“Delicate, dedicated modernism… As ever with this orchestra the performance standards were impressively high, especially given the technical demands of the music.”
The Arts Desk
Ruthless Jabiru is a London chamber orchestra dedicated to New music and humanitarian stories. The ensemble is made up entirely of professional Australian musicians based in the UK and conducted by its founding Artistic Director Kelly Lovelady. Programmes are devised around existing and commissioned repertoire by today’s composers with a view to promoting sustainability and ethical dialogue. The ensemble is held under the official patronage of composer Brett Dean.
Projects have included a tribute to the damaged landscape of Maralinga alongside the Australia exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts, an homage to poet Oodgeroo Noonuccal at the inaugural Australia & New Zealand Festival of Literature & Arts, and a co-production with the Art Not Oil Coalition for Joy & Dissent festival of cultural Activism, calling for London’s cultural organisations to aspire to an oil-free cultural sector.
In 2019 Ruthless Jabiru made its Grimeborn Opera Festival debut with Silk Moth: a fully-staged programme of music by Bushra El-Turk, Liza Lim and Cassandra Miller exploring female dis/empowerment in so-called honour crimes. The production has since been nominated for the 2020 True Honour Awards of the Iranian & Kurdish Women’s Rights Organisation: an annual celebration of individuals and organisations who have taken a stand against ‘honour’-based abuse.
“It was one of the most remarkable musical experiences of my year … demanding that we look and listen. A sincere and sensitive exploration of ethnicity, domesticity and violence.”
Ruthless Jabiru has enjoyed Partnerships with Sound and Music, the national agency for New music and sound art in the UK; and Mighty Bright, providing eco-friendly LED lighting for professional musicians. The orchestra has received project support from the Creative Europe programme of the European Union, Creative Climate Leadership, Kulturno Izobraževalno Društvo PiNA, Julie’s Bicycle, Culture Unstained, The Menzies Centre for Australian Studies, The Australia Council for the Arts, Creative Partnerships Australia, Australian Cultural Fund, Tait Memorial Trust, the West Australian Government in Europe and Australian Business. Ruthless Jabiru is committed to becoming an international leader in Ethical Sponsorship within the creative sector, with opportunities available to join the ensemble on a rolling basis.
Ruthless Jabiru was officially launched in 2011 with a performance named by one reviewer as “the most enjoyable concert” of the City of London Festival. The orchestra has been described by national press as “ebullient and well-balanced” (The Times), “adept at moments of calm stillness” (Classical Source), and as having “much promise” (The Sunday Times) and “a very bright future” (Seen and Heard International).
“Kelly Lovelady is both a cultural ambassador for Australia and a campaigner for recognition for Australian artists abroad… Ruthless Jabiru is a brilliant company.”
Australians perform regularly within the London Symphony Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the BBC Symphony, Concert, Philharmonic and Scottish Orchestras, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Academy of Ancient Music, Royal Opera House Orchestra, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra of Opera North, The Hallé, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Scottish Ensemble, and the City of London Sinfonia, in addition to many more chamber musicians, freelancers and emerging professionals.
Ruthless Jabiru’s founding Artistic Director Kelly Lovelady is an Australian conductor based in the UK and in increasing demand abroad. Kelly has appeared as a Guest Conductor with ensembles across the UK, US, Canada, Europe and Australia and is represented by Polyphony Arts.