AT THE CON

ISSUE 8

8 to 17 August, 2014 

A Great Australian Composer and National Treasure
Peter Sculthorpe 1929-2014


Peter Sculthorpe, an Emeritus Professor at the University of Sydney and one of Australia’s most important composers has passed away in Sydney on 8 August at the age of 85. With a rich music career that spanned six decades, Peter Sculthorpe was instrumental in defining Australian classical music in this country.

A Great Australian Composer and National Treasure
Peter Sculthorpe 1929-2014

Peter Sculthorpe, an Emeritus Professor at the University of Sydney and one of Australia’s most important composers has passed away in Sydney on 8 August at the age of 85. With a rich music career that spanned six decades, Peter Sculthorpe was instrumental in defining Australian classical music in this country.

“The University, and the classical music world for that matter, is deeply saddened by the passing of Professor Peter Sculthorpe.  He was an outstanding composer and a delightful man, who has built the music foundations of this University over several decades.  Professor Sculthorpe is such a huge loss, but at the same time he leaves such a big music legacy,” said Dr Michael Spence, Vice Chancellor, The University of Sydney.

Peter Sculthorpe first joined the University of Sydney’s Department of Music as lecturer in composition in 1963. He was later appointed to a personal chair in composition in 1991 at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music.

Until his retirement in 1999, Sculthorpe’s teaching at the University inspired and nurtured many musicians including composers Ross Edwards, Anne Boyd, Barry Conyngham and Matthew Hindson, who is now Professor and Chair of Composition & Music Technology Unit at the Con.

Dr Karl Kramer, Dean of the Sydney Conservatorium of Music commented: “Peter is Australia’s best-known composer not only at home but internationally. He was the first Australian composer to develop what many heard as an ‘Australian’ sound and has been described as ‘the voice of Australia’ and ‘Australia’s representative composer.”

Sculthorpe’s enormous contribution to music composition, teaching and education here and abroad is recognised by his Order of Australia medal in 1990 and his four honorary Doctorates from the University of Tasmania, University of Sussex, University of Melbourne and University of Sydney. In 1994 he received the Sir Bernard Heinze Award for outstanding services to Australian music and in 2005 he became an Emeritus Professor at the University of Sydney.

Born in Launceston, Tasmania, in 1929, Sculthorpe was educated at Launceston Church Grammar School, the University of Melbourne and Wadham College, Oxford, England. It was not until he returned to Australia in 1961 after studying overseas, that his career began its meteoric rise.

Sculthorpe's catalogue consists of more than 350 works.  While his best known works include the orchestral pieces Mangrove (1979) and Kakadu (1988), he wrote in many genres from solos to opera. His 18 string quartets are especially frequently performed and the Kronos Quartet toured the world playing No.8. In Australia he became a major public figure, audiences cheering his work as it seemed to say something necessary in the life of a country finding a new voice after the dissolution of the British Empire.

The frequent Australian cry to turn to Asia in the 1960s and 70s was paralleled by influences from Indonesia and Japan in Sculthorpe’s works, as he strove to write music expressive of the Pacific region.

The impact of his composition on Australian music has been the subject of four books, including Graeme Skinner’s authorised biography, Peter Sculthorpe: The Making of an Australian Composer (1929-1974) published in 2007.

The recipient of many prestigious awards, Sculthorpe regarded the most important being chosen as one of Australia's 100 Living National Treasures in 1997 (National Trust of Australia), Distinguished Artist 2001 (International Society for the Performing Arts), Honorary Foreign Life Member in 2003 (American Academy of Arts and Letters) and one of the 100 Most Influential Australians in 2006 (The Bulletin magazine).
 

UPCOMING EVENT HIGHLIGHTS

 11 AUGUST - 7.30PM  | Jazz in the Cafe - "Blow Up" Daryl Pratt and Friends present music from the 1960s

 12 AUGUST - 6.30PM  | Chamber Works - "Sonata and Symphony"

 13 AUGUST - 1.10PM  | Lunchbreak Concert - Organ Unit

 14 AUGUST - 6.30PM  | Chamber Works - "Piano Trios Australis"

 15 AUGUST - 6.30PM  | Greenway Series: Chamber Orchestra

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ABOUT MUSIC

 11 AUGUST - 5PM  | Jeanell Carrigan - Composer in Exile: Meta Overman and her compositions for piano

Dutch-born Meta Overman (1907-1993) lived in Australia for over forty years, spent mostly in Perth and Melbourne. Her unpublished piano music is imaginative and formally structured, probably reflecting her lessons with Willem Pijper, one of Holland’s foremost composition teachers of the 1940s.
Dutch-born Meta Overman (1907-1993) lived in Australia for over forty years, spent mostly in Perth and Melbourne. Her unpublished piano music is imaginative and formally structured, probably reflecting her lessons with Willem Pijper, one of Holland’s foremost composition teachers of the 1940s.

ABOUT JEANELL CARRIGAN
Jeanell is currently Senior Lecturer in Ensemble Studies at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, University of Sydney. She has performed as a soloist, chamber musician and accompanist in Germany, Italy, Austria, Switzerland and throughout Australia, and has recorded for the Bavarian Radio Corporation, the ABC and for regional stations in Australia on many occasions. As a member of the Novalis Quartet, Trio Novalis and Richter/Carrigan Duo she performs regularly for Musica Viva and other concert organisations.

She completed a Doctor of Creative Arts, from the University of Wollongong, in the area of Australian post-1970 solo piano repertoire and in February 2014 released her sixteenth solo compact disc of Australian piano music. In 2002 she received the national award of most outstanding contribution to the advancement of Australian music by an individual.

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TAKE A TOUR OF THE CONSERVATORIUM

Music and heritage tours of the Sydney Conservatorium of Music

Take a guided tour of the Conservatorium of Music to learn an unknown history of Sydney. Gain access to areas previously off limits to the public and learn how the Conservatorium of Music has become the prestigious international school of music it is today. Walk the corridors underneath the Royal Botanic Gardens whilst listening to your tour guide’s insightful stories about musicians past and present. The Conservatorium of Music offers more than meets the eye.

For more information about the tours and to book please visit the 'Take a tour' page on Conservatorium website.

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NEWS FROM THE OPEN ACADEMY

Rising Stars Concerts

Hear the best and brightest of our school-age Rising Stars students as they present works they have been preparing with their teachers. The concerts feature a broad repertoire and we encourage children of all ages to attend.

Concerts will resume for semester 2 from 19 July. There are two performances each Saturday at 11am and 2pm. For more information please phone +612 9351 1400 or visit openacademy.sydney.edu.au.

Next concerts:
  • Saturday 9 August, 11am and 2pm
  • Saturday 16 August, 11am and 2pm

Kids at the Con

If you have been thinking of introducing your 3-10 year old child to the wonderful world of music, now is a great time to join our fun and interactive ‘Kids at the Con’ classes! Enrolment is now open online through our website. There are still spaces available in most classes, so get in quick.

Term 3 starts on 26 July and runs for 7 weeks. All term dates are listed on our website. Most classes run on Saturdays between 9am-1pm, but we also offer Wednesday morning classes for our youngest students aged 3-4, starting from 23 July.

For more information visit openacademy.sydney.edu.au or call +612 9351 1400.

Coming soon: Alexander Technique for Musicians

Saturday 23 August, 2 to 5pm
Cost: $75

The Alexander technique is world renowned for helping musicians with their comfort and skill. This technique provides great practical information and support for ease of movement, good posture and musical expression via improvement in movement coordination.

Greg Holdaway is Director of Training at the Sydney Alexander Technique professional training organization and has been a staff member at the Mitchell Conservatorium for many years. He has studied and taught movement skills for over 30 years, and holds a Masters Honours degree in movement science.

This three hour workshop is a practical introduction. After a brief explanation of the process, the time will be spent on practical activities related to playing. Please bring your instrument (a piano will be provided). Singers are also welcome.

To book go to openacademy.sydney.edu.au/course/WFATM or call 9351 1208.

Rising Stars triumph at NSW Secondary Schools Competition

Congratulations to several of our Rising Stars students who took out every prize in this year’s Ku-ring-gai Philharmonic Orchestra Concerto competition on Saturday 28 June.

The Ku-ring-gai Philharmonic Orchestra (KPO) Concerto competition is considered one of the most competitive and important competitions for secondary school musicians in NSW and the KPO often provides young players with their first opportunity to perform a concerto in a professional situation.

Overall winner: Emma Zhuang – Sibelius, Violin Concerto
Senior winner: Justin Julian – Alfred Hill, Viola Concerto
Junior winner: Jasmine Baric – Lalo, Symphony Espagnole for violin
KPO Players Award: Terence Leung – Prokofiev, Sinfonia Concertante for cello

Congratulations also to their teachers, Associate Professor Alice Waten, Roger Benedict, Robin Wilson and Susan Blake, respectively.

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