7 September 2010

Peter Sculthorpe AO has been fascinated with landscape since he started going fishing and trekking through the bush with his Dad as a youngster.

"My concern for the environment began then, and has not stopped growing since," comments Australia's pre-eminent composer and Emeritus Professor at the University of Sydney.

"It is a subject, a passion that is reflected in my writing, even more so in recent years when the world is reaching a critical point in respect of our future survival unless we act on climate change," adds the 81-year-old Living National Treasure, who started writing music when he was just seven years old.

Indeed, the last six of his eighteen string quartets have all touched on the environment and the degradation of the planet as a result of global warming and excessive logging.

Not surprisingly, Music and the Environment will be the theme of his address for CONtext:The Alfred Hook Lecture Series, at The Con on 10 September. The event is free to the public.

Sculthorpe's words will be reinforced that night when the Sydney Conservatorium of Music's Modern Music Ensemble plays his Tabuh Tabuhan, a work written for wind quintet and percussion to evoke the beauty and fragility of the Balinese landscape.

This performance will be part of a Conductors' Series concert in the Verbrugghen Hall, which will also feature the world premiere of Zodiac Turbulence by young Sydney composer Peter McNamara.

Sculthorpe's catalogue runs to more than 350 works, covering the bulk of musical forms, and many are regularly performed and recorded around the world.

The Sydney Symphony Orchestra, under the baton of Vladimir Ashkenazy, is performing Sculthorpe's Momento Mori at the Edinburgh Festival. This work recalls the tragedy of Easter Island, denuded of its natural resources by land clearing.

Sculthorpe, as one of 15 national and international Marquee Composers, has been commissioned to write a new work for the unprecedented 101 Compositions for 100 Years project to celebrate The Con's centenary in 2015.

During his CONtext lecture, Sculthorpe has also promised to discuss the lack of support for the arts by all political parties during the recent election.

Contact: Mick Le Moignan

Phone: 02 9351 1385

Email: 3e33223e1e3c1321245d02560c1934275614090a364a560e131e0c27