, at least eight different countries are represented.
A regular of the festival is Australian- Russian composer Elena Kats- Chernin. Her contribution this year included two premiere performances over the weekend. One was the jazz version of Beaver blaze. The other was a very effective first composition 'Ragged Bells' for the carillon, commissioned by local carillonist Lyn Fuller. This piece was a part of a free concert at the National Carillon.
Another theme for this year is the human voice. It featured heavily this weekend and looks like a big week for Canberra's 'Song company'. With architecture being another focal point, there are at least 13 different venues hosting performances. Not all have ideal acoustics or concert viewing potential.
As a journey of discovery, the festival certainly opens one up to the possibilites of Canberra. The variety of performance times and venues cater for the diversity of the community. Sunday's 11am concert by Mal Webb, featuring Tobias Cole was an entertaining and interactive performance. It highlighted that music can be of a high standard yet welcoming and informal. Or as our announcer so interestingly commented, Webb's appearance ensured that at least one festival concert was 'fun'.
'Fun' is in the attitude of the participant. With offerings like free drumming workshops and the oppotunity to sit in on open rehearsals CIMF is blurring the lines of traditional protocol in the classical context. There are plenty of moments to execute silence between movements. If this intimidates you, there is still no excuse to avoid exposure to some element of this festival. The time schedule, the venue locations, ticket pricing and the actual offerings are varied. The program guide does not offer a lot of background information however we have wonderful libraries here in Canberra and there is always 'google'. Information is gold. Experience is priceless.
The 14th of May saw the opening of the highly anticipated 16th Canberra International Music Festival. From classical Chinese music, to Bach, to contemporary Australian works, the festival has an eclectic mix of music to be heard over an intensely concentrated nine day period.
The theme of this year’s festival was that of Golden music. Artistic director Chris Latham put forward the idea that “the creative arts are like gold, representing true and lasting value”. The program is a selection of proposed golden masterworks from the past, and golden treasures of today.
For a nine day festival, the diversity and volume of the concerts is highly ambitious, comprising 28 concerts in 13 different performance spaces around the ACT. This variety of venues showcases the city of Canberra in a new and exciting way, whilst imbuing each concert with its own specific atmosphere.
The popularity of the festival close to overwhelmed St Christopher’s Church, Manuka, as the ‘Opening Gala Gold’ concert saw many audience members on their feet for the first half. While waiting in the line the excitement was infectious. Audience members jogged towards the Church talking of delayed flights, while others just made it in time after the long drive from Melbourne. The venue was remarkable and the ambience inside the church was animated. An uplifting and surprising moment came as 100 voices enveloped the audience, with members of the choir rising from the pews to join those already on stage. This powerful affect kicked the festival off with a bang.
One of the highlights of the weekend was ‘Myrrh’, performed in the amazing Fitter’s Workshop, Kingston. Saturated by the intense aroma of burning myrrh, we again saw singers and instruments spread throughout the venue. This created a stunning acoustic affect for Ross Edwards’ ethereal and aptly named Eternity. The Australian premiere of John Tavener’s The Veil of the Temple was enthralling, enhanced by the venue’s amazing acoustics and by the fantastic soprano soloist Louise Page.
Another standout was Rautavaraa’s Piano Sonata no 2, performed by the immensely talented Timothy Young for the ‘Gift of the Magi’ concert in Llewelyn Hall.
Occasionally, the overstatement of the theme caused Gold to lose its lustre. Whether each and every work represents true and lasting value is uncertain, but judging by the tremendous success of the opening weekend, we can already see this year’s Canberra International Music Festival will be one to be remembered.
As part of the Writing For The Musical Profession course, students were asked to contribute articles, music reviews and interviews to an on-line publication. In Semester 2, 2010 leading Australian musical writers Andrew Ford, Vincent Plush and Katherine Kemp are delivering a series of lectures dealing with various topics associated with writing about music.
In our first publication, you will find a diverse range of ideas, topics and styles of writing. From previews of a SoM Opera production to Videoconferencing, from Army musicians to a light-hearted article about parking fines, you will find the reading entertaining and enlightening. Our 2nd publication will be coming out in September.
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Read the first edition of mANUscript
Disclaimer - opinions expressed in the articles and reviews published in manuscript are not the official opinions of the ANU School of Music. They should be regarded as the personal view point of ANU students.
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