X Marks the Spot for 2015 Project

15 July 2009

The global 101 Compositions for 100 Years project has taken to the stage for the first time, with a world premiere performance of X Suite by The Con's Michael Duke and David Howie.

The work, by Australian composer Mark Zadro, was written especially for the Alto Sax-Piano duo to help celebrate The Con's centenary in 2015. Duke and Howie, both lecturers at The Con, played all eight movements of X Suite at the World Saxophone Congress, held in the College of Music, Bangkok.

X Suite was commissioned by Fr Arthur Bridge on behalf of the Ars Musica Australis. It represents the initial overseas performance of the prestigious 101 Compositions scheme that aims to commission 101 new musical works from national and international composers over the next seven years.

Two-time Grammy winner and Academy Award recipient, John Corigliano, is the project's inaugural international composer. His world premiere of Mr Tambourine Man - based on the songs of Bob Dylan - will take place in Sydney on 11 September.

Carl Vine, with 20 scores for classical dance, an impressive catalogue of chamber music and varied compositions for film, television and theatre to his credit, is the inaugural Australian composer.

His commission is a Sonata for Four Hands that will be premiered at the Conservatorium on 22 November, featuring Natalia Sheludiakova and Paul Rickard-Ford. As part of his relationship with The Con, Vine is an Adjunct Professor, giving masterclasses and lectures for students and wider audiences on music writing for a range of genres, including film.

Zadro said his piece was conceived as a set of scenes that transports the listener to contrasting spaces, all characterised by either fantastical concepts or stylistically distinct cultures.

"The main movements are stylistically distinct both in terms of shape and gesture. I would especially like to thank Michael Duke for his advice, patience and perseverance in helping me get this piece together."

Dean and Principal, Professor Kim Walker, who instigated the 101 Compositions project, said the X Suite performance was an important milestone.

"What a wonderful way to kick-start our collaborative centenary scheme...on an international stage, with renowned musicians and a freshly minted national work that allows the showcasing of saxophone and piano," Professor Walker said.

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