Chicago’s Super-musos Premier Sydney Composer’s New Work

Chicago’s Super-musos Premier Sydney Composer’s New Work

Eighth Blackbird perform world premiere of Holly Harrison’s new work -commissioned for Musica Viva Australia with support from Geoff Stearn and the Hildegard Project.

Sydney composer Holly Harrison has composed a new piece for music group Eighth Blackbird’s 2017 Australia tour (from 20 February – 3 March). Based in Chicago, the Blackbirds have just been named2017 Ensemble of the Year by Musical America. Steve Reich has written Pulitzer-winning music for them and last year they were ensemble in residence at the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art. The LA Times calls them a “new breed of super-musicians”.

Entitled LobsterTales and Turtle Soup, Harrison’s work is inspired by chapters nine and ten of Lewis Carroll’s book,Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865). The main characters are the Gryphon and the Mock Turtle, both composites of different animals. “I see these chimeras as a metaphor for the amalgam of musical styles in the piece; rock, jazz, metal, hip-hop, pop, blues and funk,” says Harrison, who won praise for her recent work with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra Fellows, Ensemble Offspring and others.

The Hildegard Project which champions female composers in Australia was launched by Musica Viva’s 70th Birthday celebrations in 2015.Holly is the 9th female composer to have been commissioned through the project, with more announcements planned in the year ahead.

“Getting to know Holly’s work through this commission has been great – we’re very excited about it,” says explains Eighth Blackbird’s cellist Nicholas Photinos.

Photinos joins flautist Nathalie Joachim, clarinettist Michael J Maccaferri, violinist Yvonne Lam, percussionist Matthew Duvall, and pianist Adam Marks on this tour, which combines pieces they’ve worked on in recent seasons with music from two of their recordings “This will be our fourth visit to Australia, but we’re going to some cities we’ve not toured to before. It will be wonderful to see more of this beautiful country.”

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