I was delighted to be able to review the Women in the Creative Arts conference recital for The Australian newspaper. The concert featured the Muses Trio, an ensemble remarkable both for their charisma and for their focus on performing music by women. Their dedication to performing the eight works on the program included a month of workshops with the composer (sometimes via skype).  Four of the composers were present for the performance and gave insightful introductions to their works. The concert was richly thought provoking and often very beautiful, a fitting centrepiece for a conference celebrating women in the arts.

Christa Powell, Therese Milanovic and Louise King. Photo William Hall

“I’ll let you in on Australia’s best kept secret: our nation has one of the highest proportions of women composers in the world. Last week more than a hundred people gathered at the Australian National University to celebrate the diverse work of women who make up 26% percent of Australian composers, sound artists and improvising artists.

The centrepiece of the Women in the Creative Arts conference was a Friday night concert by Queensland’s The Muses Trio who performed eight works for piano trio chosen from around 100 international score submissions. Pianist Therese Milanovic, violinist Christa Powell and cellist Louise King’s authoritative interpretations were inflected with humanity and detail, marred only by a rather boomy piano (half-stick the lid!) and occasional mis-pitches in the violin.

Queensland-based Nicole Murphy’s Spinning Top opened the concert. Breathless repeated figures, harmonic stasis and some off-kilter syncopation gave this piece a self-contained perpetual motion. Minimalist patterns also underpinned US composer Jean Ahn’s A Flash of Ravel where Ravelian snippets were fragmented and juxtaposed with sections of string pizzicato and harmonics.”

Read the rest of the review at The Australian.

Composers Natalie Williams, Nicole Murphy, Joyce Wai-chung Tang,
 Hilary Kleinig and Christine McCombe. Photo William Hall