Forces in Music // Music Masterclasses 2019

An opportunity to hear from and listen to some of the most experienced local and international music practitioners and thinkers.

In many cases the masterclass will take the form of a presentation (lecture and/or performance) by our invited guest followed by related performances from members of the UNSW student cohort.
At the end of the presentation there will be time for questions, feedback and discussion.

The Forces in Music Masterclasses supports students specialisations, but everyone is welcome from the wider UNSW community and beyond!

Forces in Music convenor, Alister Spence,

Where & When
Robert Webster Building, Studio 334. Check individual events for times. 

Term 1, 2019

Week 1, Friday 22 February

Douglas Kahn (author)

From Music to Sound to Energy to Music: A Deeper Ecology

If John Cage argued that all sound can be music, and if sound is but one form of energy among others, then what of energies and music?

Douglas Kahn (UNSW Art & Design), with performance by Peter Blamey and interview by Alister Spence

In this lecture Douglas Kahn investigates how composers and artists have engaged the sounds of natural radio, electromagnetic energies of the Earth first heard twenty years before Marconi and discusses the concept of energy music as it applies to contemporary music; including sonic arts, contemporary classical, and free jazz. This provocative lecture raises questions regarding the nature of performance, composition and musical practice. Direct links are also formed between the nature of sounds and energies, and the health of our planet. The lecture will be followed by a performance from Peter Blamey that explores the transduction of electromagnetic energy into sound. An interview and questions will conclude: seeking to link this field of sonic exploration to conventional musical practices.

Douglas Kahn is Professor of Media and Innovation, National Institute for Experimental Arts, UNSW Art & Design. He is an historian and theorist of media arts, sound and music in the arts, energy in the arts, and science in the arts from the late-19th Century to the present, with an emphasis on the traditions of the avant-garde, and experimentalism.

Peter Blamey is a Sydney-based artist and musician. His practice is accomplished with a minimum of means, exploring the interconnected themes of energies and residues: reimagining and recasting our everyday encounters with technologies and the physical world.

Interviewer: Dr Alister Spence, Lecturer at UNSW, School of Arts & Media, improviser and composer.

Register Here - Douglas Kahn

Week 5, Friday 22 March

Elena Kats-Chernin (composer)

Composing in the 21st century: a conversation with Elena Kats-Chernin

A lecture demonstration, conversation, and masterclass by/with one of Australia’s leading composers. Interviewed by John Peterson. Including performances of compositions by UNSW music students.

Elena Kats-Chernin is one of Australia's leading composers. Trained in Moscow, Australia, and Germany, her distinctive idiom reflects her unique personal history Music often combines chiseled rhythmic pulsation with a bittersweet melodic/harmonic language. Diverse output includes operas, orchestral works, chamber and solo pieces, plus music for dance, film, and theatre. Interpreters include Ensemble Modern, Bang on a Can All-Stars, and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra.

‘Her status as one of this country’s most prolific and consistently innovative composers remains unchallenged… [She] appears to achieve the impossible, straddling the two seemingly irreconcilable camps of intellectualism and accessibility.’ - Sydney Morning Herald

Interviewer: Dr John Peterson, Senior Lecturer at UNSW, School of Arts & Media, composer.

Register Here - Elena Kats-Chernin

Week 10, Friday 26 April
(Please Note: This is in Week 10 due to Good Friday the week before)

Lisa Moore (New York based Australian pianist)

She’s the best kind of contemporary classical musician, one so fearsomely game that she inspires composers to offer her their most wildly unplayable ideas’ (Pitchfork Magazine)

A performance, conversation, and masterclass by/with acclaimed Australian piano player Lisa Moore. Interviewed by Sonya Lifschitz. Including performances by UNSW music students.

The New York Times writes ‘Lisa Moore, an Australian pianist long based in and around New York, has always been a natural, compelling storyteller’ while TimeOut NY describes her as ‘the wonderfully lyrical pianist’. Lisa Moore has ten solo discs (Cantaloupe, Orange Mountain Music, IGM, Bandcamp, Tall Poppies) ranging from Leoš Janáçek to Philip Glass. Her 2016 disc The Stone People (Cantaloupe) – featuring the music of John Luther Adams, Martin Bresnick, Missy Mazzoli, Kate Moore, Frederic Rzewski, and Julia Wolfe – made both The New York Times Top Classical Albums of 2016 list and the 2017 Naxos Critics’ Choice. Lisa Moore has recorded over thirty collaborative discs (Sony, Nonesuch, DG, BMG, New World, ABC Classics, Albany, New Albion, Starkland, Harmonia Mundi). She has performed with a diverse range of musicians and artists – the London Sinfonietta, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, New York City Ballet, Bang on a Can All-Stars, Steve Reich Ensemble, American Composers Orchestra, So Percussion, Ensemble Signal, Australian Chamber Orchestra, TwoSense, Grand Band, and the Paul Dresher Double Duo.

Interviewer: Dr Sonya Lifschitz, Lecturer at UNSW, School of Arts & Media, pianist.

Register Here - Lisa Moore

Term 2, 2019

Week 1, Friday 7 June, 3-5pm

Nela Brown (UK sound artist)

Transmusicking: composing and performing with a laptop orchestra

A lecture demonstration with UK-based sound artist Nela Brown. Including performances by UNSW music students.

Nela Brown is an award-winning sound artist, technologist, researcher and lecturer with a background in classical music, jazz, sonic arts, engineering and human-computer interaction. In the past decade, she composed music and designed sound for award-winning international projects including theatre performances, dance, mobile, film, documentaries and interactive installations. She is the founder and creative director of Female Laptop Orchestra (FLO), an eclectic group of musicians and technologists exploring co-located and distributed collaborative music making within different contexts and across different geographical locations. Nela is Lecturer at the University of Greenwich, London, where she teaches Transmedia and Creative Coding

Nela is a recipient of Macgeorge Fellowship Award for 2019 and is currently visiting the Faculty of the Fine Arts and Music at the University of Melbourne.

Register Here - Nela Brown 

Week 5, Friday 5 July, 4-6pm 

Liisa Pallandi (violin)

Award winning violinist and permanent member of the Australian Chamber Orchestra

Liisa graduated from the Sydney Conservatorium in 2010 with First Class Honours where she studied with Dr Goetz Richter. She also studied at the Australian National Academy of Music with Adam Chalabi and was the first recipient of the Richard Pollett Memorial Award, which included the loan of a Pressenda violin. In 2012 she was an Emerging Artist with the Australian Chamber Orchestra under Helena Rathbone’s mentorship. She continued to tour regularly with both the ACO and ACO2 before joining the ACO as a permanent member in 2015.

She has performed with the Sydney, Melbourne, and Tasmanian Symphony Orchestras, the Britten-Pears Orchestra in Aldeburgh and the Australian World Orchestra in their debut concerts. In 2014, Liisa was Guest Principal Violin with the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra. Liisa has performed as a chamber musician in the Sydney, Melbourne and Perth Arts Festivals, as well as the Thy Chamber Music festival in Denmark. She was a founding member of the Sydney Camerata with whom she won the Musica Viva Chamber Music Award.

Register Here - Liisa Pallandi

Week 9, Friday 2 August, 4-6pm

Mike Nock (jazz pianist/composer)

Serious Fun

A performance, conversation, and masterclass by/with one of the key jazz musicians for our time. Interviewed by Sandy Evans. Including performances by UNSW music students.

Mike Nock’s career has spanned a broad range of contemporary musical styles and he is widely recognised as an important voice in Australian modern music. Based in Sydney since 1986, he previously spent 25 years in the USA, working with many of the world’s top jazz artists. His compositions include orchestral music, woodwind / percussion ensembles, electronic / choral works etc., and have been recorded and performed by a range of jazz & non-jazz performers. Attracting many awards and honours over his lengthy career in 2014 he was awarded the Don Banks Award, the most valuable individual music award in Australia. In 2009 he was inducted into the Bell Awards Australian Jazz Hall of Fame and in 2003 presented with the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM).

‘Nock’s ringing iconoclasm pervades all his music, taps a deep well of melody that transcends jazz and informs and ignites his every encounter.’ – Fred Bouchard, Downbeat (USA)

Interviewer: Dr Sandy Evans, Lecturer at UNSW, School of Arts & Media, improviser and composer.

Register Here - Mike Nock

Term 3, 2019

Week 1, Friday 20 September

Ros Dunlop (clarinet)

‘Weapons of mass distortion’: Ros Dunlop, and the composition and audio-visual work of Martin Wesley Smith

A clarinet and multi-media performance, and masterclass by/with one of Australia’s leading clarinettists. Including performances by UNSW music students.

Ros Dunlop is one of Australia’s leading clarinettists/bass clarinettists. She has been a strong advocate of new music for the clarinet & bass clarinet all her professional life. She has commissioned many Australian Composers and premiered many new compositions by composers worldwide. Ros has performed throughout Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the UK, Europe, Japan, Hong Kong, East Timor, China and the USA. She has performed in numerous festivals, including several International Clarinet Festivals in the USA, Japan, Canada and Europe. Her CDs have received International acclaim.

Ros is a member of the chamber ensemble Charisma, with whom she has commissioned and premiered many new works including many multimedia premieres.

In 2002 she visited East Timor for the first time, performing concerts in remote villages. Subsequently she embarked on an extensive project in East Timor, recording the traditional music of East Timor, a deeply hidden culture in danger of extinction, thus preserving it for future generations.

Register Here - Ros Dunlop

Week 5, Friday 18 October

Liza Lim (composer)

Atlas of the Sky, and beyond: beauty, time and ecology in exploratory compositional practice

A lecture demonstration and masterclass with acclaimed and ‘genre-defying’ contemporary Australian composer, Liza Lim.

Liza Lim is an Australian composer, educator and researcher whose interests include collaborative and transcultural practices in music with a focus on perspectives from ecological anthropology, post-human/anthropocene studies and research into distributed creativity. Her compositional practice is deeply imbued with a sense of the socio-cultural lineages of objects and performance practices hence her interest in musical form as an emergent expression of group processes. Her works, and in particular four operas: The Oresteia (1993), Moon Spirit Feasting (2000), The Navigator (2007) and Tree of Codes (2016), as well as the recent large-scale cycle Extinction Events and Dawn Chorus (2018) explore themes around ritual, temporal slippage and the uncanny. Her genre-defying percussion ritual/opera Atlas of the Sky (2018), is a work involving community participants that investigates the emotional power and energy dynamics of crowds.

Register Here - Liza Lim

Week 9, Friday November 15

Jane Sheldon (soprano)

The voice as a bodily power

Jane Sheldon is an Australian-American soprano who specializes in the creation and performance of avant-garde opera and exploratory chamber music. Praised by the New York Times for singing “sublimely”, Timeout Sydney for “an extraordinary vocal performance”, and The Washington Post for "a stunning performance", she has appeared with London Philharmonic Orchestra, Adelaide Symphony, Pinchgut Opera (AUS), Sound Icon (USA), Ekmeles (USA), Talea Ensemble (USA), Wet Ink (USA), Ensemble Offspring, the Australian String Quartet, and Sydney Chamber Opera (AUS), where she is an Artistic Associate. She has worked extensively with composers as they create new works for voice, most frequently with John Zorn, whose music Jane has performed across the globe. Jane has performed at international arts festivals such as the Sydney Festival, Jerusalem Sacred Music Festival, Lincoln Center Festival, the Bendigo International Festival of Exploratory Music, Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival, and the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival.

Register Here - Jane Sheldon