ABC Classic FM is bringing emerging Australian composers to the world stage, showcasing their work at next week’s International Rostrum of Composers in Sicily. Three composers, Marcus Whale, Cathy Milliken and Wally Gunn will have their work featured at the annual conference, which brings together broadcasters from around the world to showcase and exchange the best new music.
“This is a great opportunity for Australian composers to build their profiles through wide international radio broadcast,“ said Richard Buckham, Manager of ABC Classic FM. “We’re delighted to be able to promote Australian contemporary music at this global event, and to bring our listeners a harvest of new music from around the world.” The featured works will compete for the opportunity to be broadcast on participating international music networks.
Cathy Milliken who has worked with the likes of György Ligeti, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Pierre Boulez, Heiner Geobbels and Frank Zappa, divides her time between Berlin and Brisbane, where she is adoctoral candidate at Griffith University. Her 2015 work Earth Plays II: Epidauros pays tribute to the sounds of plays and healing ceremonies held at the ancient Greek theatre of Epidauros. The piece was recorded by ABC Classic FM, performed by the Adelaide Symphony Orhcestra, conducted by Ilan Volkov, with Jessica Aszodi singing the solo part.
Markus Whale’s Frontier takes the hymn Jerusalem as its starting point, reimagining and corrupting the melody to call into question the pastoral impulse of European settlers in Australia and their belief that nature was a gift from God. The work for piano and electronics was composed last year and has been recorded by ABC Classic FM with Zubin Kanga as soloist. The composer has also written for Ensemble Offspring, Claire Edwardes, Synergy Percussion, Australia Piano Quartet and The Song Company, and has collaborated with performance artists Ivan Chen and Jess Olivieri.
Wally Gunn, who played in rock bands before studying at Melbourne’s Victorian College of the Arts and moving on to the Manhattan School of Music and Princeton, will have his work work Pinwheel presented. The 2016 piece for trumpet, trombone and electric guitar was recorded by Joel Brennan, Don Immel and Ken Murray.
The International Rostrum of Composers is organised by the International Music Council, with over 30 national radio networks participating. The assembly of delegates will listen to the featured compositions before recommending the most important works in two categories – general and “young composers”. The selected works will be broadcast following the Rostrum by participating radio stations, with tapes, scores and notes deposited at the Music Centre The Netherlands in Amsterdam.