Ruthless Jabiru is to perform with guest artist Lara St. John at the Union Chapel on 14 October, in a programme centred around Maralinga, a work for violin and string orchestra by Australian composer Matthew Hindson.
Hindson’s work will lay at the centre of a concert designed to pay tribute to the Maralinga story through music. Maralinga land in remote South Australia was used for undercover British nuclear testing in the 1950s and 60s, leaving the area heavy with radioactive waste and thousands of Indigenous people and servicemen affected, both British and Australian.
“I wanted to devise a programme connected with the Australian landscape, to complement the Australia exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts,” said conductor Kelly Lovelady, the orchestra’s founding Artistic Director. “Maralinga was inspired by a stretch of desert where one political decision has had tragic repercussions for health, community, and the environment. I’ve chosen a programme to evoke the loss and the chemical strangeness which has become a part of that landscape.”
Maralinga scholar Dr. Liz Tynan described a complex tragedy of secrets, spies, and international relations. “At Maralinga, part of our territory became the most highly contaminated land in the world. It’s time for Maralinga to become part of our national conversation, and the arts is a great medium to do this.”
Ruthless Jabiru will be joined by Canadian violinist Lara St. John, for whom Hindson wrote the solo violin part of Maralinga. St. John has been described as “something of a phenomenon” by The Strad and a “high-powered soloist” by The New York Times. She has performed as soloist with the orchestras of Cleveland, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle, Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, and with the Boston Pops, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, NDR Symphony, Zurich Chamber Orchestra, Camerata Ireland, Amsterdam Symphony, Brazilian Symphony, Sao Paulo Symphony, China Philharmonic, Hong Kong Symphony, Tokyo Symphony, and the orchestras of Brisbane, Adelaide and Auckland, among many others.
Ruthless Jabiru’s performance will also include the UK premieres of works by Australian composer Paul Stanhope and Dublin-based Linda Buckley, as well as cornerstones of the string orchestra repertoire by Arvo Pärt and Samuel Barber.
Ruthless Jabiru and Lara St. John perform Maralinga Lament at the Union Chapel, London at 19:30 on Monday 14 October. Tickets are £16 advance from the Union Chapel online store or £18 at the door.