Fri 6th to Sat 7th April 8pm
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> Introduction
> The Program

 

PROGRAM NOTES

Peter McGauran
Federal Minister for the Arts
and Centenary of Federation

A strong theme of the Centenary of Federation has been the idea that every Australian has a tale worth telling. The arts community is a vital part of this commemorative year, and acts as an important outlet for community-based celebrations around the nation.

And, as events marking the celebration of the Centenary of Federation unfold, there has been a welcome national introspection.

So it should come as no surprise that these themes are being explored with great enthusiasm by one of our best known arts organisations – Multicultural Arts Victoria – through performances of gifted artists in .

Contemporary classical music, poetry and the visual arts will fuse together in this innovative approach to telling stories and exploring the Australian identity – allowing audiences to consider what Federation means to them. It is a collaboration amongst fine Australian artists such as acclaimed Koori poet Lisa Bellear, visual artists Sue Callanan and Heidi Knoepfli, composers Eve Duncan, Joseph Giovinazzo and Peter Myers, along with a number of exceptional musicians – bringing their own experiences into play in this evocative performance.

I am thrilled to see the Australian National Academy of Music involved through a string ensemble. A joint initiative of the Commonwealth and Victorian Governments and the University of Melbourne, the Academy is a national centre of excellence and continues to provide young musicians aspiring to national and international careers with performance training at the highest level.

The centenary celebrations are for all Australians – our multicultural communities, indigenous communities, our bush, our cities, our youth and all ages.

embraces this spirit, and I congratulate the artists and organisers for developing this thought-provoking look at Australia’s past, and the Australia we want in the future.

 

Creative Producer: Anna Monea
began in April 2000 as a collaboration between poet Lisa Bellear, visual artists Sue Callanan and Heidi Knoepfli and composers Eve Duncan, Joseph Giovinazzo and Peter Myers and myself. The project has spanned a twelve-month period and in that time the artists have researched Australia’s Federation extensively in order to form an understanding of the history and circumstances leading into 1901.

In the deliberation of Australia’s nationhood the artists also drew upon their personal history, heritage and spirit. And they stayed connected through workshops, phone calls and email. The aim for each of the artist was to create new work in their particular art form, which would become integrated into a performance piece combining contemporary classical music, visual art and poetry. The two visual artists took the collaboration further by working together to produce new work.

I asked only two things of the artists - that they came to an understanding of what Federation meant for each of them and that they stayed connected. Within this framework was created.

Director: David Symons
Each of the initiating artists (Lisa, Eve, Peter, Joe, Sue and Heidi) has responded to the event of the centenary of Australian Federation without directorial prescription. is the meeting of these personal artistic contributions mediated by the interpretive contributions of musicians, a conductor, an actor, lighting designers, a sound engineer, a stage manager and by the spatial and temporal parameters of the South Melbourne Town Hall in Melbourne in April in 2001.

In bringing together these many contributions I have sought to provide space for each of the "stories" created by the initial collaborators to be clearly told. This event does not have only one thing to say from only one view or feeling point. It is a celebration of diversity. It is also, I hope, a gesture toward greater understanding and awareness of the past of this country and of hope for its future.

I would like to thank Anna Monea for her extraordinary generosity of spirit. And I would like to thank in particular Caroline Briggs for welcoming all of us on to Boonerwrung land for this event.

 

Poet: Lisa Bellear
Lisa’s work incorporates several speeches and poems. She is recreating what could have happened at Federation in 1901, had Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders been included in the constitution, invited to the festivities and the opening of the new Federated Parliament in Melbourne. Some of her work is from the perspective of:

  • A Parliamentarian
  • An Indigenous Elder
  • Several young Koori Warriors

Lisa’s work moves back and forth in time, from pre-invasion/settlement to 1901 and beyond 2001.

Lisa Bellear is currently working towards a Doctorate of Philosophy at La Trobe University, and has completed both a Master of Arts and a Master in Creative Writing. Lisa’s articles have appeared in publications including, 'Breaking Through Women, Work and Careers'; 'Australian Women’s Book Review'; 'The Women’s Handbook' and 'The Koori Mail'. Lisa has a number of published poems such as 'Taxi, 'Empowerment', 'Breathalyser', 'Chops ‘n Things' and 'Spiritual Ruin'. In addition to hosting 'Not another Koori Show' at 3CR for fifteen years Lisa has appeared on numerous radio and television programs.


Visual Artists: Sue Callanan & Heidi Knoepfli
One Hundred Years Now

The Centenary of Federation, as with all other centenary celebration, is about looking back to see who we were then and who we are now. This piece is about capturing a moment in time, and becoming conscious of one’s presence at a significant historic occasion. By interweaving a live recording of the audience with a centenary celebration photo on this same site from the same vantage point, the piece summons an awareness of a historic event and one’s participation as part of a collective witness. A collapsing of time takes place where one hovers between looking back, looking at now and looking ahead. The audience is invited to cast an imaginative glance to the next one hundred years and for a moment fill the empty canvas with their vision. Here is an opportunity for the individual, as part of the collective, to dream a future and be empowered by their active participation in creating that future

Sue Callanan has a Master in Art in Public Space, and two Graduate Diplomas in Design and Sculpture and a Bachelor of Arts in Sculpture. Sue had held 35 exhibitions since finishing the Bachelor of Arts and twelve of these were in public spaces, including two large projects involving redevelopment of an open space. Sue has exhibited widely overseas and in Australia and has created a sound piece for radio, ABC FM radio, 'the Listening Room' program. Articles on Sue’s works have appeared in 'Art Monthly' and 'Monument Magazine'.


Heidi Knoepfli was born in Switzerland. Heidi has completed a Master of Fine Art, a Graduate Diploma of Education, and a Bachelor of Art in Sculpture. Heidi has had 40 exhibitions since completing her Bachelor of Art and these include: Treasury Garden Group Exhibition, City of Melbourne, Linden Gallery, RMIT Access Gallery, Span Gallery, National Gallery of Victoria and Gasworks Arts Park. Her works are held in private collections in Switzerland, Holland, Germany and UK. Articles on Heidi’s works have appeared in the 'Australian Art Monthly', 'The Melbournian' and 'The Age'.


Composer: Eve Duncan
Tiger Snake & Runner of Light

Tiger Snake grew out of Lisa Bellear and I both having experiences with aunties.

Lisa’s Aboriginal aunties are wise women of whom she speaks with happiness and warmth, and whom she clearly loves and respects. Lisa prepared the index of her Aunty Marg Tucker’s memoirs entitled If Everybody Cared, deliberately selecting words that emphasised feelings. She recognised that denial of Aboriginal feeling in the past had led to a melange of atrocities.

What inspiring and often despairing words, from 'terrified', 'terrible disturbance' and 'inwardly timid' to 'aboriginal hearts', 'spirit men' and 'supreme being.'

I followed the path of these dislocated experiences reduced to single words and all too clearly an imaginative past rose that was tragic and contrary. I chose the spirit serpents to weave through the non-verbal instrumental string sections as a symbol of the overriding strength of these native cultures and their sophisticated relationship to existence.

The second piece for string orchestra and didjeridoo follows without pause. The title Runner of Light is taken from a poem by Australian poet Esther Theiler. The music explores the interaction of the negative forces of materialism with the transforming Rainbow Serpent.

Eve Duncan graduated with Honours in Music Composition. She was awarded the International Modern Music Award for Composition, Vienna in 1992 for a work for solo violin. Since then her works have been played in Australia, Switzerland, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Austria, Transylvania, Moldova, the Philippines, Japan and Thailand. International performances include the 1999 ISCM World Music Days Festival, Romania, (piano and timpani), the 1999 Asia Week Yokohama, Japan (string quartet), Tunungan ‘97, Manila (clarinet trio), Eve was commissioned for the 4th International Days of New Music Festival in Braila, Romania (2000).


Composer: Joseph Giovinazzo
Pictures from Home

If the Federation of Australia is seen as a political action with consequences for our national identity, one hundred years later, the Republic of Australia may be taken to occupy a comparable position. While the current republic debate intertwines myriad elements, the tussle between those reluctant to change and those heralding change becomes a counterpoised friction typical of a society. Pictures from Home is an allegory of this social friction. Its setting is a domestic dispute between parent and child, on the issue of change. In communicating her concerns and the apprehension of her parent, the protagonist distills key threads underlying the republic debate in Australia.

Joseph Giovinazzo is a Melbourne composer, and current president of the Melbourne Composers’ League. In 1995 he hosted and co-produced New Music Now, a series of programmes for community television focusing on contemporary Melbourne composers. In 1996-1998 he helped establish 'MikroPolyphonie', an internet journal dealing with contemporary music. Joseph Giovinazzo has completed a Bachelor or Arts Honors, a Master of Arts, and has recently he submitted his Doctorate of Philosophy in the areas of musical composition, orchestration analysis, and the works of Igor Stravinsky. He has had works premiered in the USA, Australia and Romania.


Composer: Peter Myers
Sacred Land

Sacred Land begins with the recitation of a text written by the composer, in dedication to those whose sacred land was invaded in 1788. The work comprises three parts: the dedication, which is accompanied by drone-like material and functions as a prelude; the piece proper; and a return to the drone-like material, which functions as a postlude. Sacred Land can be regarded as a symbolic narrative on the formation of the land. In the beginning, the land was flat and featureless. The primordial beings emerged from the earth, wandered its surface, animated the landscape and eventually returned. So too, Sacred Land begins with flat, featureless material (drones) from which melodies emerge, firstly in the bass but eventually in the higher parts. The piece becomes increasingly complex incorporating general aspects of aboriginal music such as tiered, descending melodies and particular types of polyrhythms. However, the composer has not used any aboriginal music per se in his work, but has instead utilised general techniques and expressed them in his own musical language. The work builds to a climax with thunderous sounds created by playing inside the piano with heavy mallets, and concludes with a return to the drone-like material.

Peter Myers studied and later taught at La Trobe University in the 1980’s. In 1989, he studied privately with Prof. Eugene Kurtz in the USA. He holds a Bachelor of Arts with first class Honours, a Master of Arts in composition, a Graduate Diploma in Education and is currently completing a PhD in composition at the University of Melbourne. He has been the recipient of many composition and academic awards. His works have been performed in Australia, Hong Kong, the United States, Italy and Japan, and have been featured at Australian and international music festivals. Most recently, his composition entitled 'Whorls' for clarinet, bass trombone, vibraphone and piano was performed at Asian Music Week 2000 in Yokohama, Japan

 

 

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