ELISION is Australia’s leading new music ensemble. The group has established a reputation for delivering authoritative and virtuosic interpretations of complex, unusual, and challenging aesthetics, often developed in close collaboration with the composer. The practice of the ensemble ranges from concert giving to cross-disciplinary projects with a range of new media and visual artists. Installation-performance works and the use of improvisational experiences as a creative tool to inform more structured and formally notated music have been a key element of the group’s activities.
International concert and recording engagements received to-date include performances for Maerzmusik, the Hebbel Theater of Berlin, the Berlin Philharmonie and Konzerthaus, Wien Modern, Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, the Westdeutscher Rundfunk, and Radio Bremen, Festival Ars Musica of Brussels, the Züricher TheaterSpektakel, Saitama Arts Theatre of Japan, IRCAM as part of the Agora festival, the 50th Warsaw Autumn Festival, the Chekov International Theatre Festival of Moscow, the Festival d’automne of Paris, the TRANSIT Festival of Leuven and the Ultima Festival of Oslo. This activity complements major appearances at the Brisbane, Perth, Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide Festivals and the release of several recordings with KAIROS, NEOS, NMC and MODE reviewed to acclaim by the international press.
Since 2009 ELISION has enjoyed ongoing concert activity in London and regular appearances for the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival. Richard Barrett’s CONSTRUCTION, a 2-hour cycle commissioned by the European Capital of Culture programme was premiered by ELISION at the Huddersfield Contemporary music Festival in 2011 and broadcast live by BBC Radio3. Recently the group has worked with composers Bryn Harrison, Mary Bellamy, Sam Hayden, Einar Einarsson and Paul Craenen, and maintained a close research relationship with SIAL studios at RMIT, Melbourne. ELISION has also developed a strong relationship with newly emergent strands of American composition as evident in the close association with composers Aaron Cassidy, Evan Johnson and Timothy McCormack.
Major projects have included Liza Lim’s opera The Navigator, the performance-installation works DARK MATTER and Opening of the Mouth with Richard Barrett and TULP - the body public with composer John Rodgers and new media artist Justine Cooper.
ELISION has recorded over twenty-two compact discs (inxcluding 5 for NMC), undertaken close to thirty international tours to over fourteen different countries and initiated international commissions supported by organisations in England, Canada, Holland, France and Japan. Conductors worked with include Jean Deroyer, Franck Ollu, Christian Eggen, Manuel Nawri, Simon Hewett, Denis Cohen, Carl Rosman, and Eugene Ughetti. Of singular importance to ELISION was the relationship with conductor Sandro Gorli.
ELISION now consists of twenty leading musicians from four Australian capital cities, Singapore, Manchester, Paris, Cologne, and Bonn.
Founded in Oslo in 1989, CIKADA is considered one of Europe's leading contemporary music ensembles. In addition to performing acoustically,
CIKADA works regularly with electro-acoustic music and has collaborated with jazz musicians, visual artists and video designers.
CIKADA focuses on works by significant Norwegian and Scandinavian composers, as well as leading international composers. With contemporary music at the core of its ventures, CIKADA has always been active in the commissioning and premiering of new works. CIKADA believes that pieces grow through numerous performances, and where possible presents works on several occasions.
Throughout the years, CIKADA has worked closely with renowned composers including Bent Sørensen, Richard Barrett, Rolf Wallin, Celilie Ore, Arne Nordheim, Karsten Fundal, Kaija Saariaho, Magnus Lindberg, James Clarke and Liza Lim. Crossing the boundaries to other genres, CIKADA has initiated projects with leading jazz musicians and visual artists, including Arild Andersen, Trygve Seim, Anette Peacock and Per Inge Bjørlo.
In addition to regular concert engagements, CIKADA has recorded and released over 30 albums.
As a member of ELISION Deborah has performed internationally at the Agora Festival Paris, Ars Musica, MaerzMusik, Pro Musica Nova, Zürcher Theaterspektakel, BBC Maida Vale studios, the Hebbel Theater of Berlin, Saitama Arts Centre Japan as well as at all of the major Australian festivals. Composers who have written specifically for her voice in major works, opera and installation include Liza Lim (the operas Navigator and Yuè Lìng Jié), Richard Barrett (his major cycles CONSTRUCTION, Opening of the Mouth and DARK MATTER), Chris Dench (ik(s)land[s] and the blinding access of the grace of flesh, on NMC) and John Rodgers (his video-opera TULP, the body public).
Kayser has premiered and has been a crucial performer for many chamber works by Australian and overseas composers, including those of Timothy McCormack, Evan Johnson, Chaya Czernowin, David Young, Volker Heyn, Michael Finnissy, Jason Eckardt and Michael Smetanin. She has worked with the Australian companies Chambermade, Theatreworks, and Aphids.
Kayser performs in areas as diverse as ancient Byzantine chant, French and German baroque song, contemporary music, both scored and improvised, opera and mixed-media work. As a member of Jouissance, she has performed radical interpretations of Byzantine and medieval chant, including the works of Hildegard of Bingen, Kassia, Romanos Melodos and Peter Abelard. She has also toured Japan, Belgium, France and Estonia.
As a soprano, Deborah is a major exponent and leader of contemporary Australian vocal practice.
Conductor, composer and pianist, Christian Eggen (b.1957) is one of the most influential personalities on the Norwegian music scene, ranging from contemporary music via genre-merging projects, installations, television and radio drama productions to film, theatre, jazz, opera and classical music.
As a conductor, he is known as one of Europe’s finest interpreters of contemporary music and has worked closely with composers such as Morton Feldman, Iannis Xenakis, John Cage and Helmut Lachenmann. As artistic director of the Oslo Sinfonietta, he has developed the Norwegian sinfonietta repertoire since the 1990s, and he regularly appears on the European contemporary music scene with groups such as the Ensemble MusikFabrik and Ensemble InterContemporain. His work with orchestras include the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, the Orchestra Filarmonica della Scala in Milan and the Royal Philharmonic in London.
Christian Eggen has appeared on many recordings, and has been principal featured performer at the Bergen International Festival. In 2007, he was appointed Commander of the Royal Norwegian Order of St. Olav for his work with Norwegian and international contemporary music.
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Deborah Kayser mezzo-soprano
Carl Rosman clarinets
Dary Buckley electric guitar
Christian Eggen conductor
DARK MATTER, scored for an ensemble of 19 performers (including soprano, electric guitar and a vast array of percussion) plus live and pre-recorded electronics, sets secret Egyptian texts carved on the walls of sarcophagi in the pyramids of 2400BC - possibly the oldest known religious texts in the world - alongside fragments from Lucretius and other Greek writers on the nature of matter, the stars and other worlds and ending with Samuel Beckett's 'Sounds'.
For the first performance of the work Barrett collaborated with Norwegian artist Per Inge Bjørlo; the site was transformed into multiple architectural/ acoustical spaces. Viewers/listeners were invited to form their own imaginary narrative and to create a pathway through a labyrinth of installations and sound-sources.
Photos from Brisbane production, 2001: Andrea Higgins
5:4 BEST ALBUM OF 2012 TOP 3 (2)
‘This is one of the most dazzling displays of contemporary music ever recorded…It practically defies belief to hear Barrett’s music-or indeed, any music-played with such unshakeable conviction and commitment. A masterpiece’ 5:4 blog
‘The fragmented textures of ‘Transmission V’ make way for ‘Katasterismoi’ (‘Transformations into stars’), in which the interaction between ensemble and electronics is at its most imaginative: after which the expressive remoteness of ‘Sounds’, in its juxtaposing of Samuel Beckett’s eponymous text within the confines of highly stylised Baroque dance suite, seems the more startling. As might be expected from Barrett, Dark Matter is an intense and involving listen which is not for the faint-hearted. That said, there are regions (not necessarily mere ‘oases’) of often disturbing beauty which parallel the cosmological speculation of the attendant texts as well as that of the overall conception….Detailed notes by the composer set the seal on an engrossing release’ IRR
‘Barrett’s music is indeed dark, it is also many other things often at the same time: playful, unnerving and often surprisingly transparent. I say ‘surprisingly’ because of the associations that still dog those associated with New Complexity, whereas Barrett is capable of gestures that are direct to the point of crudity, from this standpoint, the dedication to Xenakis makes perfect sense. Congratulations to all concerned’ Gramophone
‘Music that takes the musically contrapuntal, sometimes anarchic, nearly always sonically innovative sounds of late Darmstadt and Cagean compositional ways and extends them further into an electronically-acoustically complex music that is personally distinct. The post Hendrixian Star-Spangled out electric guitar work of Daryl Buckley that shines in segments where Barrett has build invigorating settings for a skronk-maelstorm. It is an avant highlight of this decade so far and Barrett could well be one of the most important composers we have living and creating today’ Classical-Modern music
‘Dense and complex, with exciting and often dazzling polyphony. Barrett is among the rather few composers of atonal music who consistently manage to produce music for the human solo voice that is distinctive, compelling and memorable…The play colours in the music is remarkable’ Albrecht Moritz
‘... this is certainly one of the most adventurous and compelling discs of recent years. Come to it with open ears and an open mind, and you are sure to be rewarded.’ Europadisc
This recording has been supported by the Australian Council for the Arts and by Kulturradet, Norway.