We spoke to some of the composers, curators and performers taking part in our She Speaks Festival this July, and asked them about what audiences can expect to hear at these performances.
She Speaks festival features seven different events. What makes Discovery unique?
In a way, the entire weekend is a process of discovery: an excavation of musical treasures that have been unaccountably neglected. Discovery is unique, in that it focuses on chamber music – traditionally a sphere of domestic music-making – but much of it is of very large ambition. The program also represents a number of recent discoveries from the Seraphim Trio, and we hope the joy we have felt in unearthing these masterworks will be shared by the audience.
For many members of the audience, this will be their first time hearing these pieces. What does the music sound like?
The Lili Boulanger sounds like a distilled piece of heaven. The Elizabeth Younan work is a fascinating adventure in sound and texture. The Tailleferre unfolds with robustness and glee, while the Pejacevic has the sweep of a romantic piano quartet with surprising appearances of twentieth-century harmonies.
What are you most looking forward to at She Speaks?
I’m really looking forward to hearing the Elder Music Lab make Home-Grown their own – what a fantastic opportunity for current Elder Conservatorium students to be a part of this ASO festival, and to play music by all living composers, some of whom will be in the audience!
For many members of the audience, this will be their first time hearing the pieces in this performance. What can audiences expect to hear?
I am always the most excited when I go to a concert and have heard absolutely nothing on the program before – of course the ‘classics’ are great, but I think there’s something so special about not knowing what to expect, and opening your ears up to new sound worlds. The composers featured in this program are from a variety of different backgrounds, so there’s sure to be something for everyone to enjoy.
My piece – Ruby, Shine Bright – is a homage to Doctor Ruby Davy, who was the first woman in Australia to be awarded a Doctorate of Music (1918, Elder Conservatorium). The piece is based on an existing melody composed by Ruby, and I have incorporated snippets of historical recordings of that melody into the texture, and recordings of Ruby’s voice.
She Speaks festival features seven different events. What makes Panorama unique?
Panorama allows audiences to experience compositions from extraordinarily talented female composers spanning four centuries. Presented chronologically, the recital showcases the unique compositional prowess of each of these women, allowing the listener to fully immerse themselves in and appreciate the development of lieder and art song over the years. Each work is a wonderful piece of music in its own right, and it is a joy to be able to bring so many of these underperformed songs to the She Speaks audience.
For many members of the audience, this will be their first time hearing these pieces. What can audiences expect to hear?
I have aimed to show the distinctive style of each composer being performed; The extraordinary ability that Barbara Strozzi had for showcasing human emotion through a text setting, Fanny Mendelssohn’s beautiful piano accompaniments and emotive word painting, Lili Boulanger’s striking use of harmony. In selecting the repertoire for this event, I have chosen diverse themes not only in the styles of the works, but also in the poetry, which further portrays how skilled as storytellers the composers are.