Multi-award winning composer Andrée Greenwell works diversely across mainstream and experimental platforms within the Australian performing arts, film and television. She’s a leading creator of music theatre in Australia, and a most versatile composer for voice, described by Keith Gallasch as occupying:
‘a special place in the musical culture of Australia. Her distinctive compositions sit uniquely at the nexus of folk, opera, pop, jazz and avant garde trajectories’ (Realtime 53).
As artistic director of Green Room Music, Greenwell creates hybrid works that are composition-led, that bring together elements of film, performance, and diverse music practices. To make these works she regularly brings together unusual instrumentations and combinations of musicians from contemporary classical, popular music, indie, sound art and improvisation scenes.
In 2015 her concert work GOTHIC premiered at Vivid NSW, and is currently being studio recorded at Hercules St Studios, Surrey Hills, mixed by David Trumpmanis.
She worked as co-composer and co-music director with David Bridie on BEHIND THE CANE, commissioned by 2011 Queensland Music Festival artistic director Deborah Conway. BEHIND THE CANE told the story of the blackbirded ASSI community and was performed to over 8,000 people at the shores of Bowen, North Queensland.
Her score to the Bell Shakespeare/Malthouse co-production of VENUS AND ADONIS (2008) won a Green Room Award. Featuring Melissa Madden Gray (Meow Meow) and Susan Prior, VENUS AND ADONIS was performed at Malthouse, Sydney Theatre Company and the Auckland Festival. Excerpts were performed at the Artists Unite Concert, Dame Joan Sutherland Theatre, Sydney Opera House, to raise money for the Victorian bushfires of 2009.
Her music-theatre work DREAMING TRANSPORTATION: Voice Portraits of the First Women of White Settlement at Port Jackson, based upon the verse history Botany Bay Document by Jordie Albiston, was commissioned for the Sydney International Festival of the Arts to critical acclaim, and received a further season at The Playhouse, Sydney Opera House, in 2004. DREAMING TRANSPORTATION was also studio recorded by the ABC Music and Drama Units for various feature programs, one of which went on to win an international prize.
Through her studies at the Australian Film Television and Radio School Andrée directed, produced and composed the video opera clip MEDUSAHEAD: a video opera clip for decapitated soprano and 3D animated snakes starring the soprano Helen Noonan, which toured to many international electronic arts and film festivals. Following the success of MEDUSAHEAD, Andrée established Green Room Music as a platform to develop screen and performance projects. The first of these, LAQUIEM:Tales from the Mourning of the Lac Women, began as a CD based upon the novella by Kathleen Mary Fallon, then became a performance work that played at The Sydney Opera House, which Greenwell later adapted and directed for the screen, with the assistance of the Young Film Makers Fund of the NSW Film and Television Office. The short film LAQUIEM screened at many international film festivals and on SBS.
Andrée received the prestigious biennial NSW Women in Arts Fellowship in 2003. This award allowed her to compose and develop the new music-theatre work The Hanging of Jean Lee, based upon the verse biography by Jordie Albiston, that traces the life of Jean Lee, the last woman to be hanged in Australia, in 1951. The Hanging of Jean Lee premiered at the Sydney Opera House in 2006 and will be released on CD in 2012.
In addition to other residencies, Andrée was artist-in-residence at Chateau de La Napoule, France, 2002, assisted by the award of an Australian Elizabethan Trust Travelling Scholarship. Andrée was Lecturer in Composition at the University of Western Sydney from 1999-2002. She won best Post-Graduate student composition at the University of Wollongong in 2007, the Musicoz Award for Best Classical Composition in 2004 and the Jacobena Angliss Award in 1989.
Andrée Greenwell’s scores for film are expansive in their emotional breadth, without being sentimental. A fan of composers such as Laurie Anderson, Michel Legrand, Nick Cave, Jaques Brel, Angelo Baddalamenti and Morricone, Greenwell manages to update the classic with a contemporary tone, led by distinctively sensuous ear-catching melodies and textures.
Composer website: www.andreegreenwell.com
LAQUIEM: Tales from the Mourning of the Lac Women, for soprano, voice, spoken voice, violin, woodwind, cello, percussion, harp.
Based upon the novella by Kathleen Mary Fallon, premier season at Sydney Opera House, 1997.
Featured in Playlist 9: Marketplace Waves (30/09/2015)