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Cat Hope

Year of Award: 2013 Award State: Western Australia Arts - Performing > General
Arts - Performing > Music
To study the creation, programming, performance and dissemination of graphically scored music - Japan, Germany, Iceland, Sweden, USA
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my time in Sweden and France were very productive and included a series of meetings and visits in Stockholm, Sweden, facilitated by the Visby International Composers Centre; attending the Tectonics Festival, Reykjavik, Iceland; recording with Lionel Marchetti, Lyon France; meeting Elaine Radigue and Kasper Toeplitz in Paris France and Jennifer Walshe, London. These people, organisations and events were key in realizing my understanding of worldwide contemporary notation practices.

The biggest discovery from my Fellowship was that there are no other composers or performers creating digital notations as we do in Australia, and there was much interest in the Australian trends in every place I visited. The standard of performance of this kind of music varied in different places, but overall I could say that we excel in this practice in Australia. The concert facilities also varied considerably, with this music appearing in a variety of venues from established government sponsored concert houses and major festivals, to small artist run spaces and independent radio programs.

I came away from the Fellowship with the feeling that contemporary Australian practice is largely invisible in Europe and the USA apart from a few maverick composers from the 1990s or highly produced ensembles. In addition, I noticed that these parts of the world support and feature their own artists innovations with much more enthusiasm than we do with our artists in Australia. Whilst there has been some support for Australian artists, including my own groups, from labels in both Europe and the USA, it became apparent that this will be falling away due to increased costs for hard copy production and dissemination (postal costs in the USA have risen by 50% in the last 6 months). Selfpublishing and digital distribution has saturated the market with more artists than could ever be possible to listen to or engage with, and personal contact is extremely important to highlight Australian artists in these markets. But the interest, willingness and curiosity in Australian innovations are there. Australian artists need to travel overseas to be known there. I wish to return with my group Decibel, performing digital graphic notation by Australian composers, as a way to disseminate the work done in Australia worldwide.

The demonstrations and lectures I presented were very well received, even at the highest international levels, with many follow up communications and positive feedback coming in after each one. The showcasing opportunities (discussions and performances as well as lectures) have led to a number of commissions for compositions by myself to be performed and broadcast in Europe and the USA. In addition, I commissioned a number works from composers I met on this trip to be performed by myself and my ensemble in Australia, Decibel. These opportunities will ensure that the fruits of this visit continue to have an impact on the places I have been, but also, that I can show the best of what I found during my fellowship in Australia through my programing of concerts here, in addition to my teaching at WAAPA, ECU and on boards and committees. Some of the people I visited will come to Australia to perform and work with ensembles and tour as a direct result of my visit.

The lack of women working in composition, in particular digital graphic notations was an ongoing topic of discussion in every place I visited. I came away with some ideas on how to create equity programs for young women composers in Australia that I will implement not only as a teacher at WAAPA, ECU, but also in my own curatorial practice. In this way, I hope to increase the involvement of women in new music creation in Australia.

An important outcome of the Fellowship was the establishment of an Inaugural Conference for Animated Notations, which I will convene in Perth, Western Australia in 2016. This involves several of the artists and researchers that I met during my Churchill Fellowship and will place Australia on the map in this important emerging development in digital graphic notations.

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