Inspired by the historical narratives of seven colonial pianos that still exist in various locations across Australia today, Smart’s ‘Of Broken Trees and Elephant Ivories’ is comprised of commissioned works by fourteen Australian and German composers; offering a rich perspective of Australia’s colonial history involving famous artists, Afghan cameleers and Morse code.
For one evening only, Smart will perform two works composed by Cat Hope and Erkki Veltheim that explore the little known stories surrounding Percy Grainger’s childhood piano (Hope) and the arduous journey of the first piano to arrive in Alice Springs by camel (Veltheim). Limited to an audience of 150, audience and artist are seated on the stage together for an intimate performance.
Cat Hope’s experimental piece Kaps Freed was inspired by Melbourne’s Albert Park Lake (a location Percy Grainger often visited for inspiration). Using sparse musical textures and a graphic music score, the sound world of the piano is extended and transformed with electronics operated by Stuart James. Two New Proposals by Erkki Veltheim is an immersive electro-acoustic piece that uses Morse code to reflect on the connection between repetitious Morse messages at Australian colonial repeater stations and pop culture’s obsessive need to re-tweet messages across social media.
An immersive performance not to be missed, Gabriella Smart’s performance of ‘Of Broken Trees and Elephant Ivories’ presents a unique glimpse into Australia’s colonial history; highlighting the cultural significance of the piano.
- Read our Behind The Scenes article with Gabriella – Here
Cat Hope – Kaps Freed
Erkki Veltheim – Two New Proposals
Associate artist – Stuart James
Veltheim comments on society’s social media obsession by referencing Ellen DeGeneres’ 2015 Oscar selfie (one of the world’s most retweeted tweets) in Two New Proposals.