We are delighted to publicly release the video recording of Dame Joan Sutherland’s 70th Birthday Gala at Australia House, London 1996 to celebrate her birthday today.
The event was a joint production of the Australian Music Foundation, then celebrating its 21st year, and the 4-year-old Tait Memorial Trust. We hope you enjoy watching this magical moment from 21 years ago.
The gala event was creatively directed by Jan Black. Jan has worked closely with us to bring this archive recording in memory of Dame Joan Sutherland to you.
It was a great opportunity to bring together Dame Joan and Maestro Bonynge’s love of the Operetta repertoire with all the extraordinary Australian generation of singers who were living in London at that time, in a beautiful Viennese Christmas Gala concert and dinner.
It was a challenging trying to co-ordinate everyone as well as Dame Joan and Richard, to all be in London on that night as everyone had very busy international careers. We turned the fabulous exhibition hall at Australia House on its side and used the marble columns as a proscenium. Dickie Lowe’s exquisite stage design which featured commedia dell’arte masks was the perfect complement to the musical performances. It all worked amazingly well and thanks to all the hard work of Jan and the rest of the Committee, the evening was a great financial and artistic success and Dame Joan looked so happy. Also a wonderful tribute to the beautiful late Deborah Riedel.
Entitled, ‘A Viennese Christmas Gala’ the concert was conducted by Richard Bonynge with the Britten Sinfonia, and featured Australian artists, Yvonne Kenny, Deborah Riedel, Jeffrey Black, Julian Gavin, Anne-Maree McDonald, Glenn Winslade, Paul Ferris, Christina Wilson, Liane Keegan & Joanna Cole who stepped in for an indisposed Amanda Thane. It was a fabulous night that we will never forget.
The events principal sponsors were Mercury Asset Management, Hartley Poynton Ltd, Qantas, R.T.Z plc & The Lynn Foundation. The generosity of all of the donors was extraordinary. You can find their names in the credits of the concert video.
Special mention must be made of HE The Hon. Neal Blewett AC who graciously allowed us to use the then recently refurbished Australia House. It was a great night to be an Australian.
Happy Birthday Dame Joan from us all at the Tait Trust.
Jayson Gillham is a featured artist in our 25th Anniversary Concert, Stuart Skelton sings Wagner at St Paul’s Church Knightsbridge on Wednesday 13 September at 7pm. Tickets are still available book here via this link
On homesickness, networking and practice techniques.
Your newly released third album features the rarely-heard Medtner Piano Concerto No. 1 in C Minor. How did you discover the work and what was the process for programming the remainder of the record?
I was asked to learn Medtner’s first concerto for a feature documentary about the Australian pianist Geoffrey Tozer. Along the way I asked ABC Classics General Manager Toby Chadd whether it was something they would like to record and he liked the idea very much. At the time I was also working on the Rachmaninoff No. 2 with MSO for one of their free concerts at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl. It seemed like a great pairing, as the two men were contemporaries and friends. Toby Chadd suggested I add a couple of short solo works, and together we chose the beautiful Medtner ‘Angel’ and I chose the Rachmaninoff D major Prelude.
Performing for a live audience is, I imagine, a different beast to playing for a recording. Does the way you prepare the pieces going into the studio differ from the way you prepare for a live performance?
I always like to prepare everything as if it is for a live performance, however the process of studio recording is different. It could be compared to recording for film as opposed to live theatre. Sometimes you have to start at Act Two Scene Three and be immediately in character and aware of where this scene fits within the overall structure of the work. It can be mentally tiring because you need to maintain this intensity over a number of days.
Since relocating to London for study in 2007, you have performed across the globe with some of the world’s best orchestras and conductors. Can you tell me about that initial trip to the United Kingdom, what it was like to move away from Australia, and now how you look after yourself on the road when you’re away for so much of the year?
This is a great question. I can’t believe it’s already ten years since I left sunny Queensland. It’s a very difficult thing on reflection, to move so far away from home, and to be a country boy at heart who’s grown to form a love-hate relationship with city life. At the beginning, when I first moved to London, I was so caught up in the excitement of study at the Royal Academy of Music and new friends at my student halls that I didn’t realise what an upheaval it was. But after my first trip back to Australia I became very homesick. Over time things have settled to a point where I’m left with bittersweet feelings of being partly at home and partly out of place wherever I go.
I’m getting better at packing for trips. I don’t like quick trips where I have to take only hand luggage and be corralled through large clunky European airports. Those trips are very draining because what should be only a one or two hour flight ends up taking almost a full day by the time you factor in the train/bus journeys at either end and the 2-3hrs you need to be at the airport before the flight. European airports tend to serve a number of different cities and are not close to any of them. Australian domestic air travel is an altogether painless experience after flying in Europe.
I try to eat healthily and for me that means 95% of what I eat is whole plant foods. It’s a very nutritious diet that gives me a lot of energy and I tend to bounce back from the travel better now eating this way. For exercise, while I’m travelling it can be difficult. I really like Feldenkrais, which is popular amongst musicians but less well known than Alexander Technique. It teaches you a really fine awareness of your body through very gentle and pleasant movements. I can get away without massages most of the time now if I keep up with a regular Feldenkrais practice. It helps me to address an imbalance between the left and right sides of my body and a tightness in my mid back which can build up over time if I’m not careful and start to cause me problems. I have added this to my repertoire of strength and physio/pilates based exercises that I can take on the road with me anywhere. But I highly recommend to anyone, especially performing artists, to delve into Feldenkrais. There are endless resources online and a good place to start is www.feldenkrais.co.uk.
Being a professional pianist takes a lot more than just great technique and musicianship: in fact, you have to be fantastic at lots of non-musical things! Outside of the practice room, what have been the most important skills you’ve needed to develop?
For all musicians and especially those focused on mostly solo work and spending a lot of time alone, it is crucial to develop social skills and an ability to communicate with your audience. These days everyone wants to have a more personal connection with the artist and I always try to see the audience after the concert and say hello. For solo recitals in a more intimate or less formal setting, I will introduce each piece, talking about its historical context, its context in the life of the composer, and often my personal connection or experience with that piece.
Another critical skill is an ability to network and promote yourself and your work, with self-respect and discretion of course. At the end of the day no one is going to be as committed to helping you out as yourself, so it is very important to keep contacting promoters, agents, critics, etc, and finding other musicians you like and want to work with. The right tone and balance has to be struck, of course, because friendly reminders and updates can quickly turn into spam emails and unwanted calls.
With recitals and examinations fast approaching for students, getting performance-ready is the task at the front of the mind. Do you have any advice for musicians on dealing with feelings of performance anxiety and stage fright? How do you keep nerves in check before a performance?
I am perhaps not the best person to ask about performance anxiety because I know that it can range from nerves to something rather serious and debilitating, which fortunately I have not experienced. I think it would be wise for anyone with a crippling kind of anxiety to seek professional help in the form of therapy. There are many people who are very experienced in this and I have had friends who have benefited from therapy regarding performance anxiety.
I’ve been very lucky in that my nerves are mostly positive ones that help to make my performance more exciting and narrow my focus on stage. The only times I’ve had the bad kind of nerves is when I’ve felt underprepared, and so I would caution everyone, especially if they have to memorise their works, to know their music well enough that they can pick it up at a number of different points throughout the piece. Practising in a way that really reinforces forms of memory other than muscle memory is very important. Try practising a piece starting at a different point each time, and really get to know where you are structurally in the piece, such as what key you are in and where it modulates to next. Get to know your fingerings and inner voicings, and for pianists, practise the hands separately to the point of being able to completely memorise just the left hand, or try playing only the inner notes of chordal passages to strengthen your deep knowing of the piece. For a contrapuntal work, try singing one part whilst playing all the others. All of these tricks really help to secure a performance to the point where nerves are not going to cause debilitating worry on stage.
I think the more I’ve performed the more I’ve realised that the audience are there to enjoy the music, and they are not there to criticise me at every turn. There might be a couple of people in your average audience who go to concerts wanting to pick everything apart, but the vast majority are appreciative and understanding. People really want the performance to go well for you. And those listening who are performers/teachers/examiners, they have all been on stage themselves and know only too well the pressure of performing. They will also be hoping and wishing that it goes well for you.
Finally, if you could go back to the start of your performance career and give yourself one piece of advice about the industry, what would you say?
Repertoire! Learn lots of repertoire and learn it thoroughly, because later on you will have less time to learn new things. Look after your body. Learn languages (do as I say and not as I do when it comes to this one!).
Jayson Gilham’s new recording with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and Benjamin Northey is now available to purchase and download here.
The Tait Memorial Trust is to present renowned Australian tenor Stuart Skelton, at a gala concert to celebrate our 25th Anniversary at St Paul’s Church Knightsbridge, on Wednesday the 13th September at 7pm.
“Stuart Skelton’s Tristan is the finest account of Wagner’s most extreme and taxing operatic character…that I’ve ever seen or heard on a stage.” David Nice, The Arts Desk, June 2016
Stuart is arguably the world’s leading Wagnerian Heldentenor; he is critically acclaimed for outstanding musicianship, tonal beauty and for his intensely dramatic portrayals. As Tristan, he recently opened the 2017/18 season at the Metropolitan Opera, New York, and will make his long-awaited Royal Opera House debut singing Siegmund in Die Walküre in 2018.
He will shortly appear in this year’s BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall singing Florestan in Beethoven’s Fidelio. Accompanied by pianist Richard Peirson, Stuart will be joined by some of the Tait’s talented past and present awardees, Catherine Carby who is singing in the Royal Opera’s Ring Cycle next year, Deborah Humble who most recently recorded Erda for Naxos with Hong Kong Philharmonic, Katrina Sheppeard who last year sang Norma for English National Opera, Jayson Gillham who’s CD of Chopin, Bach and Schubert went to number 1 in Australia, and Liane Keegan, our first awardee, will return to London after a triumphant season in Melbourne’s recent Ring Cycle.
All are appearing to help raise funds for the Tait Trust’s work of providing scholarships for young performing artists from Australia and New Zealand studying in the UK. The evening will be introduced by Richard Wagner’s great-great grandson, Antoine Wagner.
Tuesday 28th February 2017
From 11am, Reception 6pm
Exhibition Hall, Australia House, Strand,
London, WC2B 4LA
A number of charities in the UK make an enormous contribution to the support of young Australians studying in the UK, to the promotion of educational and cultural exchanges between the UK and Australia, and to furthering the work of iconic Australian charities. The Australian Charity Art Auction will offer artworks by Australian artists or which feature Australian subjects and themes. The artworks will all have been donated from private collections, principally in the UK.
The artworks will initially be offered for on-line silent auction bidding throughout a two week period leading up to the final reception event, which is to be held at the Australian High Commission in London on Tuesday 28 February 2017. They will be on display for two days leading up to the event, and a small number, selected by the Advisory Committee, will be offered at the event by live auction, to be conducted by a Christie’s auctioneer
Passion in the Salon | Leighton House
Monday 6th March 2017
12 Holland Park Road, London, W14 8LZ
7 for 7.30pm
Join Ross Alley for the 4th Concert in the Salon.
Featuring our current Tait Awardees
Tait Friends | Stoke Lodge
Wednesday 3rd May 2017
45 Hyde Park Gate, London, SW7 5DU
6 for 6.30pm
Our 4th annual Friends event at Stoke Lodge. Courtesy of the Australian High Commissioner, HE The Hon. Alexander Downer AC, and Mrs Nicola Downer AM
Reflecting upon our 5th Tait Winter Prom and our rapidly approaching quarter century, I feel overwhelmed by the wonderful support and goodwill we had for this event, as for all of them since our very first concert with Liane Keegan at Australia House in 1992. A major Australian scholarship holder, Liane‘s arrival in the UK in that year prompted me to think about how we might set about trying to help talented young Australians arriving to study and work in Europe, and thus the Tait Memorial Trust was born.
2016 was another big and busy year for us, with three successful events, in addition to the Winter Prom. In the 2016/17 UK academic year 19 young artists will receive assistance from us, of awards totalling £40,000, which is more than triple the sum of only three years ago. Especially pleasing is the support of young dancers through the Leanne Benjamin Awards, and we look forward to extending our relationships with individuals and corporations who recognise the challenges facing very young Australian dancers leaving home and family to follow their dreams.
We also acknowledge a generous bequest from the Estate of Lady Mackerras, which will guarantee a ten year sponsorship of an orchestral chair for an Australian musician, in the Southbank Sinfonia, in the name of Sir Charles Mackerras. Heartfelt thanks to their daughter, Cathy, for appreciating and continuing the encouragement her father and mother always warmly extended to us.
The Trust has been honoured with such generous and continuing support and friendship from HE The Hon. Alexander Downer, High Commissioner for Australia, and his wife Nicola, who were our guests of honour at the Prom. With the help of a new enthusiastic and hard-working Tait Artistic Planning Committee, we again formed a near all-Australian chamber orchestra, a number of whom have been supported by the Trust in their studies. Our conductor Jessica Cottis, who is chairing this committee, is fast gaining recognition internationally for her work, and we are so very lucky to have her inspirational guidance as we continue to support the next generation of talented young Australians who come here to complete their studies.
We dedicated our first work, Mozart‘s Sinfonia Concertante for Violin, Viola and Orchestra K364 to our much loved Patron, The Dowager Countess of Harewood, on the occasion of her 90th Birthday. Once a professional violinist herself, this has special meaning for her. We are so grateful for Lady Harewood’s patronage over much of our 25 years – that she has wanted to share our cause has been very gratifying, and immensely helpful to us. A very happy 90th Birthday!
We are also deeply indebted to the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, who have been our Principal Partner for the past three years. We hope, as they see the important work we do for the young Australians in this highly competitive arts marketplace here, that their very welcome support will continue.
Chevalier Richard Gunter has once again generously sponsored our venue, this time the marvellous St John‘s Smith Square, and to our many individual sponsors and loyal supporters, all of whom we gratefully acknowledge below: we are so pleased to see your sponsorship growing year-on-year – we can‘t do without you!
Please continue to help us in any way you can (Click here for further information). Next year is our 25th anniversary and our work goes on! Happy Christmas, we look forward to seeing you in the New Year.
Isla Baring OAM
The Tait Memorial Trust
Tait Winter Prom Angels
Chev. Richard Gunter (Hire of the Hall)
The Hon. Sarah Joiner (Programme printing)
Mrs Jan Gowrie-Smith (Conductor)
The Linbury Trust
The Bernays Trust
Mr Kerry Rubie
Lady Rosa Lipworth CBE
Dame Norma Major DBE
Mrs Pamela Le Couter
Mr Patrick Kennedy
Mrs Lyn Robertson
Mr & Mrs J Bryant
Mr Christin Odey
Supported the Orchestra
Mr Peter Box
Mrs Katherine Scholfield
Mrs Lynette Braithwaite
The Hon. Susan Baring OBE
Mrs June Mendoza AM OBE
Countess of Portsmouth
Mr Henry Lumley
The Hon. Mrs Patricia Wyndham
Australia Day Foundation
Royal Over-Seas League
Australian Women‘s Club, London
The Cook Society
Roses Only UK
Raffle Prize donors
West Green Opera
Bobby Williams, Video
Hannan Images, Photo
Artistic Planning Committee
The Tait Chamber Orchestra
The Tait Committee
The Sidney Nolan Trust
We are very grateful for the support that we receive from
Commonwealth Bank of Australia
Tait Grainger Patron £10,000+
Julian Baring Family*
The Estate of Lady Mackerras*
Tait Sutherland Benefactor £5,000+
Sir David & Lady Higgins*
Mr John Frost AM*
Tait Bonynge Partner £3,000+
The Estate of Peggy Haim
Tait Helpmann Circle £1,000+
Mrs Jan Gowrie-Smith
Chevalier Richard Gunter
Mr & Mrs David Hunter
Mr Albert Kwok & Mrs Stephanie McGregor
Mr Andrew Loewenthal & Ms Eugenie White*
The Thornton Foundation
Mrs Margaret Rodgers
Mrs Jacqueline Thompson & Mr Damian Walsh
Mr Michael Whalley
Ms Karen Goldie-Morrison*
Ms Louise Worthington*
VEC Acorn Trust
TMT Frank & Viola Friends £500+
Mr Julian Agnew
Mr & Mrs Christopher Braithwaite
Mr Hugh Bayne
Tait Amis Supporter £250+
Mr John Coke
The Hon. Sarah Joiner
Mrs Anne Longdon
Mr & Mrs Jan Pethick
Mr Kerry Rubie
The Hon. Sir R. Storey Bt CBE
TMT Friends £75+
Miss Marylyn Abbott
Mr Eric Adler
Mrs June Allison
Ms Ariadne Jane Baring
The Hon. Mark Baring
The Hon. Susan Baring OBE
Mrs Nina Bialoguski
Mr Lindsay Birrell
Ms Sue Bradbury
Viscountess Harriet Bridgeman
Mrs Diana Burley
Mrs Lorraine Buckland
Mrs Jane Butter
Mr Marcus Clapham
Mrs Sandra Clapham
Mr John Crisp
Ms Fay Curtin
Mr Roger Davenport
Mrs Anne Davidson
Mrs Celeste Ekerick
Mr Edward Field
Dr Rodney Foale
Miss Rosemary Frischer
Mr Phillip Hart
Dr John Keets
Mr Patrick Kennedy
Mr Martin Kramer
Mrs Wendy Kramer
Lady Rosa Lipworth CBE
Mr Henry Lumley
Miss Joanna McCallum
Ms Sue McGregor
Ms Lisa Orlov
Ms Mary Rayner
Mr John Rendall
Ms Jacqueline Rowlands
Ms Katherine Scholfield
Mr Ian Tegner
Mrs Annette Thorp
Rev John Wates OBE
*Adopt a Performer
Concert at St Gabriel’s Church, Pimlico
Monday, 23rd January at 7 for 7.30pm
This concert is dedicated to the memory of Janet Alstergren Webb (1944 – 2016), beloved friend of the Tait Family.
We are thrilled to confirm that ABC Classics Artists, Seraphim Trio, will perform for us on Monday the 23rd January at St Gabriel’s Church, Pimlico. Join us as we venture into the Viennese salon of Beethoven and Schubert. Our program captures the explosion of Beethoven into Viennese life with his first publication and the devastating inner explorations of Schubert during his last year. Our journey promises to be an adventure of sound, emotion and conversation.
The proceeds from this concert will go towards our awards for 2017.
Beethoven Op. 1 No. 1 (25 mins)
2. Adagio cantabile
3. Scherzo: Allegro assai
4. Finale: Presto
Schubert trio in E flat Op. 100 (45 mins)
2. Andante con moto
3. Scherzando: Allegro moderato
4. Allegro moderato
Over the last two decades, Helen Ayres, Anna Goldsworthy and Tim Nankervis have remained steadfastly committed to chamber music – from building the contemporary repertoire, to developing new audiences and teaching the next generation of performers. Inspiring others through intelligent programming and a deep knowledge and love of chamber music, Seraphim Trio never fails to delight audiences.
“…absolute sonic cohesion and uniform musical maturity…a masterclass in chamber music technique and ensemble.” The Australian
“One of Australia’s finest” ArtsHub
“It’s important to acknowledge technical achievement but this performance was about so much more. The Seraphims delivered Beethoven’s music with empathy, not just for the composer’s intention, but also for each other’s contribution to the work.” ArtsHub
Winners of the Piano Trio Prize and the Audience Choice Award at the Australian National Chamber Music Competition in 2001 (now the Asia-Pacific Chamber Music Competition), Seraphim Trio has regularly performed at the Melbourne International Arts Festival, the Port Fairy Spring Music Festival, the Adelaide Festival of Arts, the Peninsular Summer Music Festival and in 2013, Opera Australia’s Ring Festival in Melbourne.
Alongside its acclaimed subscription series Seraphim Trio is frequently broadcast on ABC Classic FM and on the MBS network, and maintains a robust commissioning program, having recently premiered new works by Graeme Koehne, Andrew Ford, Elena Kats-Chernin, Calvin Bowman, Anne Boyd, Benjamin Martin, James Ledger. Seraphim frequently collaborates with Australia’s leading musicians: most recently with Diana Doherty, Paul Dean, Lisa Harper-Brown and David Elton.
The group has studied in Germany with Hatto Beyerle, and in Australia with William Hennessy, Eleonora Sivan, Mark Mogilevski, Ronald Farren-Price and Lois Simpson.
We are delighted to confirm that Helen Ayres has joined our Music Board. Helen is a Doctoral graduate from the University of Melbourne where she studied with Mark Mogilevsky and completed research into the music of the Romanian violinist and composer George Enescu, and served as Acting Head of Strings in 2007.
We were very lucky to have Helen as our concertmaster in our recent Tait Winter Prom, her experience and leadership was a pivotal part of the Tait Chamber Orchestra’s success. Helen is also a member of the internationally acclaimed, Seraphim Trio.
Their new CD, Beethoven Piano Trios is available to buy from the ABC online here
Helen is a Doctoral graduate from the University of Melbourne where she studied with Mark Mogilevsky and completed research into the music of the Romanian violinist and composer George Enescu, and served as Acting Head of Strings in 2007. She is a core member of the Melbourne Chamber Orchestra and its flagship ensemble, the Australian Octet.
Helen has previously held a full-time position with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, and has appeared as guest principal with Orchestra Victoria and the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra.
Helen has tutored for the Australian Youth Orchestra’s Young Australian Concert Artists and Young Symphonists programs, continuing a long association that started when she toured as concertmaster of the AYO to Asia, New Zealand, Japan, Europe and America.
As a regular chamber music recitalist and founding member of the Seraphim Trio, Helen is a guest of the Sydney International Piano competition and appears at music festivals throughout Australia.
Helen’s solo repertoire includes the Sibelius, Beethoven triple and Brahms double concertos. Her previous teachers have been Alice Waten, William Hennessy and Beryl Kimber. She currently lives in London where she performs as a member of the London Philharmonic Orchestra and is undertaking a year of pedagogical observation at the Yehudi Menuhin School. Helen is delighted to have performed as Concertmaster of the Tait Chamber Orchestra.
Anna is a founding member of Seraphim Trio, and records for the ABC Classics label. She is currently a Lecturer at the Elder Conservatorium of Music, Research Fellow at the J.M. Coetzee Centre for Creative Practice at the University of Adelaide, and Kenneth Moore Memorial Music Scholar at Janet Clarke Hall. Described by The Australian as a ‘musical ambassador’, and the Sydney Morning Herald as “one of the very best young non-fiction writers in Australia”, Anna Goldsworthy is an award-winning pianist and writer. Her first book, Piano Lessons, is an Australian best-seller and has been released in the United States and Korea, adapted for the stage, and is currently in development as a film. Anna’s writing has appeared in The Monthly, The Age, The Australian, and Best Australian Essays. Her new memoir Welcome to Your New Life is now available and her Quarterly Essay was released in June 2013.
Timothy studied at the Australian Institute of Music with Lois Simpson, graduating with Honours in 1998. He was awarded a Big Brother scholarship in 1995 and travelled to London where he studied with William Pleeth and Raphael Wallfisch. In 1999, he took up a scholarship to study with Vadim Chervov at the Tchaikovsky National Academy of Music in Kiev.
He returned to Australia and completed his Master’s degree at the University of Melbourne in 2002, studying with Nelson Cooke. He has also studied with Georg Pedersen, Denise Lawrence and David Berlin and prior to his appointment with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, he was enrolled as a Doctoral candidate at the University of Melbourne.
In 2000 he performed in a competition at the Australian National Academy of Music and was one of two musicians selected to perform as a soloist with Orchestra Victoria, playing Tchaikovsky’s Rococo Variations. Timothy Nankervis has won numerous awards for cello performance and chamber music and is a member of the acclaimed Seraphim Trio as well as performing with the Sydney Soloists and Linden String Trio. In 2004 and 2008, he performed with his colleague from the Seraphim Trio, violinist Helen Ayres, in the Sydney International Piano Competition to provide competitors with a piano trio for the chamber music component of the competition.
As a soloist, Timothy Nankervis has performed throughout Australia and has featured in numerous broadcasts for ABC Classic FM and 2MBS-FM.
Our Winter Prom is only two days away. Here is a snippet of a piano run for violist, Lisa Bucknell; violinist, Alex Isted & accompanist, Chad Vindin, who are rehearsing Mozart’s Concertante for Violin and Viola K 364. Lisa and Alex are both Masters graduates of the Royal College of Music and have already gained impressive solo and orchestral CV’s.
Tickets are still on sale for our concert at St John’s Smith Square celebrating our very talented awardees who have travelled to the UK to complete their advanced musical studies. The Tait Chamber Orchestra will be conducted by Jessica Cottis.
The conductor of this year’s Tait Memorial Trust concert on gender, education and musical styles.
It’s that time of year again in London when the beautiful concert hall at St. John’s Smith Square is taken over by the Australian, Tait Memorial Trust.
The venue will be filled with talented Australian musicians and singers, many having benefitted from a Tait music scholarship. November 30th will be an opportunity for audiences to hear a wonderful programme of music and spot the Australian stars of the future.
If you are living in London or have friends over there, you should rush to get tickets. Conducting and curating this concert will be the internationally acclaimed Australian-born conductor, Jessica Cottis. On a wet and stormy London morning we manage to Skype and I ask first about her involvement with the Tait Memorial Trust.
“I sit on their advisory board and together we make the artistic decisions for programming concerts,”
“I benefitted from a Tait scholarship myself so feel really excited to be working with students and professionals who have come up through the same route.”
We were delighted to learn that Western Australian composer and Tait Awardee, Kevin Penkin has composed an original score commissioned by Rio Tinto in 2016, to mark 50 years since Rio Tinto’s first contracted shipment of iron ore which departed Dampier for the Yawata Iron and Steel Company in Japan.
Ahead of this milestone, thousands of Australian contractors and suppliers laid almost 300 kilometres of railway, moved 12 million cubic metres of earth and rock and installed 300,000 tonnes of plant and equipment. The company also built the towns of Dampier and Tom Price, and dredged a port to accept the largest ore carriers of the day. Rio Tinto Iron Ore chief executive Chris Salisbury said
“When the MV Houn Maru set sail 50 years ago nobody could have predicted that Pilbara iron ore would underpin Australia’s economic growth. “The Pilbara’s vast iron ore deposits, and the people who developed them, have helped build modern Australia and some of the world’s leading economies,”
Kevin was our first Tait Scholar which enabled him to complete his studies at the Royal College of Music. The debut performance of Hoan Maru, by Perth Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Jessica Gethin was recorded live at the 50th anniversary celebration on Friday 26th August, 2016 at the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre.
B i o g r a p h y
Kevin Penkin is an Australian composer who has written for video games, anime, film and the concert stage. He won ‘Outstanding Vocal Theme’ at the 2013 Video Game Music Awards for his song ‘I Race the Dawn’, and was nominated for ‘Best Newcomer’ in 2012 by Square Enix Music Online for his work with Final Fantasy composer Nobuo Uematsu on the game ‘Juza Engi Engetsu Sangokuden’.
Since developing an interest for Japan at an early age, it was always a goal for Kevin to compose for both video games and anime. Recent efforts have seen him write for the anime series ‘Norn9’, and the highly anticipated sci-fi film ‘Under the Dog’. While expanding in the world of anime, he has remained passionate about video games, composing for the indie hits ‘Defenders Quest’, ‘Implosion – Never Lose Hope’, and ‘Deemo’.
Kevin moved to London in 2013 to attend the Royal College of Music to pursue a Masters of Composition for Screen, from which he graduated from in June of 2015. He was selected as the inaugural Tait Scholar which gave him a £5,000 per annum scholarship to support his studies. The Tait Trust commissioned an original piece for solo flute and Chamber Orchestra entitled ‘Changing Feet’ which was debuted at the 2014 Tait Winter Prom at St John’s Smith’s Square in December 2014.
Changing Feet is about changing pace. Leaving the world’s most isolated city to live in one of the most industrious and compact environments requires a huge mental change. This piece tries to reflect not only the mentality of someone who grew up in Perth, but the experience of moving to London and ultimately returning home back to Australia. This work explores what one could miss of Perth, be it the silence, the space or the natural beauty.
During his time as a student, he heavily expanded his efforts to be involved in local projects. As a result, Kevin is now working on UK based short films and theatre. He is also involved in concert music, writing for ensembles such as the ‘Perth Chamber Orchestra’, ‘Greywing Ensemble’, and the ‘And So Forth Opera Company’.
We are very grateful to Australian star ballet dancer, Steve McRae, who has kindly, once again, given us 2 tickets in the Grand Tier for The Royal Ballet’s, production of The Nutcracker8th December – 7.30pm, starring Lauren Cuthbertson & Federico Bonelli.
These highly coveted tickets to a sold-out performance of a Christmas favourite will be one of our prizes in our lucky programme draw at our Tait Winter Prom at St John’s Smith Square Wednesday 30 November.
More prizes will be announced in the coming days. Please come and support our talented young Australian performing artists.