Concert program

Tap on a title or name to find out more

Deepka Ratra

Where Do We Go From Here?

Carlo Antonioli

Whispers of the Earth

Earth Water Fire Air

You Used

Chloe Chung, Pavle Cajic, Deepka Ratra, Carlo Antonioli

Group Improvisation

Guest speaker: Joseph Sikulu

Managing Director, 350 Pacific

INTERVAL

Pavle Cajic

Extinction & Rebellion

Extinction—

Rebellion

Chloe Chung

Triptych: 3 Leaves

Summer Magic

Consume me

Swimming

Deepka Ratra

Where Do We Go From Here?

The concert will feature digital projections of visual artworks by Edward Essing and Sandra Brand

To donate to the Pacific Climate Warriors, please tap here.

Artists

Chloe Chung Dreambox Collective Artistic Director, alto flute, C flute, dizi, xiao

Carlo Antonioli conductor

Deepka Ratra voice

Pavle Cajic piano

Guest artist

Ole Bohn violin

Dreambox Collective acknowledges the many Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and honour their Elders past and present. We are privileged to gather on this Country and through this online meeting space to share knowledge, culture and art now, and with future generations.

Welcome from the Artistic Director

Welcome! This concert is the first in our 2022 season “Communities of Care”, presented by Dreambox Collective. From when we first started creating together in 2020 until now, the idea of collaborating to face the realities of a changing climate, while standing united for change, has been core to our collective ethos. This concert is an opportunity for us to gather as a community as we process, listen, grieve, learn, and renew our spirits within the global climate movement.

We also see this concert as an opportunity to stand with our global neighbours who are particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change. Given the volcanic eruption in Tonga in January, this concert has a particular focus on supporting our Pacific Island neighbours as they heal and recover from this natural disaster, while also coping with the ongoing impacts of climate change on their homes and culture.

Our partner organisation for this event is an activist group called the Pacific Climate Warriors. As part of the global climate change movement 350.org, the Pacific Climate Warriors are active in fifteen of the Pacific Island Nations, empowering young people to take action to protect their islands, cultures and oceans from the effects of climate change. In 2014, they paddled into the Port of Newcastle (the world’s largest coal port) on canoes, preventing 10 scheduled ships from passing through the port. In 2021, they had a presence at COP26 (the United Nations Climate Change Conference) amplifying the voice and struggles of Pacific Islander peoples in the climate crisis. Today, they continue to facilitate workshops to educate and empower youth in the Pacific Island region. Through multiple campaigns, they have amplified the voices of frontline communities in the face of the climate crisis. We are particularly excited to hear from Joseph Sikulu, the Managing Director of 350 Pacific, to speak to these issues.

After a long summer of rain, heat, floods, plus an ongoing pandemic, I am incredibly grateful to all of you. Thank you to every artist, guest performer and speaker, our support network, family, friends, and of course you, our audience. Each of you play a role in forming the “community of care”  we so desire to be connected with right now. Thank you for joining us as we go beyond our individual networks and come together in this global climate movement to connect, create and collaborate, while standing in support alongside our Pacific Island neighbours.

Chloe Chung

Dreambox Collective Artistic Director

Notes on the music

 

Deepka Ratra Where Do We Go From Here?

 

Deepka Ratra voice

Pavle Cajic piano

Chloe Chung alto flute

 

The idea for Where Do We Go From Here? first came to me when Dreambox Collective had the initial meeting with our collaborators, the Pacific Climate Warriors. A simple piano melody came to mind, and I followed that idea. I wanted my piece to create a feeling for the beginning of the concert; to set the stage, so to speak. I went and did some research about the Pacific Islanders, and found a video about locals living in Kiribati.


A local talked about how his family used to live close to the ocean, but they had to move further inland due to rising sea levels, not once, but twice. They talked about how both of their houses were now under water, and it was very obvious from then what I wanted to write about it.


This piece is a mourning for a lost home. The piano plays in a constant and relentless motion as the soprano sings over the top, sometimes in a wail-like manner, sometimes in a ghost-like manner, conveying the many colours of grief.


In the video, the islanders seemed unsure of their future; their lives were in a constant state of limbo. Would they have to keep moving? Would the sea levels ever stop rising? They had no answers, which is what gave my piece its title and unresolved ending.

Deepka Ratra

 

Carlo Antonioli Whispers of the Earth

 

Earth Water Fire Air

You Used

Deepka Ratra voice

Chloe Chung alto flute

This work grew out of a thought: if the Earth – with which humanity has had a relationship for hundreds of thousands of years – could speak to us, what would it have to say? In many ways, the Earth has already been speaking to us, just not in words; if we know where to look and listen, we can see the effects of our actions on the planet feeding back to us, in some instances catastrophically.

Having never written for voice before, and with no experience writing text, the process of composing this piece was a significant learning experience for me. There was something very alluring about the combination of voice with alto flute – they blend beautifully well, while also providing a broad spectrum of colours. I’m very grateful to both Deepka and Chloe for their assistance and advice which helped to bring this work to life.

The first movement, Earth Water Fire Air, began as an exploration of four landscapes (forests, waterways, deserts, skies), before I realised these could be somewhat linked to the four classical elements. It represents a journey through all of the beauty our planet has to offer. The second movement, You Used, laments humanity’s descent into greed and a disregard for our home, while hoping for a return to the days in which looking after the Earth was as important as looking after ourselves.

Earth Water Fire Air

All life flows from deep within me

enveloped in trees and shadows

I feel every footstep on my skin

and hear every whisper in my voice

My waterways gush with beauty

my oceans push and pull

the light of the shimmering sun

dancing in my reflection

Parched and arid, my deserts burn my skin

Sun-baked dunes singing in the mighty wind

Delicious sweet air renews you

my exhale provides your inhale

Together we build a home to live and love in

ours to share and ours to nurture

You Used

You used to see me

in all my splendour and beauty

from one end of the horizon to the other

lush, overflowing, gold

You used to hear me

the rushing of my tides

my leaves shivering in the wind

and the exquisite music of my silence

You used to love me

tend to me

fear me

You used to take only what you needed

to feed, to sleep, to play

You replenished me so I could give you more

Do you remember polar bears?

Do you remember the Great Barrier Reef?

You used to only want to be

but now you want to grow

You stripped me

Plucked, chopped and suffocated me

Harvested me bare, then tattooed me in metal

You mined what was not yours

You cover my scars in lies

in lofty ambitions and empty words

I cry in pain
I burn with rage

You look but do not see

You know but do not act

Help me help you

We can heal

We can forgive

We can return to the way things used to be

You used to see me

used to hear me

used to tell me that you loved me

You used...

You used...

Carlo Antonioli

Chloe Chung, Pavle Cajic, Deepka Ratra, Carlo Antonioli Group Improvisation

Deepka Ratra voice

Chloe Chung flute

Pavle Cajic piano

Carlo Antonioli conductor

...and featuring the audience

Prepare to hear rain, wind, insects, birds and storm in an immersive soundscape – with some assistance from you, our audience!

Carlo Antonioli

 

Pavle Cajic Extinction & Rebellion

Extinction—

Rebellion

Ole Bohn violin

Pavle Cajic piano

I wrote Extinction & Rebellion in late 2019. It was an unsettling evening when Ole and I premiered it in November that year, as a large number of bushfires were flaring up across the state, but nobody anticipated just how horrifying and damaging that fire season would be. Just over two years on, the impetus for this work seems more relevant than ever.

The name alludes to the protest movement that arose in 2018 with the aim of raising awareness of the existential threat of climate change to biodiversity and human society. I wrote the music in two sections, reflecting the title – the first, featuring an expansive, poignant and lyrical theme, and the second, taking the form of an emphatic double fugue. Each section is built on independent thematic material which is continuously developed throughout the work, and recurs cyclically at key dramatic moments.

The work can be seen as juxtaposing two interrelated but very different emotional states: reflection and despair at what stands to be lost through human-induced global warming and species extinction, and determined opposition to the systems of power that allow such ongoing damage to take place. While composing the first part, I had in my mind the feeling of being confronted with a large, sad loss, and the indescribable emotions that come with remembering a beauty that once existed but which has been destroyed. The contrasting, strong-willed rhythms and accents in the second part were influenced by the atmosphere I experienced at rallies I started attending for climate justice. The piece does not end with a resolution, but with resolve – to continue the fight for real action.

Pavle Cajic

 

Chloe Chung Triptych: 3 Leaves

Summer Magic by Michelle W

Consume me by Casey Gallagher Silver

Swimming by Chloe Chung

Featuring the traditional Chinese melody Guan Shan Yue 关山月 (The Moon at the Fortified Pass)

Chloe Chung concept, dizi, flute, xiao

Michelle W reader

Casey Gallagher Silver reader

Deepka Ratra reader

I was inspired to create a triptych combining three poems and three flute improvisations (“leaves”) that travel from air to earth to water. I wrote one of the poems, and the others are by Michelle W and Casey Gallagher Silver, who are both poets in the 2021 shortlist for POEM FOREST, an annual project held by Red Room Poetry to plant a tree for every new poem written.

 

I felt the combination of our three poems traced the universality of the life cycles that we are in awe and respect of, and which connect us. From Michelle’s experience of the summer air, to the intimacy of the earth explored in Casey’s poem, to a poem I wrote after swimming in the cloudy waters at Shelly Beach after the Sydney storms: I layer each poem with an improvised flute solo responding to the world that each poem builds. In the final improvisation, I finish by quoting the traditional Chinese melody Guan Shan Yue  关山月 (“The Moon at the Fortified Pass”, after the poem of Li Bai), an ancient melody written about the peace that the moon offers at night, at the mountain pass in the middle of two warring states in battle.

 

I hope this triptych brings some reflections on the power and peace that nature offers us at different stages of our lives.

Chloe Chung

Summer Magic

I hear the voice of the thopha saccata,
Singing a song of summer.
I see the shadow of the umbrella mulga,
Wearing the clothes of summer.
Summer is hugging the jacaranda,
To make her footprints purple and blue.
The smell of summer is in the air,
I will gather the jacaranda for a wreath,
Dancing with summer,
Taking a nice summer breath.

Michelle W

Consume me

 

The ground consumes me, it
Licks at my skin as rocks pile on my chest.
I am shed of my clothes, my hair, my teeth
My form left engorged under foot

A peace rings in my ears as my mouth fills with dirt.
My lungs expand to accommodate the lush green
Of the grass slithering into my body -
And yet I can breathe clearly.

I feel the sweet caress of a lover beneath my chest
Feel nature’s fingers graze down my stomach, 
Smoothing over ridges on my hips. Seeking and soothing
Each imperfection on my body and soul.

As she invades my space and my being 
Her touches dissolve my pleasure and pain.
The pressure eases as I become one with her touch.
My head rests soundly on her lap as I fall.

At home in the ground with the dirt in my mouth 
Surrounded by my presence in the earth 
I feel so relieved of the pressure of the air.
How have I lived so long without her?

 

Casey Gallagher Silver

Swimming

So Care full it hurts

need the Ocean now

feel its gravitational pull

 

Guided by the remaining drops of sun

swimming in the still evening water

 

low tide

 

My hands carving the water at centre

parting aside ripples so I can glide care free through

 

Luminous dark shadow flashes beneath

Brain screams “danger, danger”

Stay a moment longer in there to breathe and look

It’s a lion of seaweed, a swaying mane

Not a giant shadow stingray about to eat me up

 

Water gives the momentum to experience

my skin-glove breathing.

 

Fight flight freeze float flow to survive

 

The first few moments where I am heavy and sinking

kickstarting my instinct to MOVE move move.

 

There she goes, momentum taking over,

she’s swimming now, warm-blooded creature chasing light.

A body in air feels too light, too easy.

 

In water, it’s clear as night and day.

It’s sink or swim.

Keep turning towards the light

Chloe Chung

 

Artist biographies

 

Chloe Chung is a celebrated cross-cultural flautist, playing Western classical flute and dizi (Chinese bamboo flute), teaching music, and collaborating with others to foster unexpected musical forms and connections in Sydney. Her passion for creativity, sustainability, and education are central to her work as an active performer, optimal movement coach, and creative director.

A passionate educator, Chloe is currently Academic Lecturer of Flute at AIM (Australian Institute of Music) and teaches dizi at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. In 2019, Chloe founded the Dreambox Collective.

 

Carlo Antonioli is one of Australia’s most promising young conductors and multi-faceted musicians. He currently serves as the Cybec Assistant Conductor Fellow to the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, and previously served as the Assistant Conductor to the West Australian Symphony Orchestra. He has also assisted Vladimir Ashkenazy and Simone Young at the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, and worked with Canberra Symphony Orchestra, Australian Youth Orchestra and Sydney Youth Orchestras. He has conducted the Australian Doctors Orchestra, and has been a regular conductor with the Eastern Sydney Chamber Orchestra and Orange Symphony Orchestra, returning frequently to both since 2018. An avid musicologist, his article on Strauss’s Metamorphosen has been published in the Sydney Undergraduate Journal of Musicology.

 
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Australian born soprano of Indian heritage, Deepka Ratra is a passionate vocalist, actress and entrepreneur. Deepka takes an immense amount of joy in ensemble and concert work. She recently performed for a touring ABBA show, The Seven Sopranos, Justene William’s A Sonorous Body for the Sydney Contemporary Art Fair, and for the Hans Zimmer Live Concert at Qudos Bank Arena; a particular highlight of her career.

 

Pavle Cajic is a composer and pianist currently living and creating on Gadigal land (Sydney). His reasons for composing are varied – often, as an outlet for feelings or responses to art or the people and world around us that are too special to be forgotten – other times, for the purpose of bringing people together in ensemble works to experience the joy of collective music making!

Pavle holds a Bachelor’s degree in piano performance from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. He has performed his own and other’s music on piano or as conductor in Australia, New Zealand, Italy, and Norway. He has been particularly supported in the creation and performance of works involving solo violin by Norwegian violinist Ole Bohn.

Pavle is involved in a number of initiatives using music as a vehicle for social change or justice, including being on the artist team for the Voces Caelestium Charity Concerts, and a member of the Dreambox Collective. He also regularly performs with Chloe Chung (artistic director of the Dreambox Collective) as the flute-piano ‘Sidere Duo’.

Pavle’s time away from music is spent studying physics with occasional diversions into mathematics, doing origami, and practicing activism often with the grassroots Stop Adani and Extinction Rebellion movements.

 

Ole Bohn is a world-renowned violinist who has pursued an extensive career as soloist, chamber musician, and teacher. Since his debut in 1969, he has performed regularly with orchestras in Europe, the US and South America. Ole has always been an avid exponent of contemporary music, and in 1990 he gave the world premiere of Elliott Carter's violin concerto, which was written for and dedicated to him, with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra. His repertoire ranges from the baroque to the present day and he is regarded as one of the leading interpreters of American contemporary music in Scandinavia.


Ole is the concertmaster of the Norwegian National Opera and has previously held a similar position with the Copenhagen Symphony Orchestra, and worked for shorter periods as concertmaster of the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, Teatro del Fenice in Venice, Theatro Municipal, Rio de Janeiro, the Residentie Orchestra in Den Haag, Cape Town Symphony Orchestra, The Beethoven Orchestra, Bonn and the Hamburg State Opera. Ole uses a violin made in 1766 by Giovanni Battista Guadagnini. It was acquired for his use by Nordea Bank of Norway.


He joined the Sydney Conservatorium of Music as Associate Professor in 2009.

 

Guest speaker: Joseph Sikulu

Joseph Sikulu is the Managing Director for 350.org in the Pacific, he also serves on the Pacific Climate Warriors Secretariat. He is an Environmental, Cultural, and Queer activist finding his strength in the cross-section of these communities from people who like him are fighting to shift the narrative and create a more just and equitable world.