Ruthless Jabiru: The Past at the Australia Cultural Fund

Ruthless Jabiru’s forthcoming project The Past is now registered with the Australia Cultural Fund, allowing supporters to make tax-deductible donations towards the orchestra’s work. Support is welcome at any level by lodging a donation either online or by cheque, nominating Ruthless Jabiru as the preferred recipient. The Australia Cultural Fund, a subsidiary of Creative Partnerships Australia, has been assisting arts practitioners and bringing tax benefits to donors since 2003, with 100% of donations raised benefiting the registered artists.

Ruthless Jabiru will perform at Kings College London for the Australia & New Zealand Festival of Literature & Arts on 31 May. Booking for the event is now open at the festival website.

Demand attention

Urban portraits by Melbourne artist Adnate will be the face of Ruthless Jabiru’s homage to Oodgeroo Noonuccal at the Australia & New Zealand Festival of Literature & Arts this month in London, an echo of Oodgeroo’s line ‘the past is all around us’. Paying tribute to local indigenous communities has been a theme of his street art for many years and it is with pleasure that we welcome Adnate to the project.

Earlier this year Adnate was commissioned to paint a 23-metre high portrait of an Indigenous boy from the northern suburbs in Melbourne’s city centre. The gaze of the boy is looking directly towards Birrarung Marr, an important Aboriginal site, with the intention to connect the two locations. “Melbourne is a significant site for Indigenous culture and history, particularly the CBD,” he says. “A 23-metre high portrait is a great way to represent and empower.”

Adnate’s solo gallery show Beyond the Lands opened last week at Metro Callery in Melbourne and will run until early June. He is described as having transcended his origins as a graffiti artist, combining close studies of his subjects with skills learned on the street using aerosol and acrylic paints.

Ruthless Jabiru will perform at Kings College London for the Australia & New Zealand Festival of Literature & Arts on 31 May. Booking for the event is now open at the festival website.

Westfield to join Ruthless Jabiru as Associate Sponsor

Global retail giant Westfield is to join Ruthless Jabiru as an Associate Sponsor of the orchestra’s appearance at the Australia & New Zealand Festival of Literature & Arts. As part of a wide entertainment and leisure offer, Westfield is a keen supporter of arts and culture in London, regularly playing host to cultural and musical events at its London centres and supporting both local and international artists. The recently established Westfield Presents platforms further secure the centres as a high profile destination for events and celebrity performances.

Myf Ryan, Director of Marketing for UK & Europe said: “Westfield, as a long term supporter of music and culture in London, is delighted to support Ruthless Jabiru through their performance at the Australia & New Zealand Festival of Literature & Arts. We are also incredibly proud of our support for aspiring and established artists on our Westfield Presents stages and we look forward to welcoming Ruthless Jabiru to that platform.”

Ruthless Jabiru will perform at Kings College London for the Australia & New Zealand Festival of Literature & Arts on 31 May. Booking for the event is now open at the festival website.

Ruthless Jabiru to headline Australia & New Zealand Festival of Literature & Arts

Ruthless Jabiru will be a lead collaborator in the inaugural Australia & New Zealand Festival of Literature & Arts in London next month, performing a programme honouring Australian poet and political activist Oodgeroo Noonuccal on Saturday 31 May.

The programme will centre around The Past, an orchestral song for countertenor by Australian composer Andrew Ford, combining Oodgeroo’s poem of the same name with James Cook’s diaries of his contact with the First Australians. The programme will include Altjiranga Mitjina by Chris Williams, its title translated from the Arrernte language as “the timeless dimension of dreams”; an idea at the heart of Oodgeroo’s poem. The two Australian works will be offset by British music in Neoclassical style by Michael Tippett and Tansy Davies, alongside the world premiere of Sandhi Prakash by Egidija Medekšaité, commissioned by Ruthless Jabiru through the Sound and Music Portfolio scheme. The orchestra will perform in the Grade I listed Chapel at Kings College London, joined by award-winning Australian countertenor Russell Harcourt. Booking for the event is now open at the festival website.

M is for Mentor

We’ve had two Portfolio composer workshops with Ruthless Jabiru now and the three pieces are close to being finished. Each composer has taken their own approach to working with Kelly and the orchestra. Eugene Birman’s piece was more or less ready at the first workshop and so for him the process has been one of refinement. Imago Dei is a piece full of contrast – from flickering clouds of notes, to rich harmonies, to the sounds of the players’ breath – and the challenge is in navigating these contrasts.

Michael Cryne, on the other hand, came to the first workshop with the beginnings of his Slipstream, almost as if he was checking that he was on the right track. He was, and for the second workshop he had a finished score which follows those opening ideas through to an exhilarating conclusion. It’s music which, once the notes are securely under the players’ fingers, is really going to fly.

Somewhere in between these two ways of using the workshop process has been Egidija Medekšaitė. Her piece depicts the transition from day to night and back again and she obviously knew how darkness and light should sound; it was the transitions which benefited from rehearsal, reflection and reworking and now the piece flows beautifully from one state to the other.

For me this whole experience has been hugely enjoyable. The three new works inhabit their very different imaginative domains with complete conviction and part of my role has been to confirm this for the composers. Rehearsing is my favourite part of the whole compositional process and sometimes it feels like it’s useful that I’ve spent a lot of my life listening to musicians working towards realisations of new music. Sometimes things don’t work immediately; maybe they’re misconceived or less than ideally communicated, but often it’s just a matter of being patient, waiting for them to come into focus. For composers there’s an art to being useful in rehearsals; knowing when an intervention might be helpful and when it’s just going to be annoying!

Andrew Ford awarded Australia Council Project Fellowship

Composer Andrew Ford has been announced as the recipient of a Project Fellowship from the Australia Council for the Arts, with the grant to be used towards a collaboration with Ruthless Jabiru. Ford will develop his 2009 work A Dream of Drowning for baritone, string orchestra and percussion into a full length song cycle The Drowners, for premiere by Ruthless Jabiru in 2015.

First Portfolio composer workshop success

Last week the orchestra hosted the first composer workshop of its Sound and Music partnership. The workshop was used to trial embryo pieces by Ruthless Jabiru’s three Portfolio scheme composers: Eugene Birman, Michael Cryne and Egidija Medekšaitė, and was reported by each to have been hugely beneficial. The three works will be further developed through a second workshop in the new year. Photos from the session here.

Ruthless Jabiru to work with Christopher Fox

Ruthless Jabiru is to work with British composer Christopher Fox through the orchestra’s creative partnership with Sound and Music. Fox will join the project as a mentor to Ruthless Jabiru’s three Portfolio scheme composers: Eugene Birman, Michael Cryne, and Egidija Medekšaitė, who will participate in their first workshop with the ensemble this week.

Hailed by The Wire as “a tantalising figure in British music”, Fox has been a longstanding member of the composition faculties at Darmstadt New Music Summer School, University of Huddersfield, and Brunel University, and writes regularly for publications including The Guardian and The Journal of Music.

Sound and Music Portfolio composers announced

Ruthless Jabiru welcomes composers Egidija Medekšaitė, Eugene Birman and Michael Cryne as collaborators on the Sound and Music Portfolio scheme for 2013/14. The three UK-based composers will each write a 5-7 minute work for Ruthless Jabiru, to be premiered within the orchestra’s 2014 programmes. The three pieces will be developed through a series of workshops with the orchestra in the months ahead.

Egidija Medekšaitė (b. 1979) studied composition with Rytis Mažulis at the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre, graduating in 2007. In 2003 she took part in the Programme of Composition and Music Technology in Tampere (Finland). In 2004 she attended master classes across Europe, where she studied with Jonathan Harvey, Philippe Manoury and Martin Matalon. In 2006 she studied at the Stuttgart Academy of Music with Marco Stroppa and Caspar J. Walter. Medekšaitė participates in various interdisciplinary projects, writes music for dance performances and movies, her music is constantly performed in contemporary music festivals in Lithuania and abroad. Currently Medekšaitė is studying PhD in composition at Durham University, supervised by Richard Rinjvos and Sam Hayden. Medekšaitė composes mostly chamber music, often combining acoustic and electronic sound. One of the most important underlying principles in her work is strict organization of all parameters of music, based on some predefined patterns (progressions of pitches or durations, different numerological prodecures, etc). However, Medekšaitė’s music sounds more as a meditative flow than mathematically built structures.

Eugene Birman (b. 1987 – Daugavpils, Latvia,) first prize winner of the Concorso Internazionale di Composizione “Lavagnino 2007” and recipient of the 2013 Young Composers Award from Tenso – the European network for professional chamber choirs, has written for a variety of genres, ensembles and performers, with performances across the United States, Europe, and Asia. His music has been commissioned and performed by ensembles and orchestras such as the Latvian Radio Choir, Eric Ericsons Kammarkör, Juilliard Symphony, Tallinn Chamber Orchestra, and the Milan Conservatory, as well as by soloists Maurizio Ben Omar, Iris Oja, and numerous others. Eugene Birman’s musical language is a sonic extension of the ubiquity of the environment, where silence is paramount both as a moderating force and a source of tension. A former student of John Adams, Samuel Adler, Luis Bacalov, David Conte, Azio Corghi, and Christopher Rouse, Eugene Birman graduated with an M.M. degree from the Juilliard School and a B.A. in Economics from Columbia University.

Michael Cryne lives and works in London as a composer and music director, and is currently pursuing doctoral study under the supervision of Dr. Mark Bowden at Royal Holloway, University of London, having previously studied composition at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Music for the concert platform includes works for solo instruments through to full orchestra, from purely acoustic music through to electro-acoustic work and work for electronics alone. Recent compositional work for the concert hall includes Prism for String Quartet (Winner of the 2012 Molinari String Quartet International Composition Prize) and Hearing Voices for Solo Cello and Electronics. As a music director and composer for the theatre, his portfolio includes full music-theatre works as well as incidental music for several productions. He has an ongoing relationship with the Royal Shakespeare Company and frequently acts as a visiting music director and music supervisor.

Ruthless Jabiru partners with Sound and Music for Portfolio composer opportunity

Ruthless Jabiru is pleased to announce a partnership with Sound and Music, the national agency for New music and sound art in the UK.

The orchestra will collaborate with Sound and Music on its Portfolio scheme, which provides a key development opportunity for emerging composers to create new work with and for some of the UK’s leading ensembles and presenters of new music.

Sound and Music are now accepting applications from UK-based composers for an opportunity to work with Ruthless Jabiru. Participating composers will develop their pieces in two workshops with the orchestra, with public premieres of the works to be given in 2014. The application deadline is noon on 23 July 2013.