Celebrating Australia's ancient music at The Con

27 June 2012

A piano specially painted with Indigenous art will be used on the day.
A piano specially painted with Indigenous art will be used on the day.

Some of the world's oldest musical compositions dating as far back as 25,000 years will feature in a free all-day event celebrating Australia's Indigenous musical culture at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music on Saturday 30 June.

The inaugural 'Our Music: Performing Place, Listening to Sydney' event will feature contemporary and historic performances and storytelling by Indigenous musicians and Elders as well as students from the Sydney Conservatorium in collaboration with Redfern's Eora College and students from outback Menindee in far western NSW.

Co-hosted with the Australian National University, this will be the first time that a whole day has been devoted to Indigenous music in the 96-year history of the Conservatorium.

Bennelong's historic chant 'Burra Bulla', which was transcribed during his visit to England with Governor Philip in 1792 and rediscovered in 2011, will be performed along with another three historic chants dating back to 1793.

A Stuart piano with decorative panels created by art students at Menindee Central School will also feature in the event along with dances and compositions put together by the Menindee students.

"'Our Music' is about listening to and performing with Sydney's Indigenous musicians," says Kevin Hunt, PhD candidate at the University of Sydney who organised the event with Julia Torpey at the Australian National University.

For Torpey, a doctoral researcher with theDeepening Histories of PlaceAustralian Research Council linkage project, "'Our Music' is a day of exploration, connecting people, place, and Aboriginal history through music and story. The performances will shift between contemporary, historical and traditional, linking past and present, and will express personal, cultural and social identities with place.

"We want to re-establish the Sydney Conservatorium of Music as a meeting place, a performing place and a listening place for Sydney's Indigenous musicians and all who are interested in sharing our rich heritage and character," Hunt says.

The Conservatorium is located next to historic Aboriginal 'bora' initiation grounds, where for thousands of years important cultural ceremonies took place.

"So much is achieved in understanding culture by listening, and music plays a vital role in this communication," says Hunt, whose PhD focuses on the connection between ancient Indigenous music and one of the newest instruments, the revolutionary 102-key Stuart & Sons piano.

Contact: Julie Simonds

Phone: 02 9351 1451

Email: 5a113f580e45352038361a0f227846340b29573e43543612653807