We’re very proud to present Kammerklang’s 2016 Spring album release: Picnic at Hanging Rock by Peggy Polias, the first in our series of seasonal album releases by Australian composers.
Cover Art: Ala Paredes
Inspired by the novel Picnic at Hanging Rock by Joan Lindsay
Completed as part of the Peter Sculthorpe Music Fellowship at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, we were very excited to assist Peggy in recording her major piano suite which is in equal parts; mysterious, eloquent and profound.
While the work is inspired by Joan Lindsay’s famous novel, Picnic at Hanging Rock, Peggy doesn’t just retell the story in a linear sense, but explores it in a dimensional sense, referring to some of the characters and events while exploring the nature of time.
The recording features pianists Zubin Kanga, Ian Munro, Philip Eames, Maggie Pang, Lara Rayner, Darci Gayford, James Wilkes and the composer herself. They seemed about as taken with the piece as we were:
“Peggy certainly shines a very unique light on the Australian classic and it will be a pleasure for any listener to finally be able to hear and experience the whole work!”
– Maggie Pang, pianist for Time II
“I was constantly inspired by the versatility and unassailable quality of Peggy’s craft in the Picnic at Hanging Rock suite. Ranging from the dense, angular counterpoint of the Fugue to the immense sonorities of The Rock every note had a musical and structural reason behind it.”
– Philip Eames, pianist for Fugue, The McCraw, Time II and The Rock
“Peggy captured a true sense of loss, at the same time portraying a sweet wistfulness. The harmonies and contrast in register had an ethereal feel. Overall, an incredible mood was created, which made the music a pleasure to play”
– Lara Rayner, pianist for Long Lost Lost
“Bewitching! Peggy’s Suite somehow seems to possess the same atmosphere of mystery that made the novel and the movie so haunting.”
– James Wilkes, pianist for Totem Animals
Peggy Polias is a composer and music typesetter based in Sydney. Polias prepares scores, instrumental parts and other print music materials for some of Australia’s leading composers. In 2010 she graduated with a Master of Music (Composition), supervised by Professor Anne Boyd at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music.
In 2011, Polias participated in the Halcyon First Stones project and the Ku-ring-gai Philharmonic Orchestra Composer Workshops. After having a baby in early 2013, Polias has resumed composing in 2014. She continues to explore the influences of Javanese Gamelan, minimalism, feminism, fractals and handicrafts in her music.
Ian Munro – Time I
After early training in Melbourne at the VCA with Roy Shepherd, Ian Munro’s career began with a series of international prizes in Spain, Italy, Portugal and the UK. Since then, Ian has performed sixty piano concerti in over thirty countries and has recorded for Hyperion, ABC Classics and extensively for BBC and ABC radio. His compositions have been performed by many of the leading ensembles in Australia and broadcast here and abroad. Recent commissions include a flute concerto for Prudence Davis and the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.
Zubin Kanga – Waltz, Nocturne
London-based Australian pianist, Zubin Kanga has performed at many international festivals, including the BBC Proms, Aldeburgh Festival, London Contemporary Music Festival, Cheltenham Festival (UK), ISCM World New Music Days, Metropolis New Music Festival, BIFEM (Australia), IRCAM Manifeste Festival (France) and Borealis Festival (Norway) as well as appearing as soloist with the London Sinfonietta, Arcko Symphonic Ensemble, Four Winds Festival Orchestra and the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.
Zubin has collaborated with many of the world’s leading composers including Thomas Adès, Michael Finnissy, George Benjamin, Steve Reich and Beat Furrer, and premired more than 60 new works including two piano concerti. He is a member of Ensemble Offspring, and has also performed with Ensemble Plus-Minus, Endymion Ensemble, and the Kreutzer Quartet, as well as performing piano duos with Rolf Hind and Thomas Adès. He has won numerous awards including the Australian Art Music Award for Performance of the Year (NSW), the ABC Limelight Award for Best Newcomer and first prize at the inaugural Keys National Piano Competition. His recent recordings include Not Music Yet (Hospital Hill Recordings), Orfordness (Metier) and Piano Inside Out (Move Records), which was nominated for Best Classical Album at the Australian Independent Music Awards.
A Masters and PhD graduate of the Royal Academy of Music, London, Zubin is currently a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Nice and IRCAM, Paris and a Research Fellow at the Royal Academy of Music.
Philip Eames – Fugue, Time III, The McCraw, The Rock
Australian pianist, composer and music director Philip Eames is currently a PhD candidate at the Sydney Conservatorium under the supervision of Dr Anne Boyd. His research focuses on the fascinating and deviant polyphonic experiments carried out in the choral music of Percy Grainger. Philip holds two Master of Music degrees; one from the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester and the other from the Queensland Conservatorium of Music. He has studied piano under Dr Max Olding, AM and Dr Stephen Savage.
As a performer, he was a piano finalist in the ABC Young Performer of the Year awards, had his playing described as “playful, mischievous, and vivacious” (The Australian Times) and direction as “seemingly effortless and technically skillful” (The Buzz from Sydney). Most recently, Philip has just returned from a performing in collaboration with Queensland Ballet and the chamber music ensemble Collusion, to stage his latest chamber ballet Annealed Cyan Malt – an Anagram for Piano Quintet.
Maggie Pang – Time II
Maggie recently completed her postgraduate performance studies at the Sydney Conservatorium under the tutelage of Natalia Sheludiakova and Dr. Bernadette Harvey. She is passionate in exploring contemporary piano works and has taken masterclasses in the US and Austria. She is an active chamber musician and is currently a freelance accompanist and piano tutor at the Sydney Conservatorium. Later this year, she will be going to Tasmania to participate in a series of performances and masterclasses with the Goldner String Quartet and Plexus ensemble.
Lara Rayner – Long Lost Lost
Lara Rayner grew up on a cropping farm in Southern New South Wales. She was home-schooled until the end of year 9, after which she completed years 10 to 12 at the nearby high school, St Paul’s College, Walla Walla, in 2015. Her piano teachers included Beth Ylvisaker, from the Murray Conservatorium in Albury, and Hamish Tait, from the Riverina Conservatorium in Wagga Wagga. She is currently in her first year of a Bachelor of Music Performance in piano at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, and is studying with Bernadette Harvey.
James Wilkes – Totem Animals
James lives on the Northern Beaches of Sydney and is currently studying piano with Dr Bernadette Harvey in his first year of a Bachelor of Music Performance at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music where he is supported by the John and Dorothy Vimpani Scholarship. He studied previously with Anne Harvey, the mother of the acclaimed Australian musicians Bernadette Harvey, Michael Kieran Harvey, Rowan Harvey-Martin, and Dominic Harvey. James has also participated in several masterclasses with pianists including Barbara Lister-Sink, Noriko Ogawa and Edward Neeman.
Darci Gayford – Miranda
Kammerklang (German for “Chamber sound”) is an Australian arts company specialising in the collaboration of music and other artforms, literally focusing on the fusion of sound and the “chamber” or space it’s performed in. Whether that space includes dancers, paintings, video projection, sculpture or circus performers depends on the project and nature of the works featured. The aim of Kammerklang is to present and promote new artistic creation that is inquisitive, detailed and accessible while still fostering exploration and communication between the arts. Featuring guest artists from all fields, a large chamber orchestra, and numerous young talented composers and artists, Kammerklang is “Sounds Made Real”.