In 2007, at the Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Art in Brisbane, the then home of ELISION, the ensemble gathered with two ferociously gifted improviser/composers, John Butcher and Timothy O’Dwyer, to realise a project for two spatialised and independent yet interactive ensembles. The work consisted of two independent but related compositions, Residue by John Butcher, and What Remains by Timothy O’Dwyer, which gave the project its overall title. The workshopping process enabled an extensive and heavily hybridised use of notational and improvised materials, each practice informing the other. The extensive documentation captures the fast paced and viscerally explosive moments of opening and closing sections, as well as more expansive soloing from both Timothy O’Dwyer and John Butcher. And Richard Haynes, Graeme Jennings, Tristram Williams and Benjamin Marks.
ELISION has had the pleasure of working with John Butcher on a number of occasions, in the United Kingdom and Australia. John was also part of our twentieth birthday celebrations in Sydney as a featured soloist in Timothy O’Dwyers Gravity and later on participated in ELISION’s The Braxton Project at HCMF 2009.
It is difficult to overstate the contribution and participation of Timothy O’Dwyer in the life of ELISION. He has participated brilliantly and enlivened many of the major projects, from Richard Barrett’s CONSTRUCTION to Liza Lim’s opera Yuè Lìng Jié (Moon Spirit Feasting). Tim has also worked with ELISION, performing the chamber music of Chaya Czernowin, Sam Hayden, Maurizio Pisati, Liza Lim, and John Rodgers. He has composed significant works for the ensemble. And with ELISION, toured Murri visual artist, Lilla Watson’s Sight and Sound of a Storm in Sky Country to New Zealand, Germany and the United Kingdom. Tim is one of the many amazing musicians who make up the ELISION ensemble.
In 2021 Aaron Cassidy will begin to compose another major ensemble work -commissioned by ELISION and funded by the Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation through their wonderful Grant-in-Aid programme.
Conceived for solo piano, and an obbligato ensemble of pedal steel guitar, harp, percussion, & live electronics, contrabass clarinet, tenor saxophone, bassoon, trombone, cello, double bass, the new work will have a duration of approximately 25 minutes.
Aaron writes, “The somewhat unconventional instrumentation foregrounds some experimental work I have done with Daryl Buckley on the pedal steel guitar during residencies in Austin, Texas, in 2017–18 (working with pedal steel masters Marty Muse and Bob Hoffnar, as well as my own brother Brian Cassidy), and builds on work I’ve done with the pianist Alex Waite since 2018 looking at various jazz keyboard traditions (particularly through the playing of McCoy Tyner, but also Art Tatum, Thelonius Monk, and Cecil Taylor, among others). The pedal steel opens a bit of an unknown path for me—I grew up in Texas, so I was surrounded by the sound of the instrument as a child, and I have a particular fondness for its role in traditional Country & Western music.”
Aaron has been working with ELISION for close to two decades. This is a fantastic project that enables us to deepen and extend a valued artistic relationship even further, bringing into the play the newer generation of ELISION musicians.
During this current period of Covid-19 lockdowns and constraint upon travel, the ensemble has been quietly but especially productive and pursued the opportunity to film within the stunning acoustic and facility offered by the Salon of the Melbourne Recital Centre.
The first of these films comprises eighteen minutes of master percussionist Peter Neville performing the music of Richard Barrett, with excerpts drawn from the Negatives cycle, the complete abglanzbeladen…auseinandergeschrieben from Opening of the Mouth, and the opening minutes of Entoptic.
Together, these films celebrate the rare depth and authority of a special performance practice brought to life between the musicians of ELISION and our composer friends across a thirty-year history. Composers to be featured in this series include Evan Johnson, Liza Lim, Aaron Cassidy and Annie Hui-Hsin Hsieh.
ELISION will also release archival footage, documenting our activity as far back as the early 90’s! The archival footage strongly features the presence of ELISION’s Deborah Kayser, Timothy O’Dwyer and Carl Rosman, amongst other core musicians, from the early days of the ensemble as we explored installation projects in rural Lismore, opera on barges on the Torrens and the Hebbel Theatre in Berlin, improvisation projects at the Judith Wright Centre and sheer virtuosic performance at the Iwaki Auditorium.
Stay tuned in the coming weeks to our social media!
The next ELISION concert occurs on Sunday November 11th 3:00PM at the Melbourne Meat Market.
It is part of a celebration of 100 years of Polish Freedom with performances around the world given by Klangforum Wien, ICE and Ensemble Intercontemporain, amongst others. And we are conducted by the ever brilliant and insightful Elliot Gyger.
The concert “100 for 100. Musical Decades for Freedom”, co-organised by PWM Edition to celebrate the centenary of Poland regaining independence, is held under the National Patronage of Andrzej Duda, the President of the Republic of Poland to mark the Centenary of Regaining Independence and financed by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of the Republic of Poland as part of the Multi-Annual Programme “Niepodległa” 2017-2021.
Ah! Queensland. A fun gig courtesy of Zane Trow that brought back memories. And a chance to cane some Barrett and Cassidy. And a new work from Jim Gardner before heading off to Germany to play with the wonderful musicians of MusikFabrik.