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More than meets the ear

Interview, Kirsten Siddle

Zubin Kanga Zubin Kanga
photo Bridget Elliot and David Boyce
The Melbourne Recital Centre’s Director of Programing, Kirsten Siddle, tells RealTime that the centre had been talking about a music-screen program for Metropolis for some time. While previous festivals might have focused on a theme or a composer, this one, centred on “music written for, and inspired by, the moving image, has given us a huge scope and supported commissioning because so many composers now are excited about collaborating with filmmakers.” The number of commissions and premieres, she says, is “pretty phenomenal” and great for audiences wanting to experience brand new works.

The 2015 Metropolis New Music Festival will feature music for the big screen in its Melbourne Symphony Orchestra program. In its seven Salon concerts a variety of forms true to our time will meld with music—film, video, computer gaming and a digital avatar. All the concerts, says Siddle, are about “the intersection between moving image and music—where music is absolutely integral to the moving image and, vice versa, where music is inspired by moving image.

The MSO program of three concerts includes Toru Takemitsu’s tribute to Andrei Tarkovsky’s Nostalghia, Tan Dun’s Crouching Tiger Concerto, New York composer Julia Wolfe’s multi-media collaboration with filmmaker Bill Morrison and the Australian premiere of Jonny Greenwood’s There Will Be Blood suite from the film directed by Paul Thomas Anderson (see Philip Brophy’s close reading of the score of Anderson’s new film, Inherent Vice). As well, Ben Walsh and the Orkestra of the Underground present a welcome return concert of their musical adaptation of Shaun Tan’s The Arrival, premiered in Melbourne in 2011.

The Salon concerts feature musicians and composers who were challenged by Metropolis, says Siddle, to respond to the relationship between music and image—with or without using projections. Participating are Speak Percussion (projections, suspended objects and electronics in a processional performance), Melbourne Piano Trio (video by Agatha Yim; film by Stan Brakhage), Syzygy Ensemble, Forest Collective (composer-animator Marcus Fjellström; dance-music film by Elanor Webber); pianists Zubin Kanga (playing through an avatar), and Lisa Moore (animation) and Ensemble Offspring (video by Andrew Wholley).

In some cases the artist is both composer and media artist. Forest Collective, says Siddle, will present “a fairly dark piece by Swedish composer and multimedia artist Marcus Fjellström based on the experience of growing up with cartoons and computer games.” Let Odboy and Erordog tempt you visually and aurally with its grim wit and fascinating score on YouTube. In her concert New York-based Australian pianist, Lisa Moore will perform a work by husband Martin Bresncik, For the Sexes: The Gates of Paradise, for solo piano and Puppetsweat Theater’s computer animations of William Blake’s drawings and illuminated manuscripts. Bresnick himself directed the film, its animations executed by Leslie Weinberg. Siddle declares Moore’s accompanying vocal delivery, sung and spoken, astonishing.

Kirsten Siddle is rightly proud of the large number of world premieres in The Salon concert season, including new compositions by Jeanette Little, Peter de Jager, Alexander Garsden, Christopher de Groot, Paul Dean, Alex Pozniak, Marc Yeats, Evan Lawson, Elanor Webber, Julian Day, Cat Hope, Daniel Blinkhorn and Chris Perren. There’s much to look forward to in the interplay of seeing and hearing in this distinctive festival. RT

Melbourne Recital Centre & Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Metropolis New Music Festival 2015, Melbourne Recital Centre, 4-16 May

RealTime issue #126 April-May 2015 pg. 41

© RT ; for permission to reproduce apply to [email protected]

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