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Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences (MAAS): Songlines of our Universe

15 June @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm AEST

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In 2020 William Barton was awarded the Powerhouse Indigenous Cultural Development Residency. The Commissioning Residency took place at the Sydney Observatory, with William’s collaborator musician Veronique Serret. The result of the residency is a new commissioned work, Songlines of our Universe which was inspired by the Sydney Observatory, the Southern Sky and the Powerhouse Museum collection.

For two decades, William Barton has forged a peerless profile as a performer and composer in the classical musical world, from the Philharmonic Orchestras of London and Berlin to historic events at Westminster Abbey for Commonwealth Day 2019, Anzac Cove and the Beijing Olympics. His awards include Winner of Best Original Score for a Mainstage Production at the 2018 Sydney Theatre Awards and Winner of Best Classical Album with ARIA for Birdsong At Dusk in 2012. With his prodigious musicality and the quiet conviction of his Kalkadunga heritage, he has vastly expanded the horizons of the didgeridoo — and the culture and landscape that it represents.

As a featured event of Sydney Solstice, the Powerhouse will present the world premiere of Songlines of our Universe within the grounds of the Sydney Observatory, one of the most significant sites in the nation’s scientific history. The commission is made up of six movements which will be performed live by internationally renowned William Barton and Veronique Serret over four exclusive nights under the stars. The movements include:

  • The Beginning
  • Creation – Breath of Time
  • Milky Way
  • Spirit of the Ancient
  • Sea Shanty
  • Andromeda

Sydney Observatory astronomers will facilitate the viewing of astronomical objects with outdoor telescopes that inspired the commission including the Milky Way and Andromeda. Enjoy a curated winter themed food and beverage offer from leading NSW produce and wine makers to compliment the performance.


15 June
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
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Sydney Observatory
1003 Upper Fort Street
Millers Point, NSW 2000 Australia
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