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Chloe Chung, Carlo Antonioli
Chloe Chung, Liz Cheung, Carlo Antonioli
Director, Musical Between
In conversation with Andrew Bukenya: Song of a Why?
Brad Gill, Liz Cheung
Chloe Chung, Victoria Bromberger
Chloe Chung, Izumi Nago
Chloe Chung Dreambox Collective Artistic Director, writer
Brad Gill percussion
Carlo Antonioli digital instruments
Liz Cheung percussion, bottles, flute head joint, visual artist
Pavle Cajic piano, narrator
Andrew Bukenya narrator
Victoria Bromberger soprano
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 to “Coming to Our Senses”, the second concert in our Dreambox Collective 2021 season, “A Friend of Mine”!
It brings me so much pleasure to gather us together for this Dreambox event on Zoom – the second online concert we’ve attempted in our short history as a collective. In a concert that celebrates our neurodiversity, we wanted to highlight the role that music and art can play in healing and community care. It seemed only fitting that I gave our artists full reign to write, co-create and collaborate on new works they wanted to bring to life for themselves in this moment of the pandemic.
Our partner organisation for this concert is Musical Between – an inclusive music centre located in Pennant Hills. As we’ve navigated this time together in lockdown, we’ve had the pleasure of learning from Director Izumi Nago about how music therapy continues its work in lockdown, providing support for communities, and how music therapy continues to evolve with technology.
This concert was originally meant to take place as a live event in mid-August. In the face of many continuing unexpected obstacles, we were determined to carry out our vision while adapting to an online platform – and the phrase “experimenting, again and again” seems to pop to mind, capturing the flavour of our journey of the past months. I would like to thank every member of the artist team, and I’d particularly like to acknowledge the tenacity of our two guest vocalists, Victoria Bromberger and Andrew Bukenya, as their “roles” increased from guest to full-fledged team member!
Finally, thanks to you, our audience, for witnessing – and collaborating on! – our “time capsule” of this moment.
Dreambox Collective Artistic Director
Notes on the music
Chloe Chung, Carlo Antonioli Song of a Hi
Featuring the audience!
We thought that it would be a shame to hold a concert without all of the delicious white noise created by a blur of chatting people, so we’re bringing it into this virtual concert hall with an edge of playfulness where you can be as loud or as soft as you want! (But beware, we do have the power to mute you.)
Pavle Cajic Song of a Pi
The mathematical constant π (pi) has been known for millennia, as it is the basic number relating the distance around a circle to its diameter. The Babylonians approximated π as 3, as did the Hebrew Bible. In the 3rd Century BCE, Archimedes approximated a circle with a 96-gon to prove that 223⁄71 < π < 22⁄7 . In the first millennium AD, the Chinese mathematician Zu Chongzi calculated π to 7 decimal places (3.141592) by approximating a circle with a 24,576-gon. His extraordinary calculation was unimproved upon across the world for 900 years.
Further progress was not made until the discovery of infinite series. π has some of the simplest and most beautiful infinite series of any number. The first of these to be discovered is also one of the most striking:
These series show that π is an irrational number that cannot be represented as a fraction, whose decimal expansion goes on forever without repeating. By adding more terms to the series, one can calculate π to any desired precision.
My aim in this piece for narrator and piano is to reveal the mathematical beauty of the order behind the seemingly random digits of π through music. The decimal expansion of π is impossible to memorise in its entirety, because it never ends. But a simple infinite series can be understood at a glance. In that glance, one can see the entirety of π.
Mathematics, rightly viewed, possesses not only truth, but supreme beauty—a beauty cold and austere, like that of sculpture, without appeal to any part of our weaker nature, without the gorgeous trappings of painting or music, yet sublimely pure, and capable of a stern perfection such as only the greatest art can show. – Bertrand Russell
Chloe Chung, Liz Cheung, Carlo Antonioli Song of a Sigh
Chloe Chung writer
Liz Cheung illustrator
Carlo Antonioli composer
Andrew Bukenya narrator
In the depths of 2020, I began to write down a list of all the different times I happened to sigh during a month that was very stressful for me because of various events that were out of my control. I became my own Sigh collector, so to speak, and took my research very seriously. This list kept getting longer and longer and LONGER until (Chloe Chung)
she decided to share these sighs with me, knowing I had been a keen bean to do some drawing for Dreambox since last year! We began to conjure some images and sounds to accompany these pockets of emotive breaths, while continuing to take note of each tea-sip-sigh and sit-down-after-long-day-sigh and so on. Originally I wanted to draw Song of a Sigh as comics using my new 24 colour Sharpies on stacks of free paint sample papers, and over time, they evolved in both style and media into the digital artworks you see and hear today. Many a Zoom annotated diagram were constructed, including (Liz Cheung)
a Sigh-by-Sigh mood graph, which I used as the basis of the musical composition to accompany Chloe’s text, to be read by the wonderful Andrew Bukenya. For the live concert, the composition was originally going to feature the entire cast of the artist team using every instrument under the sun – flute, dizi, saxophone, erhu, piano, vibraphone, glockenspiel and voice – but then COVID-19 caught up with us again, meaning that the piece had to be recorded in isolation. As a result, the composition was reduced to piano (with some other cameo digital instruments), performed by myself on MIDI keyboard and neatened in a digital audio workstation. This meant that we unfortunately lost details such as the sighing gestures only possible on non-keyboard instruments, as well as the spontaneity of the improvised sections. However, this whole process, and the process of marrying the music both with Andrew’s velvety voice and Liz’s joyful illustrations in PowerPoint, was an enriching journey of learning, resulting in many more sighs – some of frustration, but ultimately many more of fulfilment. (Carlo Antonioli)
Brad Gill, Liz Cheung Song of a Try
For the 2021 Dreambox project “Coming to Our Senses”, Liz and I were paired and given the brief to create an improvised duet themed Song of a Try. We planned a duet of easily portable percussion and bass flute. We played together in Sydney Park to develop a shared creative space and the seeds of a shape for our Song of a Try. That was before.
That was before.
Along with everyone else in greater Sydney, we found ourselves stranded where we are/were, both of us without our main instruments or a means of playing together in real time and recording a collective improvisation. Neither of us have access to professional level microphones during “hard” lockdown either.
And so, we decided to embrace these limitations and approach our duet as making art from a place of “not knowing”. Sort of. Liz conceived a musical plan to convey the notion of Try: first faltering steps; a series of Tries; build to a climax; clarity based on the confidence flowing from the series of Tries. We decided on a piece in two sections, the first to last 4 minutes, corresponding to Liz’s plan and a second 3-minute section we refer to as “freestyle”.
Still left with the practical problem of playing “together” we decided to embrace the situation and I proposed subdividing the four minutes into four time-lengths: 15, 45, 60 and 120 seconds. We would randomly select the order (literally drawing the numbers written on pieces of paper out of a hat) and so potentially arrive at differently orders of the time-lengths, and “map” Liz’s form onto our individual division of 4 minutes. The idea was that we would then sit “together” with the shared intention to improvise according to the agreed plan without awareness of the sounds and gestures the other was producing and to accept the simultaneities and embrace the approach of “making art from a place of no knowing”. We chose to trust the process and each other, and hopefully have, with our Song of a Try produced something authentic and meaningful.
Brad Gill Song of Shining Eyes
Brad Gill composer
Victoria Bromberger soprano
Chloe Chung visuals
For Miss Martha Mei
With your shining eyes,
I sing for you.
Your bright mind and joyous heart.
You love the new,
all enthusiastic, your fragile heart
restless and aflame.
with your beautiful shining eyes.
Homer sang another song
for Pallas Athene – gloukopis;
another wondrous, gorgeous soul.
I sing for you,
your beautiful shining eyes.
“After” Homer’s Hymn 28 to Athena
Brad Gill, 16.02.2021
Chloe Chung, Victoria Bromberger Song of a Cry
Chloe Chung composer
Victoria Bromberger composer, soprano
The process of writing and filming Song of a Cry was completely collaborative between me and Chloe, and our respective ideas entwined and supported each other in a uniquely harmonic and empathetic way. The concept of the piece began with Chloe’s poem and melodic ideas of the A section, inspired by an emotionally ebbing and flowing lullaby.
Song of a cry
where you and I
peek through another world
Where you and I, we would fly, cross the sky
And see each other bright and new
Portals that see waves under me
Standing from under the sure
Song of goodbye
some teary eyes
sing a song to bid adieu
Originally, our piece was to feature additional instruments. Due to lockdown restrictions and stay-at-home orders, we decided to pare things back and embrace simplicity. The B section of the composition features text from Rebecca Solnit’s “A Field Guide to Getting Lost”, which carried the ideas of Chloe’s poetry onwards, and also particularly spoke to me during Sydney’s lockdown.
Leave the door open for the unknown, the door into the dark. That’s where the most important things come from, where you yourself came from, and where you will go. – Rebecca Solnit (A Field Guide to Getting Lost, 2006)
The melodic ideas of the B section mirror some found in the A section, to bring a unity between both sections and maintain the simple lullaby feel. I wrote the B section on a day I was filled with grief at the isolation caused by lockdown. Whilst this feeling pervades the opening melodic lines, I feel it gives way to hopefulness and serenity, as the text reminded me, and reminds us all, to continue to embrace the unknown and push forward as best we can.
Chloe Chung, Izumi Nago Song of a Bye
Chloe Chung origami
Izumi Nago piano
We leave you today by coming full circle: returning to origami, one of the community art practices offered at Musical Between. Izumi has kindly offered to improvise at the piano as I fold an origami chatterbox. I invite you to fold anything you want to make as a creative offering to yourself (perhaps a friend for your one-fold elephant!). I hope this will serve as a reminder that creative choices are available to us in any moment.
Chloe Chung is an innovative 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 throughout Sydney. Her passion for creativity, sustainability and education are central to her work as an active performer, teacher, and emerging creative director.
A passionate educator, Chloe is currently Academic Lecturer of Flute at AIM (Australian Institute of Music), and Sydney Conservatorium High School. At the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, she teaches dizi, performing regularly with the ensemble. In 2019, Chloe founded the Dreambox Collective.
Brad Gill is a composer, percussionist and co-artistic director of the composer-performer collective Sideband as well as member of the experimental improvisation project ‘Mind on Fire’. He began serious musical studies with a focus on xylophone and percussion, later developing an interest in composition, which he explored while a student at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music (from which he has an Honours degree and Ph.D.) and University of Western Australia. During this time he developed an interest in non-Western music, undertaking additional study in Javanese Gamelan and Tabla, as well as studying jazz, resulting in a broad and highly individual compositional and performance style.
Carlo Antonioli is one of Australia’s most promising young conductors and multi-faceted musicians. In 2018-2019, Carlo served as the Assistant Conductor to the West Australian Symphony Orchestra, working closely with Principal Conductor Asher Fisch and leading the orchestra on their 2019 Regional Tour in Esperance and Albany. He has also assisted Vladimir Ashkenazy and Simone Young at the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. Additionally, Carlo has worked with many community and youth orchestras in Sydney and beyond. An avid musicologist, his article on Strauss’s Metamorphosen has been published in the Sydney Undergraduate Journal of Musicology. Carlo performs with Petrichor Sax, which won first place at the Sydney Eisteddfod Musica Viva Chamber Music Award finals. As a member of the Dreambox Collective and at a time when live performances of music have come to a standstill, Carlo has turned to composition as a means of creating works which respond to current world events.
Usually stocked in the music aisle, Liz Yung Cheung is ex-sigh-ted to create visual song in Dreambox Collective’s 2021 Coming to Our Senses season with style-us and tablet. Having spent most of their childhood drawing career on horses (and subsequently monsters), a recent experimental stage has brought them to digitally painting original characters from Dungeons & Dragons campaigns, as well as crafting sharpie-on-paint-sample comics and pen-on-paper portraits. Liz also enjoys messing around with the skeletal sounds of instruments through composing and improvising, compiling the noises your teacher tells you not to make during lessons. In their spare time, they can be found patting a chonky grey cat named Claude, knitting/embroidering, sipping tea, practising activism, and writing things like poetry and shopping lists. Liz’s illustrations are made on unceded Aboriginal land, and they pay their respects to the traditional custodians, the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation and the Darug and Gundungurra peoples in the Blue Mountains, and elders past, present, and emerging.
Pavle Cajic is a dedicated composer and classical pianist of Serbian background, based in Sydney. His music aims to tell stories, evoking feelings and atmospheres that take the listener on visceral journeys.
Pavle graduated from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music with a degree in piano performance in 2016, which he undertook on a full scholarship, under the tuition of Natalia Sheludiakova, Paul Rickard-Ford and Nikolai Evrov. He has studied composition with prominent Australian composers and conductors such as Tristan Coelho, Trevor Pearce, Brad Gill and the late Richard Gill. His compositions have been performed in Australia and Norway, most frequently with the Sydney-based Voces Caelestium orchestra, which he co-founded with conductor TaeSoo Kim, and his works have been championed by the eminent Norwegian violinist Ole Bohn. As a pianist, he has performed both solo and in collaboration with other musicians at recitals and music festivals in Australia, New Zealand, Italy and Norway.
Andrew Bukenya (London/UK) studied music (singing and conducting) at the University of East Anglia and was twice awarded the Norwich & Peterborough Scholarship, enabling him to continue vocal studies with John Aplin. A Japanese Government (Monbusho) Scholarship saw him pursue postgraduate solo vocal studies at the Tokyo National University of Music and Fine Arts. His career has ranged from music theatre roles, oratorio & opera in the UK (Glyndebourne), Japan (Suntory Hall) and Australia; sold out recitals (in music ranging from renaissance lute song to gospel at Kings College Cambridge, Griffin Theatre with Aria winning harpist Marshall McGuire (Mardi Gras Festival), and Bev Kennedy for 2by20 (City Recital Hall); duet vocals with Chaka Khan & Sheila E (Blue Note), in addition to back up vocals for Usher (Tokyo) and George Benson with the SSO at the Opera House and the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra.
He currently hosts Sydney Symphony Hour on Fine Music Sydney 102.5FM, Thirsty Thursdays at Darlinghurst Theatre Co & the online artists interview series, Andrew Bukenya Presents ‘Chat & Dash!’
Victoria Bromberger is a young Australian Soprano based in Sydney. She gained a Post Graduate Diploma of Opera Performance and a Bachelor of Music Performance (Classical Voice) from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. Previous operatic roles include Zerlina (Don Giovanni), Oberto (Alcina), Le Fils (Les mamelles de Tirésias), Sandman (Hänsel und Gretel) and First Spirit (Die Zauberflöte). Victoria currently performs as a Soprano soloist with the Judgement of Paris Baroque Ensemble, and is passionate about performing new works from current Australian composers.
Guest speaker: Izumi Nago
Izumi has practiced music therapy over 20 years in various fields including mental health, geriatric care, children and adults with disability, adolescents at risk, and the general population - both in Japan and Australia. Izumi began her career as a classical pianist, having graduated from the Osaka College of Music. An opportunity to observe and take part in music therapy sessions in a psychiatric hospital was the turning point that led Izumi to study music therapy. She witnessed that music could immediately sweep away the social barriers caused by illness and disability, promoting communication and connecting people.
She studied music therapy at Toho Gakuen in Tokyo, and completed her Graduate Diploma in Music Therapy at the University of Technology Sydney, followed by the Masters of Creative Music Therapy and the Graduate Certificate in Research Studies at the University of Western Sydney.
Izumi directs Musical Between as an inclusive music centre, which provides music therapy, art therapy, and community activities - with the aims of enhancing the individual’s sense of well-being; and of connecting the individual with his/her community. She also hopes that this centre will contribute to a more inclusive community.