Program note: The Drowners

Originally posted at andrewford.net.au :

Andrew Ford (b. 1957)
The Drowners (2009–15)
songs for baritone, percussion, harmonium, celesta, harp and strings

This sequence of songs began as a commission from the West Australian Symphony Orchestra for a single song for the baritone Teddy Tahu Rhodes. ‘A Dream of Drowning’ was first performed by those forces, conducted by Paul Daniel, on 12 March 2010, but it seemed incomplete, as though it was only the start of something. So I added five more songs to make the present work.

The Drowners was composed for Morgan Pearse to sing with two orchestras – Ruthless Jabiru in London, under their conductor Kelly Lovelady, and Camerata in Brisbane, under Brendan Joyce. The work was funded by a project fellowship from the Australia Council for Continue reading

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The Drowners

Originally posted at Resonate Magazine :

Template 258x173Andrew Ford writes about his work The Drowners for baritone voice and chamber orchestra, about to be premiered in London on 10 March. The same concert by the UK-based Ruthless Jabiru includes a premiere of a work for strings, percussion and tape by Rosalind Page.

In my sequence of songs, The Drowners, a surfer struggles against the rip (or dreams he does); a drowning man is dragged back from the cold North Sea by his wife, as his laughing child watches from the beach; a toddler drowns in a well in the 19th-century colony of Augusta, Western Australia; grieving parents are visited by the wraiths of their drowned children; a man, out of his depth all his life, drowns when he swims ‘too far out’; the King of Naples is believed to lie at the bottom of the sea, his eyes having turned to pearls. You might be forgiven for thinking I have an obsession with drowning.
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Everyone was a bird

Originally posted at Inside Story :

Template 258x173Music | It’s no surprise that Messiaen was a prisoner of war when he first made use of birdsong, writes Andrew Ford

Earlier this year I composed a song cycle for baritone and orchestra [The Drowners] that includes words from a letter by the nineteenth-century West Australian botanist Georgiana Molloy, telling of the drowning of her infant son. For obvious reasons I have been thinking about it again these past few days.

Setting a poem to music is one thing, setting somebody’s letter is another. In this case the diction is rather formal. Georgiana is writing to a man in England she has never met, a collector of plants to whom she sends specimens. She tells him of her child’s drowning in order to explain her tardiness, apologising for presuming on the professional nature of their Continue reading

We the pacific

Originally posted at Kelly Lovelady:

The Pacific as a peace force is a powerful idea for me: an oceanic body named for its energetic flow and Activist potential where others are known only for their territory.

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CCL Slovenia: Meet The Participants

Originally posted at Creative Climate Leadership:

Julie’s Bicycle and PiNA are pleased to announce the participants for our second Creative Climate Leadership course. We have selected 23 leaders from 89 outstanding applications.

Creative Climate Leadership (CCL) is a pan-European programme for artists and cultural professionals exploring the cultural dimensions of climate change. The second CCL international training course will take place near Koper, Slovenia, between 8th-14th October 2017, facilitated by Slovenian-based sustainable development and training NGO PiNA, and Julie’s Bicycle, a London-based charity supporting the creative community to power action on climate change.
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Kelly Lovelady, conductor

Originally posted at Meet the Artist:

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Who or what inspired you to take up conducting and pursue a career in music?
Conducting felt inevitable for me as a teenager: a natural evolution despite my oblivion at the time to everything it would eventually entail! The realisation was unceremonious- not really a dream or desire but a moment of clarity. I was lucky to find my two conducting teachers in the years that followed and both continue to mentor me almost 18 years on.

Who or what have been the most important influences on your musical life and career?
I think my tastes and philosophies are largely the result of producing my own work. When you find yourself responsible for every detail you start to reconsider the possibilities. If your self Continue reading

Michael Cryne: ‘Slipstream’ World Premiere

Originally posted at Composers Edition:

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London-based all-Australian chamber orchestra Ruthless Jabiru will perform Michael Cryne‘s ‘Slipstream’ in its world premiere this Sunday, 9 April 2017, as part of the closing performance of Joy & Dissent: a new festival of cultural Activism at Hackney Showroom. The programme, curated and conducted by the orchestra’s artistic director Kelly Lovelady, aims to call for London’s cultural organisations to go fossil funds free, and point out at the topic of fuel dependency and its ramifications for the soul of our world.

The orchestra’s programmes are devised around existing and commissioned repertoire by today’s composers with a view to promoting sustainability and ethical dialogue, and are dedicated to humanitarian stories. Other works include Julia Wolfe’s Fuel, Cat Hope’s Pure, Lamentation: Homage to Supply Belcher (1750-1836) from Symphony No.14 “Symphony in
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Hackney Showroom festival of cultural activism asks: ‘Can protest be joyful?’

Originally posted at Hackney Gazette:

Template.jpgCo-director of Hackney Showroom, Sam Curtis Lindsay, talks to Zoe Paskett about their second anniversary and a festival celebrating joyful protest.

So far, 2017 has been a year of protest: against Donald Trump, abortion bans, controversial speakers at universities, violence towards women, immigration – whichever side you fall on, the public are more engaged than they have been in recent years.

While some protests have been violent and some peaceful, many people are now trying to figure out how they would like to utilise their freshly galvanised political passion. “Can joy or beauty be ways of protesting rather than everything being painful or angry all the time?” asks Sam Curtis Lindsay.
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On International Women’s Day – Meet Ruthless Jabiru

Originally posted at Artisan Accounts:

Template.jpgAs part of our endeavor to support International Women’s Day we begged some of our most inspiring female clients to contribute a blog, here Kelly Lovelady from the inimitable Ruthless Jabiru explores change and power.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that ye olde worlde of conducting is overwhelmingly male. The pride and prejudice of the orchestral podium is, to collate the many confounded observations I’ve collected over the years, a beaming anomaly even to those with little or no concert-going experience.

Gender biases in so-called “classical” music are ultimately borne of a performance ritual which reveres and respects its own history so deeply that it continues to perpetuate the quirks of concert culture as it stood in its infancy almost 200 years ago.
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From Ruthless Jabiru: Postcards from the New World – Eugene Birman

Originally posted at The Sampler:

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Much like two distant branches of a very large family, Australia and the United States (the latter, in which I grew up) don’t know enough about each other – at least, when it comes to their continually emerging classical music traditions, they don’t. As the British Empire’s more distant outposts, historically speaking, and both defined just as much by their Anglo-Saxon origins as their burgeoning immigrant communities, the two nations’ cultural identities developed in parallel: similar objectives, yet rarely meeting.

The most superficial and common discourse on the nations’ cultural life takes up exactly such questions but rarely discusses the cultural identity of the continents before the arrival of Western Europe colonists, yet it is exactly this “native” identity that is primary in understanding where we – and they – are all going, and where we are coming from. At least, it is these Continue reading