Taylor MiIller. ©Ed Sloan

Monday, 17 December 2012

In May 2012, the Australian Chamber Orchestra’s Artistic Director, Richard Tognetti, took a crew of surfers, musicians and film makers to the rugged surf coast and tough desert landscape of northern Western Australia to create a new performance piece. His aim: to explore different musical realms at the intersection of music and nature.

For two unforgettable weeks, Tognetti and this remarkable collection of artists, including ocean cinematographer Jon Frank, director Mick Sowry, photographer Ed Sloane, composer Iain Grandage, didjeridoo player Mark Atkins and singer-songwriter Steve Pigram, spent their time surfing, making music and filming around the remote Ningaloo Reef.

Sowry compressed hundreds of hours of footage into one “mythic day” that metaphorically represents peoples’ relative impermanence against the vast Australian landscape. The result was The Reef, which combined a mesmerising mix of classics and new music with original film footage projected behind the musicians’ live performance. “The effect is hypnotic.” (The Australian)

After critically acclaimed performances in the Northern Territory, WA and Sydney, it is the turn of audiences around Australia to immerse themselves in the ocean images, arid desert landscapes and starry skies of The Reef as an incredible array of music swirls around them. Original music by Steve Pigram, Iain Grandage and Richard Tognetti sits beside works by Bach, Beethoven, Rachmaninov, Pete Seeger and grunge band Alice in Chains in a performance guaranteed to alter your perceptions of a classical music concert.

Says Tognetti: “There is something about the structuring of music to images that transcends the experience you would have just sitting in a concert hall.”

About The Reef

The Reef is a co-production between the ACO and contemporary music touring company Tura New Music, an award-winning company renowned for presenting world-class Australian music to regional Western Australia. It was created after residencies in May 2012 in Carnarvon and at Gnaraloo Station on the rugged WA coast where the desert meets the sea. Filmmaker Mick Sowry documented the compositional process and shot footage of the desert and of leading surfers off the famed breaks at Gnaraloo. Further music workshops were conducted at the ACO studio in Sydney.

In July, Tognetti led ACO2, the ACO’s regional touring and development orchestra, on a tour of The Reef, which combined the music performances with surfing and desert footage.

Beginning with the world premiere in Darwin, The Reef was performed in remote and regional centres along the WA coast and in Perth, before culminating in a sell-out performance at Sydney Opera House. “The immutable law of the surf movie: sound always plays second fiddle to vision. But in a world where the surf movie has little new to say, the Australian Chamber Orchestra's The Reef managed to breathe fresh life into a convention gown moribund ... this time, the music takes front and centre.” (Sydney Morning Herald) The Reef is a spiritual sequel to the documentary Musica Surfica (2008) and multimedia performance The Glide (2011), further delving into the links between surfing, the ocean, landscape and music. “Surfing is one of the few sports where you’ve got a real synergy with music,” Tognetti says.

ALICE IN CHAINS - Them Bones, Angry Chair
BACH - Sonata No.1, BWV1001: Fugue
BEETHOVEN - String Quartet, Op. 130: Cavatina
CRUMB - Black Angels (excerpts)
DEAN - Electric Preludes: Peripeteia
KILAR - Orawa
LIGETI - Ramifications
PIGRAM - Mimi, Raindancing
RAMEAU - Les Boréades: Les Vents
SEEGER - Where Have All the Flowers Gone
SHOSTAKOVICH - Chamber Symphony, Op. 110a: Allegro Molto Heart of The Black Beast, Bathymetry

Arrangements by Tognetti and Grandage

Richard Tognetti - Artistic Director and Lead Violin
Mick Sowry - Director & Producer
Jon Frank - Director of Photography
Derek Hynd - Director of Surfing
Mark Atkins - Didjeridoo
Steve Pigram - Voice & Guitar
Satu Vänskä - Violin & Voice
Julian Thompson - Cello
Craig Johnston - Voice
Brian Ritchie - Acoustic Bass Guitar

Brisbane – QPAC Concert Hall - Friday 22 February, 8pm - qtix.com.au 136 246
Melbourne – Hamer Hall - Sunday 24 February, 2.30pm Monday 25 February, 8pm - artscentremelbourne.com.au 1300 182 183
Newcastle City Hall - Thursday 28 February, 7.30pm - ticketek.com.au 4929 1977
Wollongong Town Hall - Friday 1 March, 7.30pm - 02 4227 5088
Canberra – Llewellyn Hall, ANU - Saturday 2 March, 8pm - ticketek.com.au 1300 795 012
Sydney Opera House, Concert Hall - Monday 4 March, 8pm - sydneyoperahouse.com 02 9570 7777

qtix.com.au 136 246
artscentremelbourne.com.au 1300 182 183
ticketek.com.au 4929 1977
02 4227 5088


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