A world exclusive performance of Etude No. 19 by Philip Glass played by Australian pianist Sally Whitwell. Recorded by ABC Classic FM at the Perth Concert Hall on Saturday 16th February as part of the 2013 Festival of Perth. Read the article on Phillip Glass on The Music Show.
If you enjoyed this excerpt, well ***drumroll*** the whole of this concert I played in is being broadcast on ABC Classic FM this coming Wednesday. Hip hurrah!!
Brit/Ten/Pop is a concert that I’m doing with Sydney choir Bel Acappella. Their Artistic Director Anthony Pasquill came to me asking if I’d put together one of my signature popsong concert/theatre experiences. I suggested that we combine that idea with a special tribute to Benjamin Britten, given that it’s his 100th birthday. This is the playlist I came up with… Make of it what you will (hint; it’s all about the texts!)
Taking some inspiration (and comfort!) from Lenny Bernstein’s words here, whilst I watch the deadline loom on the horizon for a commission.
The piece I’m writing is for a really wonderful school ensemble. Gotta say, composing music for young performers is a really tricky brief. It’s important to challenge the kids enough, especially the ones whose skills are more advanced, but then you’ve got to have something in it for everyone to be able to ‘have a go’. I’ve got a week to make it happen… Eep!
Michael [Nyman]’s music is very ironic, very difficult to put irony into music, but he’s one of the successful composers who’ve done that. So often we would deliberately play opposites in order to express I suppose intellectual ideas about the usage of image and music. I’ve often tried to fight against that emotional manipulation in order to give far more credibility to I think the great range of music, not just simply as support for you taking out your Kleenex.
Film maker Peter Greenaway speaks on collaborating with composer Michael Nyman in this fantastic interview with Australian composer, broadcaster and all round good guy Andrew Ford.
Live is live is live… An excerpt from the concert I played Saturday night with Philip Glass.
“A world exclusive performance of Etude No. 19 by Philip Glass played by Australian pianist Sally Whitwell. Recorded by ABC Classic FM at the Perth Concert Hall on Saturday 16th February as part of the 2013 Festival of Perth. Read the article on Phillip Glass on The Music Show.”
So excited to be performing this program for Perth International Arts Festival in Albany WA next week. I often enjoy performing in smaller towns more than in the big cities - there’s a friendliness in close communities that you so rarely find in the big smoke.
All in the name of research…I dug up these little treasures from the cupboards in my childhood bedroom whilst I was staying with my parents for a few days last week.
The teensy pink tutu represents the single foray that my lovely mother made into StageMum territory - she hand beaded the bodice there. Woah.
And the pointe shoes? You can’t see it in this picture but they have little blood stains inside. I kept them as a reminder to myself of why I didn’t end up pursuing a career in dance. I just wasn’t prepared to put up with that kind of physical pain.
So, the show is all about the choices we make in our lives, and the control we have over our destinies (or not, as the case may be!)
I have included typewriters in my opening number for Beatles Unplugged. I wish I could say these guys were my inspiration, but I only discovered them after the fact. Still, they totally rock my socks :D
…the point of an animateur is to support musicians who are dedicated to ensuring that the interactions with our audiences are lively, creative, and inspiring – musicians who want to make sure that the music we play and love is made available to all our communities for a very long time to come. That’s not such a bad job description.
This seems like a very nice job description indeed. It’s not unlike some things I already do in my work, I just didn’t know that there was a word for it until today. Animateur - it really has a nice ring about it :)
Just wondering if I could trouble you again for some advice.
I want to make sure I have an encore for this concert next week, but really can’t do much longer than three minutes total. I’ve nothing shorter than about six mins in my current repertoire. Dilemma.
Was thinking of doing a three minute improvisation. I’ll get an audience member to put their stopwatch on so it stays within the limit. Liszt used to do it. So did Beethoven and Mendelssohn. If it’s good enough for them, I think it should be good enough for me.
I’m thinking about making another proposal to the powers-that-be (my album producers at the ABC) and would like to know what people think…
I suspect that a large proportion of my audience, the lovely ones who bought my albums Mad Rush - Solo Piano Music of Philip Glass and The Good, the Bad and the Awkward, only know me as a solo pianist. In truth, this is but a fraction of the broad range of music making that I do. As well as performing and recording as a solo pianist, I’m a composer and an arranger, a conductor and a teacher, an accompanist and a vocal coach.
Musicians do not exist in a vacuum. Certainly the chief joys of my musical life are the interactions I have with other musicians as well as writers, artists and all manner of performers. So it would make sense for my next album to be one that is perhaps more representative of myself as a working artist. In short, I would love to invite some of my friends and colleagues to this party!!
I’ve composed for a great many ensembles, from choirs and orchestras to art songs and chamber music, so the scope of the sound world covers everything from “Mighty” to “Intimate”. I do appreciate that for any engineer to make a single cohesive listening experience out of such a variety of works is quite a challenge. I’m sure my lovely friend and colleague Virginia Read could do it! She did such a great job with the varied genres present on my current album (no easy task!).
Looking at the themes (both abstract and literal) of my ouvre to date, I can see some patterns emerging that might make for a cohesive, dramatic listening experience. I have realised that I subconsciously favour words from the Romantic/19th Century poets - Shelley, Keats, Byron, Rossetti (some Dante Gabriel but mostly Christina). It’s like those poems already have music in them and I just somehow ‘pull it out’ of them! Also, several different people completely independently of each other have made a similar comment to me about my music - they’ve described it as Pre-Raphaelite in nature. I am taking this as a great compliment (I am quite happy to just stare at Waterhouse mermaids for hours on end) and if I try to step back and look at things objectively, I can understand why they might say that. Suits my sensibilities just fine, thank you very much!
So… an album of some of my original works, performed by myself and my friends? It seems a logical ‘next step’ for me, but I would love some thoughts from you, dear reader.