The Sia Furler effect
Popular Australian singer-songwriter Sia has lent her name to a new music institute at the University of Adelaide. The Sia Furler Institute for Contemporary Music and Media will prepare students for careers in contemporary music, film, and digital media.
Sia, who was born in Adelaide in 1975, is an ARIA and MTV Music Award-winning artist who also received several Grammy nominations in 2015. Her best-known album is 1000 Forms of Fear (2014).
The new Institute will be based within the university’s Elder Conservatorium of Music, whose director, composer Graeme Koehne, said Sia’s creativity extended beyond music to video and digital media: ‘Sia has become an inspiration to young artists the world over and it’s that talent we aim to foster through our new institute.’
Melbourne International Jazz Festival, 3 to 12 June 2016
The stated theme for this year's Festival is the 'Evolution of Jazz', a celebration of the ongoing dialogue between past icons and emerging figures. Opening with US sax giant Gary Bartz's tribute to the music of John Coltrane, and closing with the masterful Wayne Shorter Quartet, MJF promises an exciting few weeks of music in Melbourne in June. International highlights include the first Australian appearance of Grammy Award-winning bassist Esperanza Spalding, with her project Emily's D + Evolution; rising Blue Note pianist Robert Glasper, playing in acoustic trio format; vocalist José James performing the music of Billie Holiday; and Japanese pianist Hiromi, returning with her Trio Project. World rhythms are represented by Ethio-Jazz pioneer Mulatu Astatke, who will perform with the Black Jesus Experience, and Eddie Palmieri's Latin Jazz Septet.
Two concerts, in particular, that Arts Update is looking forward to are: the collaboration between Polish trumpeter Tomasz Stańko, and the Monash Art Ensemble performing the music of the great film composer Krzysztof Komeda; and the first Melbourne staging of composer Stu Hunter's long-form suite 'the migration', which débuted to widespread acclaim at the Sydney Festival in January.
Aside from concerts at the Arts Centre, Recital Centre, Forum, and Cooper's Malthouse, there will be plenty of club sessions at Bennett's Lane, Uptown Jazz Café, and Dizzy's Jazz Club, including performances by American saxophonist Marcus Strickland and trumpeter Keyon Harrold; Israeli pianist Shai Maestro; Peter Knight's Way Out West; and a tribute to the late Melbourne drummer and bandleader Allan Browne, led by his long-term friend and collaborator Paul Grabowsky. The full program can be found here.
David Hare in Melbourne
David Hare – prolific British playwright – will be in Melbourne in the lead-up to the Melbourne Theatre Company's revival of his play Skylight (1995), which opens on 18 June (with a cast including Colin Friels and Anna Samson). During his visit, Hare will be in conversation with Julian Burnside about 'politics, public institutions, art, and the writing life'. This will be a joint MTC/Wheeler Centre event at Southbank Theatre on Sunday, 1 May. Last year David Hare published a fascinating memoir of his early years in the theatre: The Blue Touch Paper.
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