Choral projects highlighted in new commissions to support diverse Australian composers

National broadcaster ABC has announced the recipients of its inaugural $90,000 Composer Commissioning Fund to support new Australian music from emerging and diverse voices.

Voices feature in four of 15 projects chosen from 150 applications, with music commissioned for ABC Classic and ABC Jazz. Each project involves the creation and recording of brand new works for broadcast and digital commercial release, supporting composers and musicians from traditionally under-represented groups.

More than half of the successful composers and performers under the commissioning fund, are female, while the composers of two of the projects identify as Indigenous Australians, three as LGBTQI+ and five as culturally and linguistically diverse.

The new music explores themes of Indigenous culture, motherhood, the Australian bush and LGBTQI+ experiences, and cross-cultural collaborations featuring more familiar classical and jazz instruments alongside an Indigenous choir, the Arabic Oud, Japanese Shō, Chinese pipa, banjo, harmonium and electrical cristal.

The Titjikala Womens’ Choir will work with Northern Territory singer/songwriter Nancy Bates and pianist/electrical cristal player Gabriella Smart to compose two new songs exploring intercultural dialogue and spiritual communication, centred on themes close to the women of Titjikala but universal to the entire creative team.

Emerging choral group Divisi Chamber Singers (photo above) will commission emerging composer Meta Cohen to write a song cycle for vocal consort and piano, in celebration of diversity in Australian LGBTIQ+ experiences and featuring newly-commissioned texts from four young Australian LGBTIQ+ poets.

Three Night Songs is a three-part collaboration between composer Heather Percy, the Sydney Chamber Choir and the choir’s Artistic Director Sam Allchurch.

In Connecting The Dots, eight new vocal tunes will be composed by singer Ilaria Crociani and collaborators Mirko Guerrini and Niko Schäuble, inspired by significant women from Australian history and beyond. Crociani and collaborators will be joined by a cast of Australian jazz voices, including pianist Tony Gould and guitarist Geoff Hughes.

Joe Gelonesi, Acting Content Manager for ABC Classic and ABC Jazz, said: ‘It was so pleasing to see an extraordinary range of creative responses from all over the country.

‘The diversity of talent and startling selection of music themes to be brought to audiences through the $90,000 composer commissioning fund bodes well for the future of quality classical and jazz music-making, and highlights the ABC’s vital role in the discovery and development of new Australian music.’

The successful applicants each receive up to $6000 to support the writing and recording of their work, a studio session at the ABC, airplay for the completed recording on ABC Classic or ABC Jazz, and the commercial digital release of their work via ABC Music.

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