- Australian Organisations and Programs that Support Musical Innovation
- ABC Classics
- Aurora New Music
- Australasian Computer Music Association
- Australian Music Centre
- Australian Network for Art and Technology
- Australian Sound Design Project
- Avantwhatever Monthly
- Bendigo International Festival of Exploratory Music
- Brisbane Contemporary Church Music Festival
- Brisbane Powerhouse
- Campbelltown Arts Centre
- Chronology Arts
- The Click Clack Project
- Clocked Out
- Conduit Arts
- Experimental Melbourne
- The Firm
- The Griffyn Ensemble
- Jazzgroove Association
- Jazzhead Records
- Liquid Architecture
- Listen/Hear Collective
- The Make It Up Club
- Melbourne Composers’ League
- Melbourne Jazz Cooperative
- Metropolis Music Festival
- Museum of Old and New Art (MONA)
- Move Records
- New Music Network
- New Wave: Sound
- The Now now
- Obsidian Records
- The People’s Republic of Australasia
- Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts (PICA)
- Rufus Records
- Shame File Music
- Siberia Records
- Silo Arts and Records
- Soundstream: Adelaide New Music Festival
- Sydney Improvised Music Association SIMA
- Super Critical Mass
- Tall Poppies Records
- This Thing Collective
- Tura New Music
- Two Bright Lakes
- What Is Music? Festival
- The Wired Lab
- Yes Please Records
Australian Organisations and Programs that Support Musical Innovation
This is a list of organisations that present musical innovation whether through performance, recordings or publications. These entrepreneurial and service organisations bring organisational and marketing skills to presenting high risk music to the world – skills that the artists themselves may not possess. The artists’ role, after all, is mainly to create music and performances and the entrepreneurs enable them to devote more of their energy to that.
Organisations that only self-present, such as ensembles, music theatre companies, bands, are not included.
The list includes some festivals that mount programs comprised mostly of risk-taking work. The big capital city based multi-arts festivals may include some innovative music performances and readers could also check their intentions.
It is difficult to draw any line beyond which music might be described as innovative. An artist or presenting organisation may believe their work to be innovative but not be well informed about the recent history of their own genre – and so not know that they are covering old ground. Nor does it suffice that a musical work is newly created, even if in a genre where innovation is an objective. It may still not disturb familiar ways within that genre.
So to some extent, we have included organisations on the basis of their intention to support musical innovation, and send a wish that they may succeed!
Almost all of the descriptions are official statements from the organisations themselves and we have not tested them. Readers are welcome to tell us of omissions; they will be added to this article of the Knowledge Base. Please send them to the editor.
Wollongong-based. 1/4Inch is a series of events that showcase Australia’s emerging and established sound and audiovisual artists. It regularly hosts international guests and is part of an interstate circuit within Australia for touring artists. The events are curated by Aaron Hull and Greg Hughes.
This is the classical record label of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Its past is about a serious commitment to serious music. But record labels are feeling the pinch. ABC Classics is not subsidised and the catalogue over recent years seems to reveal an urgent problem of survival. Two new releases are titled Bark! And other musical delights for your dog and Purr-fection! Calming classical favourites for your cat. However, with the riches so obtained, ABC Classics does still release mainstream classical and jazz recordings and a fair number of recordings of new music. (Almost alone among the listings here, this description comes from Music Forum, not the label website. The website offers no description of the label.)
A biennial festival of new music in Western Sydney. There is something new to discover in this festival for everyone – the most seasoned ‘new art music’ concert-goer will not have experienced the world premieres this festival is the platform for, nor the innovative ideas that are involved in the events. Embrace the extreme, delve into the esoteric, be inclusive and promote creativity. There is rarely an opportunity in Sydney to hear such a concentration of experimental events of this standard and nature, and we are here to celebrate and promote artistic creativity.
The Australasian Computer Music Association provides a forum for Australian and New Zealand composers and researchers with an interest in music technology and computer music. The annual ACMA conference is held in various cities, and publishes peer-reviewed proceedings.
The Australian Music Centre (AMC) is the national service organisation dedicated to the promotion and support of both the artform of music and the creators and performers of contemporary classical, improvised jazz, experimental music and sound art in Australia. The AMC fulfils its aims by directly representing Australian composers and sound artists; managing development programs for young and emerging composers and sound artists; presenting annual and biennial awards; providing communications services such as news, reviews, analysis and critical discussion; publishing books and sheet music; producing secondary and tertiary education kits; and through its library collection that now includes over 30,000 items by 530 artists, including notated composition, electroacoustic music, algorithmic composition, improvised music (including contemporary jazz), experimental music, electronic music, sound art, sound installation, film composition plus sound found in multimedia and online forms.
ANAT is a catalyst for experimentation and innovation across art, science and technology. It champions artistic excellence by supporting professional artists and fostering a culture of creative risk-taking, secures the necessary resource to enable artists to pursue creative research and realise ground-breaking artworks, and communicates the importance of creative experimentation and expression with the arts and – increasingly – in broader society.
- Nationwide database and web site of Australian sound designs
- Define the field of Australian sound design, identifying private and public spaces.
- Provide models of successful sound designs.
- Show the variety of methodologies used by designers.
- Provide a bibliography of related research materials.
- Open debate on how public and private space affects sound design.
- Raise the consciousness of the importance of Australian sound design by establishing a presence nationally and internationally.
The Australian Sound Design Project is hosted by the Australian Centre at the University of Melbourne and funded by a large grant from the Australian Research Council. Over the past five years the Australian Sound Design Project (ASDP) has pioneered the interdisciplinary field of sound design in public space through its website, database, publications, exhibitions and public advocacy. The original works of over 200 sound designers, artists and composers have been published in sound text and image in the gallery. All entries can be accessed through the browser, by work, artist, place, function, organisation and events. The ASDP has championed audible interactive research and has been internationally applauded by IRCAM, ASCA, Canada and America for its in-depth and sustainable data. It has become the premier voice of Australian sound in public space on the net, establishing Australia’s contribution worldwide. The ASDP has curated two exhibitions for the World Forum of Acoustic Ecology, including an international audiotheque and published an audio CD, Hearing Place.
Avantwhatever Monthly is held the last Wednesday of every month at The Alderman in Brunswick, Melbourne. You can sign up to the mailing list to hear about upcoming releases and events.
The festival ran for the first time in September 2013. Bendigo is a city founded on exploration and discovery. With a spirit of independence, openness to new ideas, and with a people recognised for their generosity and grace, Bendigo is the perfect home for this new festival.
BIFEM’s mission is to give the citizens of and visitors to our city access to the most innovative and virtuosic concert music from all around the world. In this first edition, music from 15 different countries will be performed across three recitals, eight concerts, two talks, a lecture, a workshop and a vernissage. Of these 16 elements, five are free, and nine are about the price of a cinema ticket.
This annual festival presents recent sacred music (a significant proportion of it Australian) which remains largely hidden to modern audiences because of the high standard of performance it requires. August 2013 saw the third presentation of this festival which combines the choral forces of both St John’s and St Stephen’s Cathedrals, the Brisbane Chamber Choir, the Queensland Conservatorium Brass and Percussion ensembles and visiting soloists, and features new works by Robert Davidson, Andrew Ford and Nicole Murphy. The innovation of this festival is evident in the way in which it mixes concert performances of sacred works with performances in a liturgical setting. This is new music from a very different perspective, featuring the interaction between sound and the magnificent architectural space.
Arts. Culture. Community. These are the fundamentals of what we do, and form the philosophy behind our year-round programme. You can choose from over 1,000 events from a wonderful array of theatre, music, comedy, dance, film, visual arts, festivals and ideas. Visit Brisbane Powerhouse and you’ll see art, from across the globe, that you can’t see anywhere else in Brisbane. You’ll have the chance to meet people, chat with artists and get a glimpse into the process of creating art. At Brisbane Powerhouse you’ll soak up an atmosphere that merges old and new: the rustic, industrial charm of the building‘s power-station heritage; spectacular graffiti walls reminiscent of the Powerhouse’s days as a derelict haunt in the 60s and 70s; Brisbane Powerhouse’s current guise as a lively arts centre, perfectly positioned beside New Farm Park on the Brisbane river. Brisbane Powerhouse is the most programmed arts venue in the Southern Hemisphere, and is among the most innovative and lively arts centres in the world.
Since opening in 2005 the Centre has pioneered a contemporary arts program that engages with critical issues of our times. Campbelltown Arts Centre produces international multidisciplinary contemporary arts projects that include commissions, artist residencies, publications, community projects, education and public programs to examine issues and events that influence and shape contemporary life. Campbelltown Arts Centre has developed its profile as a leader for the contemporary arts across multiple art forms including music. The Centre has actively supported the commissioning and presentation of new Australian music. In 2010, Campbelltown Arts Centre appointed Dr Matthew Hindson AM as its inaugural Guest Music Curator.
Chronology Arts (Sydney) was established by Alex Pozniak and Andrew Batt-Rawden to nurture, promote and perform contemporary classical music by emerging composers. There are never enough opportunities for emerging artists to develop their creative practices.
Our goal for Chronology Arts is to provide an avenue for young composers and performers to realise their artistic vision, through the commissioning of compositions, organising of performance events, and the promotion of recordings through radio and internet. Chronology Arts events are dedicated to contemporary practice by presenting works written especially for each concert, or works written within the two years preceding them. In promoting an up to date account of classical/art music, we hope to raise public awareness of Australian musical talent. We also collaborate with artists from other creative fields to produce multidisciplinary performance events.
The Click Clack Project is an interabilities sound art organisation that generates high calibre sonic performances, workshops and recordings through the combination of sound artists and musicians of varying abilities. The most highly trained and technically gifted musicians and sound makers work alongside and on equal footing with those sound makers who are still developing their abilities. Developing musicians and sound artists include, but are not limited to, those sound makers with an intellectual disability, and young sound makers still in the early stages of life’s remarkable journey. From mid-2011 to 2013 The Click Clack Project Inc. is being incubated by the Footscray Community Arts Centre, as a part of that organisation’s residency program for community development activities.
Since 2000, Clocked Out has produced some of Australia’s most innovative contemporary music and interarts projects. Through its varied collaborations it has sought to bring together musicians, performers, artists and audiences from diverse backgrounds. By following its creativity to unexpected places, its work has explored the boundaries between musical styles and artistic disciplines.
In their core group Clocked Out Duo, directors Erik Griswold and Vanessa Tomlinson have made piano, percussion, and toy instruments their sonic playground; in The Wide Alley for five Chinese and five Australian musicians, they have forged new ground in intercultural collaboration; and in Sounding Wivenhoe and Sounding the Condamine they have created a new form which draws elements from community art, environmentalism, acoustic ecology, experimental music and installation.
Clocked Out is ensemble-in-residence at Queensland Conservatorium, Griffith University and receives annual funding from Arts Queensland. It produces an annual series of concerts and interarts events in Brisbane, and tours its projects nationally and internationally.
Conduit Arts Initiative is an artist focused initiative in Fitzroy, Melbourne that runs on a bi-monthly program of Art one month, and Music and Performance the next. This enables greater flexibility in programming options and promotes events from different disciplines supporting each other within the one space, contributing to a more secure and sustainable initiative.
The initiative is run by artists from diverse practices who share ideas and aspirations. Opportunities for young and emerging artists are facilitated by providing a space for development and experimentation at all stages of the art making process.
A festival of new music in Adelaide. There is a plan to present a festival in 2014.
(Queensland Conservatorium Research Centre)
The Encounters project explores cultural connections between Australia and other countries or regions. These ‘meetings in Australian music’ have occurred every two or three years at QCGU in Brisbane, and have been always innovative and forward thinking, crossing cultures not only through music but also in combinations of philosophy, literature and drama, film and multimedia arts, painting and photography, dance and design. Encounters highlights the contribution of other cultures to that of our own, historical exchanges, cultural influences, fusions of high art and popular cultures, extensions through language, fashion, food and social influences. Encounters provides surprising meeting places for emerging musicians from all backgrounds. It is in the encounters which are created where the excitement begins.
Encounters IV: India (May 2013) was the most recent of these projects, and brought together performers from all over the world to present music emerging from the encounters and influences of Indian culture on Australian music and other artforms. This project is truly entrepreneurial in its unique approach to demonstrating interactions through performance and making space for live interactive encounters in music.
An online diary giving the who, what, when and where of experimental music in Melbourne.
The Firm is an Adelaide-based organisation that promotes the performance of new solo and chamber works, particularly those of South Australian composers. It also provides a performance platform for some of Australia’s finest young musicians. It presents a series of concerts each year with a nominated composer in residence that provides a focus and spring board for the creation of the new works and programming of existing works for performance. The Firm also presents special events and tours internationally.
The Griffyn Ensemble was founded in 2006 and has produced concerts, installations, festivals and innovative collaborations across Australia. Based in Canberra, through their signature ensemble they have collaborated with scientists (Fred Watson, Rob Gell), visual artists (Jyll Bradley, Annika Romeyn), established curated programs and installations in some of Australia’s most iconic buildings (National Gallery of Australia, Old Melbourne Gaol, Mt Stromlo Observatory, etc.), and worked with composers across the world presenting over 50 Australian premieres. In 2013 Griffyn began their International Exchange program, which was launched with the Water Into Swïne Festival – a new music festival collaborating with Swedish group the Peárls before Swïne Experience, and will feature two other international exchanges in 2013, promoting Canberra as a hub of international contemporary musical exchange.
The Jazzgroove Association is an artists’ cooperative based in Sydney. It has become a crucial contemporary music organisation. With over 100 bands each year, through our weekly double bills at 505, periodic jam sessions upstairs at the Gaelic Club and our Summer Festival, we are able to present many of Australia’s most talented and respected improvising musicians. The gigs have also played a key role in the development of a number of new bands that have gone on to become some of the most important contemporary jazz ensembles in Australia. It is unique in this country as an organisation, and continues to be run predominantly by practising musicians. Jazzgroove is an association that exists to present emerging and established Sydney jazz and improvising musicians to an established audience.
Jazzhead was established in ’96 by Australian music legend Joe Camilleri together with Andrew Walker, to support Australian jazz musicians and release great new Australian jazz CDs. Concentrating on progressive sounds of jazz while maintaining general accessibility, award winning Jazzhead artists include Jamie Oehlers, Way Out West, Joe Chindamo, Kristin Berardi, Julien Wilson, Barney McAll, Ben Winkelman, Andrea Keller, Allan Browne, all of whom tour internationally as well as nationally.
Liquid Architecture is a sense specific festival, as opposed to art form specific. Occurring annually since 2000, Liquid Architecture celebrates the diverse methods of sound making and sound theory. It is our belief that listening is a vital activity, and one that is often overlooked within the dominance of visual media in our environment.
Liquid Architecture offers a range of events including concerts, immersive sound presentations, audio-visual and recorded work, exhibitions and installations, and featuring our most imaginative musicians, composers, sound designers and media artists in a sense-specific feast for the ears.
Liquid Architecture presents sound. Sound as the starting point for the active practice of listening. This is not to deny the conceptual or the abstract, the metaphorical or the representational, the expressionistic or the meaningful. But rather this is to restore the emphasis on the primary act of listening. Liquid Architecture is in effect then a listening festival and the artists presented are selected as much for their ability to listen with sensitive ears as for the sound they produce. You are invited to engage your sensitive ears and listen.
We are an organization that is dedicated to representing newly composed and created music that slips between the cracks of genres. Listen/Hear Collective was created to represent and foster artists and composers whose music falls somewhere between the spaces of genres. We aim to service a currently under-served community of composers and performers through presenting, distributing and promoting their work and as a result we hope to give a stronger voice to the scene of creative music in which they exist, a scene that draws from a myriad of different musical genres and one that is not afraid to explore the places where those genres meet. The recordings we sell will paint a certain picture of a scene without a name, without trying to give it one. We hope that Listen/Hear Collective develops as eclectically and broadly as this scene of music does.
The Make It Up Club is committed to nurturing, presenting and promoting avant-garde improvised music and sound performance of the highest conceptual and performative standards, regardless of idiom, genre, or instrumentation. Whilst traditional forms of avant garde improvisation are welcomed, MIUC programming policy gives priority to projects which challenge the boundaries of current musical trends. In doing so, the principal aims are:
- To provide performers with a stable and supportive environment in which to publicly exhibit recent explorations in improvised sound.
- To curate a regular performance program dedicated to exhibiting local and interstate artists and, whenever circumstances allow, facilitate collaborations between international artists and their Australian counterparts.
- To cultivate and maintain a healthy, vibrant and diverse scene for avant-garde improvisation in Melbourne where performers and devotees alike actively contribute to a sense of community.
- To promote the quality and diversity of Melbourne’s unique improvised music scene locally, nationally and internationally.
A not-for-profit association of Melbourne and regional Victorian composers, formed principally to further the interests of those working within this geographic region. The League aspires to promote contemporary art music activities in Victoria within the context of the Asia-Pacific region. The MCL seeks to work with national and international organisations that are interested in composition, promotion and performance of indigenous and contemporary art music.
The MCL aims to:
- produce performances and recordings of high artistic merit
- foster the development of contemporary music composition
- build and deepen cultural ties between Asian and Victorian organisations, performers and composers
- network with Victorian organisations involved in contemporary music, and
- foster an audience for contemporary art music with an emphasis on Victorian/Asian repertoire.
Formed in 1983, the Melbourne Jazz Co-op has been supporting jazz and improvised music continuously for more than 25 years. Since presenting the Browne-Costello-Grabowsky Trio at its inaugural concert in January 1983, the MJC has presented hundreds of performances featuring many of Australia’s most respected musicians, from Melbourne and interstate, as well as a number of international artists who otherwise may not have performed in Melbourne. In 2009, the MJC presented 152 performances featuring over 130 ensembles.
The MJC has premiered several important new projects, including the Paul Grabowsky Orchestra (forerunner to the Australian Art Orchestra) and Andrea Keller’s Bartok Project. On top of this the MJC has regularly debuted interstate acts, providing a vital link in any Australian tour, and exposing Melbourne audiences to the best jazz from across the country. Of note, the MJC provided Melbourne debuts for The Necks, the catholics, Sandy Evans, the Mike Nock Quartet and Bernie McGann Quartet.
Annual new music festival presented by the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.
The fabulous art gallery in Hobart, Tasmania has an annual festival, FOMA, that features musical innovators.
There is a very real need for Australian performers and composers to be recognised through the recording process. From its inception in 1968, Move has provided the means for Australia’s best classical and innovative musicians to have their work recorded, published, and exposed to the public.
We are a recording label that concentrates primarily in classical music, particularly Melbourne-based musicians and composers. Although we venture out into jazz and contemporary fields, broad diversity would only serve to dilute our specialised focus.
We endeavour to offer as many performers as possible the opportunity of having their work recorded. A published recording is tangible evidence that their work is recognised by the Australian community, as well as internationally.
The New Music Network (NMN) is dedicated to the promotion and performance of Australian new music and is a collective of 30 impressive and passionate contemporary music ensembles, sound artists and organisations from around Australia. The NMN hosts the annual Peggy Glanville-Hicks Address held in November this year with guest speaker Genevieve Lacey and also runs a performer development project, the New Music Mini Series. Information about the NMN, its members and projects can be found on the website.
The current members are Acacia Quartet, Aphids, Aurora New Music, Australia Ensemble, austraLYSIS, Campbelltown Arts Centre, Chamber Made Opera, Chronology Arts, Clocked Out, Continuum Sax, Decibel, Ensemble Offspring, Fat Rain Music, Green Room Music, Halcyon, Jazz Groove, Kammer Ensemble, Madeleine Flynn and Tim Humphrey, Moorambilla Voices, The Noise Quartet, The Now Now, Soundstream, Speak Percussion, Sunwrae Ensemble, Sydney Improvised Music Association (SIMA), Synergy & TaikOz Ltd, The Song Company, Topology, West Head Project and the What is Music? Festival.
Vivid Sydney, the 18-day festival of light, music and ideas (2013) is collaborating with the Seymour Centre to expand to Sydney’s Inner West with Vivid Sydney at Seymour. Vivid Sydney at Seymour’s New Wave: Sound brings the latest in innovative music to new Sydney audiences with a two-day program featuring a forum by music industry luminaries on developing trends in music, as well as the freshest improvised, experimental and electronic sounds.
New Wave: Sound Curator is Andrew Batt-Rawden, Artistic Director of Seymour-resident company Chronology Arts. ‘Vivid Sydney is all about providing new experiences, and the New Wave: Sound range of multi-channel devised works of sonic art have been thoughtfully conceived by the artists to offer exquisite performances of unique sound.’
The NOW now began life in October 2001 arising from a grass roots desire; there was no other institution in Sydney fostering and developing improvised music. The NOW now continues to be a community-run forum for musical exchange in Sydney’s improvised/experimental/exploratory music community.
The name, the NOW now, comes from this quote from the late Derek Bailey: ‘Of course there’ll be another NOW along shortly, but it won’t be the same NOW. It won’t be this NOW; the NOW now. There is no other activity that is as well equipped to deal with the recognition that the present is absolutely unique as playing is.’ Derek Bailey, 1930-2005
The NOW now aims to facilitate the regular performance of improvised music, create opportunities for new collaborations between experienced and emerging artists and promote interdisciplinary music practice.
Brisbane-based death metal label.
The People’s Republic of Australasia
Presents performances in Sydney. No website and we have to leave you to snoop out the contact.
PICA is one of Australia’s leading centres for the development and presentation of contemporary art. Housed in a large and striking heritage building in the heart of Perth, Western Australia, PICA is the city’s focal point for those wishing to experience the best of Australian and international visual, performing and cross-disciplinary art.
PICA is both a producing and presenting institution that runs a year round program of changing exhibitions, seasons in contemporary dance, theatre and performance and a range of interdisciplinary projects. PICA’s key aim is to promote, support and present contemporary arts and to stimulate critical discussion around the arts and broader cultural issues. Providing a site for experimentation, critical analysis, discussion and debate is fundamental to its charter. PICA is known for the rigour and breadth of its artistic and education programs, high production standards and impeccable presentation. In many aspects of its operations, PICA might be understood as an incubator: providing resources, mentoring and support for both emerging and mature artists whilst promoting new and emerging ideas, forms and practices to the broader community. PICA is an icon of contemporary thinking – it is a catalyst for innovative and ground breaking art and culture. Not constrained by convention, PICA gives artists and audiences a glimpse of what is possible.
Realtime is a print and online bimonthly that documents ‘hybrid’ practice, but as so much of this is from the sound/new music world, it has become one of the primary documentation services for much new work.
Brisbane organisation offering performances, recordings, promotions. See the article in this issue about Lawrence English.
Rufus is a small, Sydney-based label with a very serious commitment to Australian jazz. Its catalogue includes many of Australia’s finest jazz musicians. In 2013, it is in its twentieth year.
Shame File Music specialises in documenting Australian experimental music, both contemporary and historical. Originating in the early 1990s, Shame File began as a tape label releasing and distributing cassettes of punk and noise bands. Later, the label moved to CDR, CD and online releases, along with an interest more concerned with experimental music.
As well as producing our own releases, Shame File also hosts an extensive mailorder catalogue that represents the many varied facets of Australian experimental music. The punk ethos remains with the availability of obtaining releases via trades as well by purchase. Landmark releases such as Artefacts of Australian Experimental Music and the online reissue of NMATAPES has positioned Shame File Music as a significant documenter of the history of Australian experimental music.
Silo Arts & Records is a forward thinking internet record label, based one half in NYC, and one half in Brisbane, Australia. Dedicated to releasing the highest quality audio goods, the Silo Arts roster spans a diverse range of sounds, with a focus on originality, integrity and artistic vision.
Soundstream: Adelaide New Music Festival is a celebration of New Music in Australia. The festival was founded in 2008 by Artistic Director Gabriella Smart with the specific aim of creating a national and international profile for contemporary classical music in South Australia and to reflect and shape contemporary Australian culture through excellence in new music performance practice, composition and education. Emerging and established local composers are showcased alongside seminal contemporary classical works from around the world. As an annual independent music festival, Soundstream is committed to the development of contemporary music practices and the creation of new works through the support of both emerging and established Australian composers and performers. The result is a unique experience in contemporary chamber music, internationally recognized for its innovative programming. As the only event of its kind in South Australia, Soundstream is providing audiences and artists alike with the opportunity to engage in a local and relevant forum.
Sydney Improvised Music Association Inc (SIMA) is committed to facilitating the performance of contemporary jazz and improvised music. We aim to be recognised as the leading national contemporary jazz organisation, through our ability to program music of excellence for existing and new audiences, and our support of a vibrant jazz culture in Sydney and Australia.
Super Critical Mass (SCM) is a sonic arts company that brings together ‘masses’ of musicians playing identical instruments, spatialised within public places. The results are immersive and meditative performance-installations that articulate both instrument and architecture, within which audiences can freely move about or sit and absorb. SCM is thus a contemporary take on a number of traditions including the orchestra, homogenous ensembles, sound installation, community arts, and public art practice. The Masses. SCM operates across a wide range of scales, from intimate to spectacular: NANO MASSES for multiple dispersed duets; MICRO MASSES for trios through to octets; SUB MASSES for several dozen performers; SUPER MASSES for 100+ performers in vast spaces.
A variety of sites and instruments have been explored to date. This includes a range of buildings and outdoor areas (such as warehouses, public squares, parklands and lakes) whilst instrumental groupings have drawn from woodwinds (flutes, clarinets, saxes), brass and percussion (bells, triangles)—yet no site or instrumental grouping is beyond SCM’s future exploration.
Under the direction of Australian artists Julian Day, Luke Jaaniste and Janet McKay, SCM takes up short- and long-term residencies in cities around the world. In each location, they work closely with local performers, ensembles, venues, universities, festivals and cultural agencies, forging new connections and building on existing partnerships. Projects usually develop through multiple phases, including: site visits, instrumental explorations, artist talks, performer workshops, creation of ‘algorithms’, rehearsals, public presentations of masses, and post-project reflection. All this is documented through audio, image, video and text.
To create the masses, SCM works with simple, memorisable algorithms for generating sonic-spatial patterns—which are communicated to performers as verbal instructions. These algorithms are actively tuned to the particularities of the architecture, instruments and presentational context, with algorithm variables adapted on-the-fly during the performer workshops. Furthermore, the typical paraphernalia of musical performance is removed (there is no conductor, scores or stands) ensuring the connection between performers, sounds, space and audience is as direct and rich as possible. Just as importantly, such simplicity means that performers of various backgrounds, ages and skill levels can come together and create work of depth and nuance—from young performers to world-class professionals.
Tall Poppies is a non-profit Australian record company which promotes Australian composers, musicians, graphic artists and poets. Founded in 1991, it was the first company in Australia to focus on the recording of solo and chamber music, with an emphasis on standard repertoire. Tall Poppies is run by Belinda Webster, herself a musician and recording producer. All recording artists have input into, and control over what they record and how they are presented.
Tall Poppies is committed to presenting the work of Australian composers. Tall Poppies complements other activities in the Australian market by producing :
- single-composer chamber music collections
These promote the composer, often by choosing music spanning a number of years. The composer is always involved in the preparation of the CD, from the choice of repertoire and artists to participation in recording, editing and presentation.
- performer-based multi-composer collections
These promote performers or ensembles, and are often intended to highlight the performers’ dedication to Australian music. Frequently the recorded works have been commissioned and premiered by the performer. Tall Poppies also aims to promote the work of Australian musicians. We believe that Australian musicians offer a unique perspective on the music of the world. Tall Poppies tries to capture the fresh and distinctive approach that our musicians offer to standard repertoire. Tall Poppies is unique in Australia in that it commissions works for recording. To date, Tall Poppies has commissioned 47 new works.
Fringe electronica, recordings and live performances. Melbourne based artist collective. Still releases recordings on cassette.
Tura New Music Ltd is a not for profit music organisation based in Perth, Western Australia. Tura is a producer as well as resource centre and advocate for New Music. Founded in 1987 Tura has a proud history of achievement in initiating cultural development in Western Australia from inner city Perth to the remote communities.
Tura presents a year round program of events including:
- The Totally Huge New Music Festival
- Sounds Outback
- Scale Variable New Chamber Music Series
- Club Zho
- Regional Touring Program
- Remote Residency Program
- Artists in Residence Program
Tura houses an impressive archive of Western Australian New Music material which is currently being catalogued and prepared for establishing an online archive, in partnership with Edith Cowan University. As a service provider, Tura supports the careers of composers, sound artists and performers as well as advising a broad range of organisations on New Music and sound initiatives.
Tura’s purpose is to be the peak body for New Music in Western Australia, advocating for and supporting the full life cycle of New Music – the creation, development, promotion, presentation and distribution of New Music – for its artists, organisations and audiences, locally, nationally and internationally.
Two Bright Lakes is an independent, artist-run label based in Melbourne, Australia. Since forming in 2007 we have released records by Nick Huggins, Seagull, Kid Sam, Oscar+Martin, Collarbones, Otouto among many others, put on visually and aurally engaging live shows at venues throughout Australia, produced some exciting video art and animation and are continuously cultivating ideas, shaping them into new art and music. Two Bright Lakes exists as a way to share the information, skills and resources of a gang of like-minded individuals, helping to support their mutual creative passions and endeavours and bring them to a wider audience. Two Bright Lakes is constantly evolving, embracing new artists and technologies, and travelling further afield to find new people, ideas and experiences around the world.
What Is Music? Festival
Active when the muse takes its organisers.
The Wired Lab is an artist-led organisation evolving interdisciplinary art practices in rural Australia. We create opportunities for the research, production and presentation of projects that connect international and local artists with communities in new ways. Our curated programs and projects involve artists working from a regional context whilst producing outcomes of local and global relevance. Our activities range from skills development for young people, seniors, emerging and mid-career artists, to the creation, presentation, publication and promotion of new works and major live arts projects.
Since its establishment in 1987, Wirripang has become the leading Australian independent print music publisher of Australian classical and jazz music. The aim of Wirripang is to encourage Australian composers and musicians with a like-minded passion and vision for quality music and to assist them in every way possible by promoting their music. In so doing, Wirripang is also publishing teaching resource books, compilation print music albums and producing CDs to showcase composers’ works. Wirripang pays its composers generous royalties on direct sales, so buy direct from Wirripang and support its composers for their intellectual input.
Sydney-based electronica record label supporting emerging talent.
Assembled by: Richard Letts. First published in Music Forum Vol. 20, No. 1, November (Summer) 2013. Entered on Knowledge Base 29 November 2013.
Dr Richard Letts AM is the founder and Director of The Music Trust, founder and former Executive Director of the Music Council of Australia (now Music Australia) and Past President of the International Music Council. He has held senior positions in music and culture in Australia and the United States, advocated for music and music education, conducted research, written policy documents, edited four periodicals, published four books and hundreds of articles.