Post by Dick Letts, May 2nd, 2015
Melbourne’s Vance Joy is the winner of the Grand Prize at the US-based International Songwriting Competition for 2015.
The announcement of the win says that “In the history of ISC, no other entrant has ever garnered perfect scores from the judges until the 2015 Grand Prize winner, Vance Joy, for his song Riptide… the song has become an international hit, launching Joy’s career with sold-out tours and chart success in his home country of Australia, the USA, and throughout the world.” Riptide is the name of a motel Vance stayed in as a child on family holidays on the coast.
Kimbra of Melbourne took first place in the Music Video section and for Performance with the track 90s Music, and Sam Cisco of Fremantle took first in Rock, for Run.
Australians also took four second places, three third places and 51 honourable mentions. There were 18,000 contestants.
Daniel Smith is a young Australian conductor based in Europe. According to his website, he is not performing with any Australian orchestras. We wonder why. Here are some notices from the media elsewhere.
“Conductor Prodigy from Australia… one of the most sought after and applauded young conductors in the world, Daniel Smith is already being called the new Karajan.” – Saint-Petersburg News (Mariinsky Theatre)
“Five stars. Pinpoint precision. Magnificent. For his uncomplicated joy in making music, for his expansive, courtly gestures, his radiantly expressive energy.” – The Argus / London Philharmonic Orchestra
“The conductor everyone is talking about!” – Sky News
“The best concert in thirty years; left many breathless and in tears.” – Saskatoon Symphony
“He infects the orchestra and the listener.” – Lutoslawski Competition
“A river of emotion, which immersed the public.” – Nice Matin
“An experience that reaped an ecstatic ovation.” – Berlingske Tidende
Smith was the first ever Australian to be invited by Maestro Valery Gergiev to conduct at the celebrated Mariinsky Theatre and after seven successive invitations to Saint Petersburg, he was also the first Australian to perform at the eminent Stars of the White Nights festival. Smith’s great desire to exhibit Australia on the world stage drove him to negotiate a showcase performance of didgeridoo player William Barton in his and composer Matthew Hindson’s deeply emotional Kalkadungu, performing at the Stars of the White Nights.
Daniel Smith may soon be good enough to perform with an Australian orchestra!
How many Australian conductors are making it overseas? Three? Four you say? Apart from Daniel, can you tell Jig’s their names? Richard Bonynge, but who else? Simone Young. Of course, but who is your fourth…?
Australia apparently does not produce conductors. Is that your impression? It was Jig’s’s.
The Music Trust just put together a list of Australian classical musicians who are doing or have done well overseas. It’s a list of nearly 220. Well, that’s the first surprise.
Second surprise. Of these, the conductors number not 4, but 25!
All of them tour to a greater or lesser extent but some of them are the chief conductors for well-known German opera houses. Four are women – not many, but more than none, which would have been the case not so long ago.
Who of these people has a leading position with one of the Australian state orchestras or opera companies? Nicholas Carter, just appointed as Chief Conductor for the Adelaide Symphony, is the first Australian Chief Conductor of any of the six concert orchestras since Stuart Challender died in 1991; Brad Cohen is the new Chief Conductor of the WA Opera. Next level: Jessica Cottis, Assistant Conductor, Sydney Symphony and Ben Northey, Assistant Conductor, Melbourne Symphony.
Driving through the city the other day, it slowly registered that we were hearing a cow mooing. This cannot be possible. There is not room to wedge a cow into all this traffic and people.
Then we spotted it. There was a trailer behind a van and in the trailer, a cow – a fibreglass cow, full size. Mooing. The van was advertising a service delivering milk to your office. Well done!
Maybe when offices only had teabags, you hardly needed a carton of milk a week. But espresso machines are thirstier.
Mooving on >>>
Opera Australia has presented eight new mainstage operas since 1993 – 22 years. Going back to 1974, 41 years, add the two mainstage operas by Richard Meale, and a few other small works presented in small venues.
The Royal Opera Covent Garden will present eight new commissioned works in its next season.
Well what about the state opera companies? Opera Victoria was established in 2006 and since then it has presented premieres of seven Austraiian operas, restaged two more, and commissioned and presented three operas for and/or performed by young people.
Jig’s could not find online the relevant histories for any of the other state companies BUT State Opera of South Australia has currently commissioned three new works and will present the first, Cloud Street, next year.