Unique musical collaboration explores cross-cultural soundscapes

group of musicians

A special free musical event will explore the rich cultural legacies of two nations when musicians from the University of Adelaide’s Elder Conservatorium of Music collaborate with peers from Singapore’s Yong Siew Toh (YST) Conservatory for a one-night-only concert in Adelaide. 

In what promises to be a rare journey through the diverse soundscapes of Australia and Singapore, the concert on Friday 15 September, will open with a solo on Yidaki (Didjeridu) from Grayson Rotumah – a lecturer from the University’s Centre for Aboriginal Studies in Music – and end with a new work performed on Tabla that explores the Indian heritage of Singaporean composer and soloist Tony Makarome. 

Dr Luke Dollman is Deputy Director and Lecturer in Conducting at the Elder Conservatorium of Music who will share the pleasure of conducting the ensemble with Lien Boon Hua from YST. 

“This is an amazing opportunity for our students to collaborate with one of Asia’s leading music schools. Together we are exploring new cultures, new sounds and new ways of working,” said Dr Dollman. 

“Our ensemble is composed of students and staff from both institutions, and we will perform a varied program showcasing the works of contemporary composers from Singapore and Australia.  

“This concert promises a dynamic blend of pieces that mirror the rich cultural legacies of both nations. We really wanted to explore our respective Indigenous heritages and also look at Australia in the context of Asia. I believe audiences can expect a very special evening of music.” 

Among the eclectic contemporary pieces to be performed by the ensemble are ‘Tyalgum Mantras’ by Ross Edwards, which has a strong Buddhist influence with a meditative, mindful feel, as well as a work by Liza Lim titled ‘The Heart’s Ear’, which is heavily influenced by the 13th-century mystic poet Jelaluddin Rumi.  

The concert will also feature new works by University of Adelaide PhD student Connor Fogarty and YST student Yuting Tan. 

“Connor and Yuting are among our most talented students, and both are already starting to make a mark in the profession,” said Dr Dollman. 

This latest collaboration between the Elder Conservatorium of Music and Singapore’s Yong Siew Toh Conservatory follows on from the success of their maiden project in 2022, which saw students from both institutions performing live simultaneously online in two cities. The Australian and Singaporean musicians will perform together again in Singapore in late September, bringing the music of Australia to an international audience. 

“This experience of cross-cultural and cross-country collaboration is designed to broaden the horizons of not only the students performing, but also our audiences, highlighting the innovative synergies between our two esteemed institutions,” said Dr Dollman. 

“We want to showcase what countries like Singapore have to offer and stimulate discussion about Australia’s place in the Asian region more broadly.” 

The free concert will take place in Elder Hall on Friday, 15 September. No bookings are required to attend. 

When: Friday, 15 September 2023. 7:00–9:00pm. 

Where: Elder Hall, North Terrace campus, The University of Adelaide. 

Media contacts 

Dr Luke Dollman, Deputy Director - Lecturer in Conducting, Elder Conservatorium of Music, the University of Adelaide. Phone: +61 418 796 545.  Email: luke.dollman@adelaide.edu.au 

Poppy Nwosu, Media Officer, the University of Adelaide. Mobile: 0424 988 042. Email: poppy.nwosu@adelaide.edu.au 

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