The Sydney Symphony Orchestra (SSO) and Taikoz will give a new work by young Australian composer Lachlan Skipworth its first ever airing this month when they join forces for three concerts at the Sydney Opera House.
Skipworth is the 2017 winner of the Albert H Maggs Composition Award and was commissioned by the SSO, with the support of patron Geoff Stearn, to compose Breath of Thunder especially for the SSO and the Japanese percussion ensemble.
The 35-year-old composer says he “believes music making to be an expression of humanity transcending culture, place and time.”
“Composing for Taikoz and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, I forgot such notions as ‘East and West’ and concentrated on finding a singular human expression encompassing the exciting and diverse set of forces at my disposal,” Skipworth says. “The orchestra acts as a mediator between the two, allowing the shakuhachi player’s exhalations to move as waves through the orchestra and intensify into the ominous roar of the Taiko in full flight.”
Taikoz Artistic Director and former SSO Principal Percussionist Ian Cleworth says he is lookingforward to showcasing the taiko alongside the orchestra.
“For the past 20 years I have dedicated myself to growing awareness in Australia of the beautiful artformknown as taiko,” Cleworth says. “A big part of that has been the composition of new works thatreflect who we are as contemporary Australian musicians. Having this amazing opportunity topremiere a major work in Lachlan Skipworth’s Breath of Thunder with the incredible musicians of theSSO is truly a dream come true!”
Performing with instruments ranging from the odaiko drum to the shakuhachi flute, Taikoz has heldconcerts across Australia and internationally including in Japan, Paris, Bangkok, Taiwan, Abu Dhabi,India and the United States.
Skipworth initially trained as a clarinettist and spent three years in Japan studying the shakuhachiand its ancient honkyoku solo repertoire. His time abroad has informed much of his compositionssince. Skipworth was one of 10 Australian composers who re-worked singer-songwriter Josh Pyke’smusic for orchestra in a project with the SSO in 2015.
The performance will be conducted by Gerard Salonga who appeared with the SSO alongside hissister, singer Lea Salonga, in February 2017.