Monism (for marimba and violin) was inspired by Hindu philosophy, was composed in 1994 for Pal Eder, violin, and Gary France, marimba. It received its world premiere at the Perth Institute of Contemporary Art, Western Australia, in 1995. Monism can be heard on my instrumental CD: “Fluctuating States of Calm” and Gary France’s CD “Works for Percussion”.
Duo for Flute and Cello was first performed by Virginia Taylor and David Pereira at the Canberra International Chamber Music Festival in 2000. It is an exploration into 12-tone music and the potential of melody within such a rigid compositional technique.
Three Miniatures for Piano Trio, composed in 2002, is a set of three quirky pieces with quirky titles. The first movement, “Stravinsky’s Book” was so named because of a musical focus I was engaged in at the time, studying a lot of Stravinsky and immersing myself in his music. “Playing in the Shadows” was how my friend, John Pin, and I agreed to describe the playing of Jazz guitarist, Bill Frisell. “You’re Sitting on My Thoughts” is just such a great phrase…..important notes left behind on a seat during rehearsal.
Miss Mugwort was composed in 1996 and is dedicated to my first born daughter, Antoinette (Nette) Elizabeth France. Although the instrumentations is based on Schoenberg’s Pierro Lunaire, the soundscape of the work is in stark contrast to the late, and great, serial composer. With tongue-in-cheek, Miss Mugwort is a melodic, Jazz influenced chamber work rich in counterpoint and rhythmic complexity. The work is named after a children’s story-book series written by Linda Britnell and illustrated by Joanna Walsh, which features a contrary fairy whose name is Nettie Mugwort.
From a Black Sky is a 3-act opera featuring four soloists, a large chorus, a children’s choir and a teenage vocal ensemble. During the compositional process of From a Black Sky, librettist Helen Nourse and I were fortunate to benefit from several developmental workshops. In 2010 the work, known at the time as Playing with Fire, was selected by Victorian Opera and Chamber Made Opera, as part of their inaugural program, NOVA (New Opera Ventures Australia). Two subsequent workshops at the Street Theatre, Canberra, in 2011 and 2012 were pivotal in stabilising the work into a cohesive dramatic piece and facilitated the refinement of From a Black Sky into its final state. I have included some excerpts below for you to listen to, however, to fully appreciate the scale of the work, you would be much better off watching the DVD, filmed at the Street Theatre, Canberra. (The DVD is available for purchase from my Store page).
Scored for full orchestra, and commissioned by the Sydney Symphony Orchestra in 2001, Heritage Overture pays homage to the musical heritage of Western classical and folk musics. It was performed on tour with the Sydney Sinfonia to regional NSW and has an accompanying educational package containing an in-depth analysis and related compositional activities.
Cellist David Pereira performed the world premiere of Fluctuating States of Calm, the track of my CD.
I met Robert Levy through my dear friends, and exceptional musicians, John and Jean Roberts. At the time, Bob was the director of Lawrence University’s Wind Ensemble. He kindly agreed to have his ensemble perform and record Kroger March, a piece I wrote upon my return to Australia as a reflection of my experiences of living in the U.S. It is a light-hearted commentary on University life in North America, and the prominence of marching bands and wind ensembles, plus the ubiquitous super-market chain of the South West, Kroger.
After studying Jazz piano at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA), my world of harmony and rhythm opened up immensely. Coupled with a traditional foundation in Classical Piano and Music Theory, the study of Jazz was an extremely liberating experience. To be able to play through Debussy and Ravel scores and identify dominant 13th chords descending by whole-tones was the beginning of a new harmonic clarity for me, igniting within me a new passion for the limitless possibilities of music. Whilst a student, I composed a number of Jazz tunes, some of which are included below.
“The Three Faces of Eve: The Child” is a work that forms part of a larger Suite composed by three women composers; myself, Sue Bluck and Cathy Travers, from Perth, Western Australia, in 1994. It was commissioned by the Western Australian Jazz society, and was a collaborative work featuring three female Jazz artists and a number of Jazz and Classical musicians from Perth. The Three Faces of Eve is an exploration into three stages of a woman’s life, with each composer creating a suite to represent a different stage. I wrote the opening movement, The Child,which is composed for Jazz rhythm section plus two violins, oboe, saxophone and trombone.
I composed “Rouse Remorse” when saxophonist Charlie Rouse died. We took advantage of a spare moment when American guitarist Peter Leitch was visiting Perth, to record this tune at Planet Studios.
“Got the Bug” is one of my earliest Jazz compositions, which was inspired by Thelonious Monk.
MUSIC FOR YOUNG PEOPLE
During my time teaching at Erindale College, Canberra, I composed two youth musicals: Almost Hell (2005) and Cinderella (2006).
Written for a talented group of Music students (pictured right), the Almost Hellscore is a heavy- metal extravaganza which engaged 6 electric guitarists, 2 drummers, a bass player and a keyboardist.
On a lighter note, the subsequent production of Cinderella had an equally impressive team of young musicians, featuring an eight-part vocal ensemble, a keyboardist, clarinetist, saxophonist, guitarist, bass player and drummer. The score contains a number of songs that are funk and folk based with original lyrics set to the popular children’s story.
Buckets, Shovels and Toys, published by Alfred’s Publishing, is a choral piece for young children from Junior to Middle Primary School.