Musica Viva’s 2012 Featured Composer lives on a hill in north-eastern Victoria where he composes and writes about music.
“I guess the thing about being here is that the atmosphere is very conducive to doing creative work, because it's quiet, there's no traffic, people don't drop in, one can't just wander out to the local supermarket or post office on a pretext. Procrastination is something that it's quite hard to do,” Kerry says. He also tries to live as self-sufficiently as he can, growing vegetables and tending animals and is involved in the local community including being a member of the rural fire service.
Kerry finds inspiration for his compositions in many ways. “A number of my works have had their generative moment in a poetic image or thought” while others have “been in some way related to the idea of the sea” or are more purely abstract. And while he sees chamber music as a form that can express profound thoughts, it is also very much “about the formal processes – creating drama with the slender means afforded by a trio or a quartet, as against an orchestra, where it's possible to make a great deal of noise – you don't have that luxury in writing a string quartet or trio, so the formal processes have to be much more rigorous.”
Five works by Gordon Kerry feature in the 2012 International Concert Season.
The St Lawrence String Quartet will perform Elegy for string quartet (2007), written at a time of personal loss.
Im Winde (2000) is a piano trio inspired by the autumnal writings of Romantic poet Friedrich Hölderlin and will be performed by Trio Dali.
The Takács Quartet will perform Variations for string quartet (2006), commissioned by Diane Parks in association with Musica Viva Australia in honour of David Bookallil’s sixtieth birthday.
The Kuss Quartet and Naoko Shimizu will give the world premiere performances of Viola Quintet (2012), commissioned for Musica Viva Australia by Kim Williams, AM.
Anthony Marwood and Aleksandar Madžar will perform Martian Snow (2008), written for the Australian National Academy of Music.
Gordon Kerry studied at the University of Melbourne with Barry Conyngham and has combined his composition practice with music journalism, writing and arts administration. He has held awards and fellowships from the Australia Council, Peggy Glanville-Hicks Trust, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and was awarded The Ian Potter Established Composer Fellowship in 2009. In 2003 he received the Centenary Medal for his services to Australian society through music. His book New Classical Music: Composing Australia was published by UNSW Press in 2009.
Key works include a chamber opera Medea, piano duo Vigil, a completion of Mozart’s Requiem and orchestral works This Insubstantial Pageant, harvesting the solstice thunders, Clouds and Trumpets and several concertos. Premieres in 2011 include a song-cycle to poetry of John Kinsella for Merlyn Quaife and Andrea Katz, Captain Flinders’ Musick, for flautist Alison Mitchell and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and his Symphony for the Sydney Symphony Orchestra.
Kerry has recently completed a new work with Louis Nowra for Opera Victoria’s 2012 season, Midnight Son.
More information is available at the Victorian Opera site.
Concert Insights videos with Gordon Kerry are online here; find out what inspires the inspired!