My opera from a few years ago, ‘The Riders’, with libretto by Alison Croggon after Tim Winton, is currently onstage at His Majesties (until Saturday), in a wonderful remount by West Australian Opera, conducted by Brad Cohen.
He’s assembled a brilliant cast, and I couldn’t be happier.
Ros Appleby calls it “A stunning piece of theatre we can be unashamedly proud of.” Full review from the West Australian here .
A few days ago I had the great privilege of working with many of WA’s finest artists on the opening event of the 2016 Perth International Arts Festival. Directed by the extraordinary Nigel Jamieson, working tightly alongside Noongah Elder Richard Walley, it finished with a wondrous performance by Tim Minchin and the WA Youth Orchestra of his perfect song of belonging – ‘Not Perfect’.
You can watch the video here
And a few quotes from the press about the event:
The Australian – Perth International Arts Festival Gives Welcome to West Country – “By virtue of its geography and isolation, Perth can offer festival-goers an experience that is different from festivals on the far eastern side of the continent. The city – birthplace of the modern welcome to country – goes out of its way to extend hospitality.”
The West Australian – All the comforts of Home in tender Festival opening – “Perth International Arts Festival artistic director Wendy Martin has stepped out of the 2015 shadows of The Giants with a powerful statement of State identity at the opening event.”
The Sydney Morning Herald – Perth Festival: Tim Minchin helps lift the shadow of The Giants with heartfelt concert – “Home was bold and big-hearted, with a strong political message of recognising past wrongs and promoting an inclusive future told through music, words and dazzling visual projections.”
The Rabbits, a show I helped the brilliant Kate Miller-Heidke compose the music for, has won four Helpmann Awards, including Best Original Score and Best New Australian Work.
It’s an adaption of the Shaun Tan and John Marsden book of the same name and premiered at the Perth Festival in February this year.
Bookings are now open for the Melbourne Festival season. It sold out in Perth – get in quick.
My Percussion Concerto Dances with Devils, written for long time collaborator Claire Edwardes had its premiere last month with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra under Benjamin Northey and then the following week with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra under Nicholas Carter.
The reaction has been extraordinary. Audiences gave it standing ovations after every performance, and critics and players alike have been wildly enthusiastic in their praise. I was thrilled by the commitment and energy of all the performers involved – it’s a privilege to have one’s music played by such fine musicians.
You can hear it next Wednesday on ABC ClassicFM with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra.
And here are some reviews…
“★★★★★ In Claire Edwardes’ hands, Iain Grandage’s eclectic, new percussion concerto is spectacular. “ “Internationally acclaimed percussionist Claire Edwardes and the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra joined forces to present a spectacular concert that was a testament to their calibre and stamina. Australian composer Iain Grandage’s thrilling new percussion concerto, Dances with Devils, was… the highlight of the afternoon concert” Delia Bartle, Limelight Magazine 27th July 2015
Full Review here :
“As a collaboration between percussionist Claire Edwardes and composer Iain Grandage, the four-movement work Dances with Devils took Australian gothic stories and depicted them in vividly dynamic ways, utilising an eclectic collection of instruments and effects, including slowly dipping tubular bells into water. Edwardes’ virtuosity combined with Grandage’s clever writing made for a particularly enjoyable aural feast.” Joel Carnegie , Sydney Morning Herald. July 19, 2015
Full Review here :
It was my great privilege last week to conduct the premiere of a new work that I wrote with dear friend and playwright Kate Mulvany titled Towards First Light. The combined forces of the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, Elder Conservatorium Chorale with soloists Taryn Fiebig and Jud Arthur were exceptional in their commitment to the work, and it was a thrill to help them pay homage to War Veterans past and present.
You can listen to it for another three weeks or so by following the links on this page here
And here are some reviews
“Grandage shows us intimacy, vulnerability, inspiration, comfort and desolation in this exceptional piece… …Towards First Light is a majestic and noble memorial in the grand tradition of great orchestral choral music, and a glorious and fitting of work of Remembrance.” Gordon Forester, Limelight Magazine 24th April 2015
Full Review here:
“Another attempt at myth-building around the Anzac legend may be cause for scepticism, but Iain Grandage’s Towards First Light is a powerful work, noble in spirit, that in its direct honesty sweeps aside any such concern.”
“… this was a memorable world premiere of a major new Australian work. Grandage conducted a polished Adelaide Symphony Orchestra with tremendous flair and energy.” Graham Strahle, The Australian 24th April 2015
Full Review here: [behind paywall]
The critical and audiences responses to The Riders has been extraordinary and, with the season sold out, I can’t thank all those involved enough. Here are some of the reviews, with links.
“…an opera of rare dramatic power, utmost musicality and first-rate performances. “ Michael Shmith, The Age 24/9/2014 Full Review here
“.. a bewitching jewel of contemporary music theatre.” Peter Burch The Australian 25/9/2014 Full Review here
“The real star of the night was Grandage’s radiant new score” Peter Rose Australian Book Review 24/9/2014 Full Review here
“…a compelling and beautifully sung new work by a talented team.” Kate Herbert Herald Sun 26/9/14 Full Review here
“…the music has an immediate beauty and power, strongly supporting the dramatic action and the inherent emotional beats of the story. Simon Parris Man in Chair 24/9/14 Full Review here
“Grandage’s music, his first opera, is a concoction of musical style that colours the visual and dramatic landscape throughout, often with supernatural awe. Folk, cabaret, Mediterranean vernacular and oratorio are employed with expressive force, accompanied by exceptional vocal structures.” Paul Selar. Bachtrack 26/9/2014 Full Review here
“Ian (sic) Grandage’s score, tightly conducted by VO artistic director Richard Mills, beautifully echoes her trill. His music is attentive, elusive in melody as we’ve come to expect from contemporary opera but vivid and distinctly Australian.” Jason Whittaker Daily Review Full Review here
“The Riders is an exciting and important new piece of Australian opera and theatre. It’s grand and intimate..” Anne-Marie Peard Aussie Theatre 27/9/2014 Full Review here
A year of my creative life finally takes flight on Tuesday 23rd September, with the premiere of my first opera The Riders.
The cast, led by the superlative Barry Ryan, have been a wonder to work with, as have the creative team and all those at the commissioning company Victorian Opera and their co-presenters at Malthouse Theatre. Tickets are almost all sold out,and the performances run on the following dates in the Merlyn Theatre at The Coopers Malthouse. All shows at 7.30pm.
Performance # 1 – Tuesday 23 September 2014
Performance # 2 – Thursday 25 September 2014
Performance # 3 – Friday 26 September 2014
Performance # 4 – Saturday 27 September 2014
Performance # 5 – Tuesday 30 September 2014
Performance # 6 – Wednesday 1 October 2014
Performance # 7 – Friday 3 October 2014
Performance # 8 – Saturday 4 October 2014
Needless to say, I’m unspeakably excited.
It of course belongs to that amazing group The Camerata of St John’s who memorized swathes of my music, and performed it amidst leaping dancers. I’ve never felt more supported by any group of musicians ever.
In good news, they received their own recognition at the APRA Art Music Awards, receiving the Queensland State Award. At those same awards, Cath Crock was recognised with the Award for Excellence by an Individual for her work with the Hush Foundation, commissioners of much fine music, one tiny part of which is my work Suspended on the Hush 13 CD.
This Saturday night, the 12th October, Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu will present a series of his songs for the Melbourne Festival in the Sidney Myer Music Bowl. He will be joined onstage by Sarah Blasko as well as his long time musical collaborator Michael Hohnen, a 4 piece band and 30 piece orchestra, conducted by me.
It is an immense privilege to share the stage with one of Australia’s great singers – he carries another world in his voice, singing songs of tremendous beauty and truth. I can’t recommend him highly enough.