World premieres at music festival

Gabriella Smart, pictured at the launch of the Soundstream Music Festival. Photo by City Messenger.

Gabriella Smart, pictured at the launch of the Soundstream Music Festival. Photo by City Messenger.
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Friday, 5 October 2012

A series of concerts celebrating both new and acclaimed composers and featuring world premieres will be a highlight of the 2012 Soundstream Festival, from October 11-15.

The University of Adelaide's contemporary music ensemble, Soundstream Collective, based at the Elder Conservatorium of Music, will perform new works in an innovative program which promises to both stimulate and surprise, according to its artistic director Gabriella Smart.

Gabriella, an international concert pianist in her own right, is keen to showcase new music by taking it out into the community in a range of different forms and venues.

One of these will be a massed gathering of 60 pianists performing duets on 30 pianos in a free event to be staged as part of the festival in the Adelaide Town Hall on Sunday 14 October.

Piano Phasing is the brainchild of Dutch composer Kristoffer Zegers. Members of the community from all walks of life, including Elder Conservatorium musicians, will be part of this event.

Another first will be the National Young Composers Award concert, featuring new works by six finalists, all aged less than 30 years. One of these will be awarded a commission to write new music performed by Soundstream Collective in 2013.

Soundstream Collective blends the genres of creative writing and music and is auspiced by the JM Coetzee Centre for Creative Practice at the University of Adelaide.

"New music is about creating original works so it is fertile ground for the University of Adelaide and what it is trying to achieve," Gabriella said.

"My focus has been on the community because new music does not survive as a hermetically-sealed package. It is vibrant and permeates every sector of our society, across many genres.

"People listen to new music every day without even being aware of it - in a film track, dance work and on the radio. It is very easy to take it out into the community if you take it outside the concert hall and into different venues."

Thanks to a Churchill Fellowship, Gabriella spent six weeks in Europe and Canada in 2011, researching the most effective ways to engage audiences in new music.

"Collaboration is the key," she said.

She has put this life-changing experience into practice this year with Soundstream Collective, forming partnerships with the Australian Institute of Architects, South Australian Museum, Adelaide City Council, State Opera, local schools and Art and Heritage Collections at the University.

"You are not only expanding and diversifying your audience by collaborating with different organisations; you are also taking away the label 'new music' which people find intimidating."

Internationally-renowned musicians booked for the 2012 Soundstream Festival in October include violinist and improviser Jon Rose; pianist Paul Grabowsky (performing Stravinsky's Rite of Spring with Gabriella Smart); and composers Elena Kats Chernin, Mary Finsterer and Daniel Matej.

For more information on the festival go to


Contact Details

Dr Gabriella Smart
Artistic Director, Soundstream Collective
Elder Conservatorium of Music
University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8272 1413
Mobile: 0409 673 585

Mr David Ellis
Deputy Director, Media and Corporate Relations
External Relations
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 5414
Mobile: +61 (0)421 612 762