World premieres, certainly from an Australian standpoint, don’t come much bigger than this! NED KELLY, composed by Luke Styles with libretto by Peter Goldsworthy and given birth here by Lost and Found as part of the 2019 Perth International Arts Festival.
Performed at the heritage listed No1 Mill at Jarrahdale the venue is an enormous 2 sided tin sawmill shed, and it is the first time this had been used as a performance space.
With an orchestra of 17 and instruments including banjo and branch of eucalyptus, the orchestra and performers were guided through this score (a fantastic melting pot of folk song and percussion) by the steady ever reliable hand of a proud Chris van Tuinen at the helm…..this was no easy feat given the barn like quality of the venue and distance between performers and players. The chorus, made up of singers from the community, sang and danced and seemed to be having much fun.
The cast did a mighty job! Amongst them, Adrian Tambourini was in fine voice as Joe Byrne, as was Fiona Campbell as Ellen, with other roles taken by Pia Harris, Robert Macfarlane and Matt James Ruben Ward. The role of Ned, is understandably big and Sam Dundas is towering and simpatico in the role. His voice is full and glorious in both sung and spoken text. I hope this opera is taken up elsewhere, it deserves to be and is an important addition to the Australian operatic canon….and everyone needs to see Sam as Ned.
Luke Styles (b.1982)
New work, On Bunyah (London première) 
Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958) On Wenlock Edge
 Co-commissioned by Britten Sinfonia with the support of donors to the Musically Gifted campaign, and by Wigmore Hall with the support of André Hoffmann, president of the Fondation Hoffmann, a Swiss grant-making foundation
“This new song cycle for tenor Mark Padmore (and the Britten Sinfonia in a chamber formation of string quartet and piano) set’s a series of 10 poems by Australian poet Les Murray, from his most recent collection, On Bunyah.
The cycle charts a loose narrative and progression of themes, where the tenor can be identified as a ‘poet farmer’ character. This central figure gives voice to many aspects of Australia (the bush, land, kangaroos, fire, death, machinery and the 20/21st Century) without sentimentality. The distinctive Australian flavour of this collection of poems embraces the similar experiences and challenges of other rural communities with the ‘poet farmer’ functioning as both a rural and modern day ‘every-man’.” Luke Styles
Jacqueline Shave, violin
Miranda Dale, violin
Clare Finnimore, viola
Caroline Dearnley, cello
Huw Watkins, piano
Mark Padmore, tenor
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.”
In 2014 Tait Awards have increased by 27% from 2013/14. This increase has largely been due to the excellent response to our new Friends scheme and the increased level of donations from our generous supporters. The names of our Friends and our major donors can be found here
With our new ‘Adopt a Performer’ scheme we have two scholarships of £5,000 per annum over three years. The aim of this scheme is to offer continuity of funding to the artists over the term of their academic studies and to link a donor directly with an awardee.
Last year Kevin Penkin, composer, was the inaugural ‘Tait Scholar’ supported by the Baring family. This year he continues his studies at The Royal College of Music. We are delighted that Kevin has agreed to accept our commission for a new piece of music for flute and orchestra entitled, Changing Feet, to be premiered at our Winter Prom 9th December 2014. Tait Awardee, Nicola Crowe is to play the flute solo.
Waynne Kwon, cello is the inaugural recipient of the Higgins family scholarship. Waynne is about to commence his undergraduate studies at the Royal Northern College of Music.
This year we are supporting 4 singers, 3 cellists, 2 accompanists, 3 composers, 1 viola, 1 flute and for the first time we are supporting a Trio, The Darian Trio which is based in Vienna.
We have a fund of £8,000 to support The Leanne Benjamin Awards for 2014/15 This fund was the result of The Leanne Benjamin Awards launch at The Royal Ballet School and a generous donation from Lady Roberttson. These awards will be announced later this year.
Adopt a Performer – £5,000 per annum over three years
Kevin Penkin, composition
Royal College of Music
Wayne Kwonn, Cello
Royal Northern College of Music
Higgins Family Award