Katy Abbott Kvasnica


Katy Abbott Kvasnica’s music seeks to respond to the situations and environments that she experiences and to share these experiences with her audience through music. Her catalogue is varied including numerous works for orchestras, chamber ensembles and vocal music. Having lived in Malaysia and Dubai, her writing often reflects on concepts of home, place, humour and journeys.

Her works are regularly programmed and recorded. Recent collaborators include Syzygy Ensemble, Greta Bradman, Halcyon, The Song Company and Ensemble Three, HD Duo and Melbourne + Tasmanian Symphony Orchestras. Abbott has released three solo discs in recent years and she is Lecturer in Composition at University of Melbourne, Melbourne Conservatorium of Music.

Composer website:  www.katyabbott.com

Featured Works

Aspects of Dreaming, for voices. Words by Li Po.

Aspects of Dreaming was begun during the first hot day of the summer 2006-07 – the hottest October day for 50 years in Victoria. This event and subsequent bushfires helped fuel the ‘water/drought’ debate, and I imagined the person in the poem as an Australian farmer, thinking of his home, and thinking of, and hoping for, rain.

Aspects of Dreaming is about hope. The title refers to the dream-like state, induced by the farmer’s thoughts and his hopes of rain, hearing rain on the roof, unknowing if he is asleep or awake, and if the rain is real or imagined. The singers are asked to create the sense of rain falling on a tin roof – a very comforting Australian sound to me. The music begins slowly and irregularly, gradually building into a steady rhythm. The singers’ lines are designed to be heard as one, but also individually. When I hear rain on a tin roof, I can hear each individual drop, and also the whole effect. The structure of Aspects of Dreaming is not complex. The individual lines are designed to be heard as one, and the beauty of choral music is to hear the ‘whole’ from the parts.

Featured in Playlist 4: Visual Waves (30/4/2015)

MultiSonics, for bassoon.

I was invited to write this work for Australian bassoonist Mark Gaydon (principal bassoon Adelaide Symphony Orchestra). Mark was interested in many of the new techniques of bassoon composition and was keen to have a new work using some of these techniques. This work uses textural and extended techniques such as timbral and wide trills, circular breathing, multiphonics, slow glissandi, water tonguing and melodies set in the high register of the instrument. The aim of this work was to explore the beauty of the instrument incorporating these techniques.

MultiSonics was commissioned for a premiere performance on July 25, 2010 at a concert of chamber music in the Adelaide Hills.

Featured in Solo Waves – April 2016 (1/04/2016).

No Ordinary Traveller mvt 1, for mezzo-soprano & trio.

The 4 movements in this song-cycle for mezzo-soprano & trio, represent the views of 4 women as they travel from UK to Melbourne, Australia in 1851. Some of the text is taken from real life ship diaries. ‘One Dark Sky’ is about a mother losing her young child onboard, ‘Ship Life’ is a humorous look at life on board a crowded ship and the final movement looks at aspects of anticipation and hesitation of sighting the arrival in Australia.

Featured in Spotify Waves – February 2017 (01/02/2017)