The concerto has a long and ingrained tradition in the world of classical music. We’re excited to see how composers explore or depart from this tradition. In this playlist we’ve given the past a nod, see especially Scott McIntyre’s work referencing Beethoven, but also included a work for jazz orchestra by Nadia Burgess, as a nod to the jazz convention of giving players solos, their moment in the spotlight. In another vein, Kirsten Milenkos’ work addresses environmental themes. We hope you enjoy this selection of “duels” or “conversations” between one and many.
This month we’re delighted to hand over the curatorial reins to MW Intern Michelle Nguyen. The playlist theme centres on the idea of our relationship and place within external environments, both ecological and social, and also our internal selves, looking at identity and memory. In this playlist, place is explored in its physical manifestations, as well as its changing and ephemeral nature.
The interactions we have with the natural environments we inhabit are explored through pieces by David Burraston, May Lyon, and Elissa Goodrich, while Josten Myburgh, Aviva Endean, and Gabrielle Cadenhead’s pieces inquire into our relationship with place in urban, social, and controlled environments. Electro Fractal Gamelan and Connect Four by two amazing members of the Making Waves team, Peggy Polias and Alexis Weaver, take a look inwards to nostalgia, memory, and places in time.
With an overarching soundscape of electronics, field recordings, extended techniques, and musique concrete, these pieces all explore an element of noise and uncertainty, which exposes a lot of our human qualities. In looking for perfection, the glitches, unintended sounds, and accidents have all contributed to our musical culture and the wide variety of sounds we enjoy.
This playlist includes a video of Hapnophobia by Aviva Endean, which is a site-specific work that encompasses the audio, visual, and tactile realms. The video functions as a score for the audience as they move throughout a specific location at the arts centre, and would ideally be watched or performed in location.
We believe in fostering supportive relationships and collaboration throughout our small international new music community. This is why we’re delighted to hand over to our guest curator, New Zealand composer Simon Eastwood for this Special Edition Playlist. It’s our very second international one! We offer our thanks to Simon for taking the time to put together an outstanding hour of music from our amazing colleagues ‘across the ditch’. We’re sure that as you listen to this fantastic playlist you’ll agree that this quality playlist highlights ten extremely talented composers, all of whom we encourage you to note, follow, support, program and collaborate with in ways that might be most meaningful to you. We’ll be putting the spotlight on these composers and their works on our social media over the next week, so stay tuned (or click on the composer profiles below) to learn more about the talent emerging from New Zealand.
A note from our guest curator, Simon Eastwood:
“I was fortunate to meet Lisa last year at the Melbourne Recital Centre. I’d come over for a rehearsal with Rubiks Collective and was telling her how impressed I was with the diversity and vitality of the Melbourne scene. Eventually during the conversation, however, I had to confess that I didn’t really know very many Australian composers beyond perhaps Peter Sculthorpe and Liza Lim, and, I suspected, nor did many of my colleagues in New Zealand. We remarked on that fact that, despite the close relationships between our countries, neither of us seemed to have much awareness of the music being made by out contemporaries across the ditch, and that when it came to discovering new music we both had a tendency to look towards Europe or the United States before we considered the music of our neighbours.
“Even though we live at the edge of the world, New Zealand nonetheless has a small but extremely enthusiastic New Music community in which almost everybody knows each other, and are generally on good terms, enjoying a strong sense of camaraderie. Much of this can be attributed to the work of SOUNZ, the Centre for New Zealand Music and CANZ, the Composers Association of New Zealand, who run the annual Nelson Composers Workshop.
“During my own time overseas, in between trying to explain 1) where New Zealand was and 2) that there was more to the country than the Lord of the Rings, Ruby, and Lorde, I began to notice a few of the strange quirks that define New Zealanders as a people. As I noticed these I began to wonder whether some similar attributes could be found in New Zealand music. So far the only thing which seems to be consistent in New Zealand music this music is its diversity. The composers in this collection come from a wide range of backgrounds and reflect a variety of interests. Many are currently living abroad and are making their way in the world at large. Others originate from other places but have nonetheless made important contributions to the local music scene. Naomi Weinroth, for instance, comes from the United States but has made New Zealand her home for the last four years.
“There are of course many more composers whom I would like to have included in this list, but I have tried to give as wide a representation as possible of the voices currently active in New Zealand music. I also decided that for this playlist I would focus on younger emerging voices for this playlist, even thought there are are of course many established New Zealand composers who have written incredible music. For an informative and humorous overview of the history of New Zealand composition take a look at Alex Taylor and Celeste Oram’s talk at Darmstadt in 2016 https://vimeo.com/179380397. My thanks to Lisa and Peggy for this opportunity bridge the divide between our nations, I look forward to hearing more Australian music in future playlists.”
P.S For sake of transparency, we insisted that Simon include one of his own works in the playlist, and goodness are we glad we did! Check it out below. Enjoy!
This month we embark on an exploration of music centred around folklore, fairytales and mythology. To our delight many of the works in this playlist focus on the vibrant female heroines central to many mythological tales. Alice Chance’s Infernal Women and Evan Lawson’s Sirens, highlight the dark mysticism of the women of classical mythology who were both beautiful and a force to be feared.
Athena, the Goddess of Wisdom and War is explored by Aristea Mellos while Chris Williams describes the depth of the goddess Polyhymnia, a daughter of Zeus. Both goddesses are associated with sacred poetry and song and they inherent mysticism of music when entwined with wisdom and knowledge.
Ostara, the germanic Goddess of Spring and fertility is the central figure in Cassie To’s Ostara’s Equinox. The notions of rebirth in nature, equality and fertility that came with the coming of spring are explored through pagan mythology that has been subsequently lost as it has been absorbed by other practices.
Annie Pirotta and Holly Harrison explore the exciting nature of folk tales and how seemingly innocent tales associated with childhood harbour dark truths. Both composers focus on the writings of Lewis Carroll, building upon the evocative imagery evoked by this work.
To our opening track, Peter McNamara’s The Styx, a journey into the under world. A discussion of the end of life, the journey’s we take and an opportunity to reflect on the nature of life and the ways in which mysticism might answer the unanswerable questions.
The theme for International Women’s Day in 2018 is #PressforProgress. Here at Making Waves, we think 13+ hours of music by mostly unpublished Australian composers who happen to be women is relatively progressive. We hope you enjoy this collection, whether you stream intensively or bookmark it to savour in stages.
However, this is ongoing work: the more composers whose music we get to know, the wider our networks reach and the more new faces we discover. We see you out there who haven’t gotten around to sending us a track or two! Today we especially encourage women and gender diverse composers to get in touch and submit your recordings to the Making Waves curation pool. We have tried to make the criteria as open as possible with no restrictions on gender or age, and as wide a definition of “Australian” as possible, plus occasional special editions from off-shore locations (hint: there’s another international playlist coming soon!!).
What are some ways composers and musicians “pressing for progress” in terms of gender?
The Women in Sound Women on Sound reading list is a great starting point for wider reading on and by women working in sound with some useful data-driven search tools. We are excited to watch how this evolves as more sources are added.
Music Theory Examples By Women is an excellent resource for music educators looking to diversify their notated teaching materials. The website also links to some sizeable playlists on Spotify, YouTube, etc.
Throwback to GRID (Gender Research in Darmstart), Feminist Activism during the Darmstadt Internationale Ferienkurse für Neue Musik, 2016, and especially Ashley Fure’s reflections.
If you want to crunch the numbers closer to home on Australian content programmed by the Major Performing Arts Organisations, including attention to gender representation, catch Ian Whitney’s Australian Content in 2018, now an annual blogging tradition.
Many composers find inspiration in their environment and surroundings, and we have hinted at this in several past playlists (Nature Waves, Sonic Environment Waves). This month’s playlist, Landscape Waves, brings together a selection of works for varied forces, all reflecting on aspects of the outdoor or natural world and sound: the sounds of people, animals and places, and especially the sounds of climate. This progression from drought through to deluge is your soundtrack to another month of southern hemisphere summer.
It’s been a huge year for the Making Waves community: the extended team, composers and listeners. Thank you so much for joining us in 2017 as we venture through monthly playlists and our first foray into podcasting.
We’ve been delighted to continue to put the spotlight on new faces this year. Having featured over 150 composers in 3 years worth of playlists (time flies!), it sometimes feels like the more composers we get to know, the more there are to discover. And that’s a good thing! The new music community is so active, vibrant and dedicated, and it’s fantastic to see so much creativity taking place in sound around Australia, and continue to be introduced to new work.
Along with the playlists the Making Conversation: Australian Composers’ Podcast was released. We are super proud to have brought this project to fruition, along with 10 interviewers, audio and podcast enthusiasts. Massive thanks to the Making Conversation team and to the composers interviewed for a total of 29 episodes in this season. We hope to continue the series in the future, and we encourage you to check out the series if you haven’t already, with audio and video episodes available here on the website for streaming or via your favourite podcast services or YouTube.
We must give a massive Thank You also to the new faces who have joined the Making Waves team. Project founders Lisa Cheney (VIC) and Peggy Polias (NSW) are so grateful to be joined on this voluntary project by Mark Wolf (QLD) and Marlene Radice (VIC), who have each completed 6 month internships in 2017 and are staying on to continue promoting composers and their music. Meanwhile, in November 2017 we are delighted to welcome Alexis Weaver (NSW) and Michelle Nguyen (VIC) who have both commenced internships. We look forward to showing them the ropes, culminating with a playlist each in 2018.
It’s also been great to extend the collaborative spirit into new ventures. This year we invited David Chisholm to guest-curate the BIFEM Waves playlist in August, to coincide with the 2017 festival in Bendigo. We were also commissioned to produce 4 special episodes for ABC Classic FM: New Waves Podcast, using excerpts from the Making Conversation Podcast series and putting the spotlight on 16 composers and a full work each.
If you like what Making Waves are doing, you can show your support by: liking, following and leaving comments and feedback at all our social channels and liking, following and leaving feedback at all the social channels of featured composers when you see new or familiar faces pop up in your feed.
We also have a growing line of merchandise. We’ve updated the Featured Composer tote bag for 2015-17 and have also introduced a Making Conversation podcast logo tote bag. You might like to show off your new music savvy around town by purchasing one of these:
New 2017 Making Conversation Logo Tote Bag
2015-17 Featured Composers Tote Bag (White)
Black text on white bag.
2015-17 Featured composer tote bag (Black)
White text on black bag.
If tote bags aren’t your thing, we’ve added t-shirts, coffee mugs, notebooks and more to the mix over at our new RedBubble shop. We also recently updated the Favourite Things collection with some audio/tech picks. A portion of all sales supports the running costs of the Making Waves project. You can also leave a one-off or regular donation and read more about supporting the project here.
Now, for the end of year playlist. In 2017 we featured 75 tracks on Soundcloud (totalling 8hrs 27min), 10 tracks on Spotify (1hr) and 6 tracks on YouTube (41min). We’ve collected all of these here for your summer holiday listening until we release the first playlist for 2018 on 1 February at 9amAEST. Whether you pick through your favourites, catch up on the year of composers, performers and works, or have a binge-listen on shuffle, we hope that you enjoy looking back on this year!
We encourage you to leave your thoughts, most-enjoyed playlists, listening experiences and listening suggestions for others in the comment section below. And if you haven’t already, you can subscribe to our email list, submit your own work, and share the project across your favourite social media channels with anyone you know who might like to open their ears to the new.
Lisa & Peggy
Plug in, press play and relax into a dream-like hour of contemporary compositions from our featured Australian composers. In this month’s Dream Waves playlist listen out for some common characteristics between these 10 stunning works, in the use of melodic lines, resonance, atmospheric effects, diatonic languages, ambience, repetition and an innate sense of reflection and stillness. Predominantly featuring works for acoustic instruments, we were delighted to find that the electronic works and sound art from Marlene Radice and David Newnes contributed to and expanded on the theme. Join us as we float away over the next sixty minutes with a final playlist for 2017. We’re thrilled to end the year on such a beautiful note!
This month we’ve brought together a number of compositions that relate to jazz or world music in varying degrees, sometimes not in the most direct or obvious way. Where are the boundaries between contemporary classical and jazz styles? What are different ways composers look to wider folk and world musics for inspiration? Many composers featured this month effortlessly weave in and out of jazz/improvisatory and classical practice, creating fascinating and eclectic bodies of work. We hear in some of the works a focus on melody and harmony, with folk tunes or a chart-based approach. Several works for sax ensembles or big band are of the toe-tapping variety while others have an adventurous contemporary flavour. Yet other works are scored for small colouristic bands or chamber ensembles. We hope you enjoy this ride through a diverse collection of sounds.
Brian Eno was quoted to have once said:
“Ambient music must be able to accommodate many levels of listening attention without enforcing one in particular; it must be as ignorable as it is interesting.”
This month we bring you a beautiful mix of atmospheric, electronic and instrumental works that are hardly ignorable and strikingly ambient. Each composition bravely explores few musical ideas, spaces and concepts, often influenced by landscape and the universe. They invite us as listeners to sit and really listen, to savour, to challenge, to entrance, to entice for as little as 6 minutes to 18 minutes. We encourage you to listen for slow unfolding patterns and harmony, repetition, explorations of colour and fluctuations of texture and density we float away with this stimulating hour of ambience.
We’re delighted to hand over the reins this month to composer and current Making Waves Intern Marlene Radice, who has curated this Space-themed playlist. About the works chosen and the over-arching theme, Marlene writes:
This playlist centres around compositions with a relationship to space. Space as a tangible area of existence, space as a gestural device, spacialisation of music and the idea of space in relation to places outside of our immediate consciousness.
Listening to this playlist and exploring how composers address these themes made me think of concepts such as wabi-sabi and the importance of the spaces between elements, and accepting sounds for their imperfections. What we don’t hear is just as important as the sounds we observe. These pieces all somehow explore what lies between what we hear and what we see.
We love discovering the resonances among these works: instrumental – several string quartets, various uses of electronics including Peter Anthony Smith on the Akai Electronic Wind Instrument (EWI); thematic – auras, aliens and nature; and stylistic – there is an expansiveness and dimension evoked by each work in its own way. Many thanks to Marlene for her care in compiling this playlist. You can find out more about Marlene here.
Also, dear listeners, thank you for your patience with us as we took last month off from playlists to focus on the launch of the Making Conversation: Australian Podcast. As at 1 June, we’ve released 6 shows from this 30-episode series, conversations between talented emerging music journalists and composers Anne Cawrse (SA), Michael Sollis (ACT), Annie Hsieh (USA), May Lyon (VIC), Alex Turley (WA) & Jenna Cave (NSW). If you’re already a subscriber, we thank you for joining us over at iTunes, via RSS or other podcast apps at this link, or via Making Waves e-bulletins. If you’re not, do join us at your preferred platform so that you don’t miss a thing!
Percussion. Composers love it for its diversity, its flexibility and the timbral options for striking, plucking, rubbing, scraping or otherwise interacting with a musical or found object. This month we’re thrilled to offer a wonderful hour of percussive and rhythm-centred works. From marimba solos evoking animals, Tuscan sunsets, or Greek mythology, to improvisation, polyrhythms or prepared harpsichord, this playlist is as diverse as ever and the resulting sounds are wide-ranging, always with the particularly heightened quality brought by percussive gestures and physicality. This month’s playlist image was photographed by Making Waves Intern and composer Mark Wolf: we see the corrugations in a metal fence, undulating like waves, shadows cast by the sunlight. We also, like many composers, see an instrument!
Did you know that we’re about to release our very first podcast series? It’s called the Making Conversation: Australian Podcast and it drops on iTunes and everywhere else on Friday April 21, 2017, with one episode released weekly. The team can not wait to share these amazing conversations with Making Waves listeners and podcast fans! We encourage you to subscribe to our iTunes channel, via RSS or other podcast apps, or to the Making Waves e-bulletins so that you don’t miss a thing. Here’s a little preview!