Author Mandy Stefanakis

Mandy Stefanakis is completing a PhD in music composition at the University of Newcastle. She lectured in Music education at Deakin University and prior to that was Director of Music at Christ Church Grammar School and Essex Heights Primary School. She is a member of the Advisory Council of The Music Trust, Assistant Editor of the Trust’s e-zine Loudmouth, past-President and a Life Member of the Association of Music Educators. She lectured in music education at the University of Melbourne where she received her Master of Education degree. She has contributed to many arts curriculum initiatives and conducted professional development to assist implement these curricula over several decades. Mandy is the author of the Australian music focused education kits, Turn it Up! She has conducted extensive interviews for the National Film and Sound Archive, is an avid composer and her obsession with piano and cello continues.

Classical Music Recording
The Five Elements. Riley Lee & Enigma Quartet

Artist/s: Riley Lee & Enigma Quartet. Riley Lee (shakuhachi), Marianne Broadfoot (violin), Kerry Martin (violin), Elizabeth Woolnough (viola), Rowena Macneish (cello). Works commissioned or selected from Ross Edwards, Stuart Greenbaum, Anne Boyd, Holly Harrison, Andrew Howes, Lachlan Skipworth, Katy Abbott, Gerard Brophy, David Hirschfelder, Elena Kats-Chernin.
Category: Classical, New Music
Label: ABC Classics Digital ABC 0028948179985
https://www.abcmusic.com.au/discography/five-elements-enigma-quartet
Reviewed by

“The central focus of the five natural elements is beautifully sustained across the diverse pieces in this collection, through the meticulous attention to every precious sound by Riley Lee and the Enigma Quartet.”

Contemporary Music Recording
Dreamers Are Waiting. Crowded House

Artist/s: Crowded House. Neil Finn (vocals, guitars, piano and keyboards), Nick Seymour (bass, vocals, keyboards), Liam Finn (guitar, vocals, drums), Elroy Finn (drums, guitars, vocals, keyboards), Mitchell Froom (keyboards), Sharon Finn and Eliza-Jane Barnes (vocals)
Category: Contemporary, Rock
Label: CD EMI 3534658. Also available on vinyl and through streaming services
https://www.crowdedhouse.com/
Reviewed by

“Crowded House’s experience is palpable on this album, as is the obvious musical bond with family members – all on the same page in their writing and musical intent.”

Classical Music Recording
En Masse: Offspring Bites 3. Ensemble Offspring

Artist/s: Ensemble Offspring. Claire Edwardes (percussion (Artistic Director)), Jason Noble (clarinets), Lamorna Nightingale (flutes), Véronique Serret (violin), Blair Harris (cello on Pozniak’s En Masse), Rowena McNeish (cello on Harrison’s bend/boogie/break), Benjamin Kopp (piano on Pozniak’s En Masse), Zubin Kanga (piano on Harrison’s bend/boogie/break and Meadowcroft’s Medieval Rococo), Roland Peelman (conductor on Pozniak’s En Masse)
Category: Classical, New Music
Label: Artist release.
CD available from https://ensembleoffspring.com/product/offspring-bites-3-en-masse-pre-order/
Reviewed by

“The title of this eclectic, electric album is taken from Alex Pozniak’s work, En Masse. The thread that binds the three compositions on the album, apart from its Australian contemporary composers, is crossing genre and arts medium borders.”

Jazz Music Recording
Sunrise of Happiness. ade ishs trio

Artist/s: ade ishs trio. ade ishs (piano & tank drum), Alex Roper (drums & percussion),  Rory Brown (acoustic bass & saron), Adam Simmons (shakuhachi)
Category: Jazz
Label: CD, ade ishs music aim12, and Digital
https://adeishs.bandcamp.com/album/sunrise-of-happiness
Reviewed by

“The previously Melbourne-based ade ishs, has packed his bags and headed for Devonport in northern Tasmania, but not before recording this fine album in which his compositions, not unexpectedly, seem to explore past, present and future.”

Art Songs
Women of Note: A Century of Australian Composers. Volume 3

Artist/s: Composers: Anne Cawrse, Caewen Martin, Nardia Simpson, Holly Harrison, Katia Beaugeais, Elena Kats-Chernin, Fiona Loader. Performers include Riley Lee, Benaud Trio, Amir Farid, ACO Collective, Ewen and Lachlan Bramble from Adelaide Symphony, Enigma Quartet, Ensemble Offspring, Morgan England-Jones, Acacia String Quartet, Genevieve Lacey
Category: Art Songs, Classical, New Music
Label: Digital, ABC Classic. Available through all digital platforms 
Reviewed by

“Treat yourself to a feast of music on this superbly heterogeneous album, representing the voices of some of the best of Australia’s contemporary composers.”

Classical Music Recording
Lone Hemispheres: The Solo Sessions. Ensemble Offspring

Artist/s: Ensemble Offspring. Claire Edwardes (vibraphone), Lamorna Nightingale (flute), Jason Noble (bass clarinet), Véronique Serret (violin), Blair Harris (cello), Freya Schack-Arnott (cello)
Category: Classical, New Music
Label: Artist Release, available on YouTube at the address provided below Classical, New Music
Reviewed by

Ensemble Offspring’s Lone Hemispheres project highlights the aloneness of pandemic isolation, but equally, the communion and community that music offers at such times.

Choral music
Lachlan Skipworth: Breath of Thunder; Avem Asperitas; Hymns in Reverie

Artist/s: Breath of Thunder: Riley Lee (shakuhachi), Kaoru Watanabe (shinobue/nohkan/wadaiko), Taikoz (wadaiko), Sydney Symphony Orchestra conducted by Gerard Salonga. Avem Asperitas: Momentum Ensemble (Australian Youth Orchestra) conducted by Daniel Carter. Hymns in Reverie: The Philharmonic Chorus of Tokyo conducted by Kazuki Yamada,   Hideki Ikegami (percussion), Mizuki Aita (percussion)
Category: Choral music, Classical, New Music
Label: CD, or digital download available through Bandcamp
https://lachlanskipworth.bandcamp.com/album/lachlan-skipworth-breath-of-thunder-avem-asperitas-hymns-in-reverie
Reviewed by

“Lachlan Skipworth’s vista is an all-embracing one, heaven and earth, middle earth and beyond, and yet he has managed to realise these big ideas with vision, clarity and passion on this album.”

Jazz Music Recording
The Sweetest Taboo

Artist/s: Katie Noonan (vocals), with Zac Hurren (saxophone), Sam Keevers (piano), Phil Stack (double bass), Evan Mannell (percussion)
Category: Jazz
Label: ABC Jazz CD 087 8447, also digital. 2020
Reviewed by

“Noonan’s unique vocal timbre,  jazz rubato and melodic shaping are used to perfection in this eclectic array of covers, and complemented by the outstanding, empathetic instrumental work of her accompanying ensemble.”

Music Education Book
Testing 3, 2, 1: What Australian Education Can Learn from Finland. A teacher’s perspective. By Michael Lawrence

Author: Michael Lawrence
Category: Music Education
Melbourne Books, 2020
ISBN 9781925556926
Reviewed by

“As though Lawrence’s depiction of the differences between the Australian and Finnish school systems are not revelatory enough, he rams them home by interviewing people whose experiences are as Australian educators. And mostly, they’re not pretty.”

Classical Music Recording
Nigel Westlake. String Quartet No 3, Sacred Sky

Artist/s: Australian String Quartet. Dale Barltrop (Violin 1), Frances Hiew (Violin 2), Stephen King (Viola), Sharon Grigoryan (Cello)
Category: Classical, New Music
Label: Artist release, digital
Reviewed by

“Westlake’s Sacred Sky is a dedication to his sister and their closeness is obvious in this wonderfully expressive musical evocation performed sensitively and dextrously by the Australian String Quartet.”

Ambient Music Recording
The Shadow. Luke Howard Trio

Artist/s: Luke Howard Trio. Luke Howard (piano/electronics), Daniel Farrugia (drums), Jonathan Zion (bass)
Category: Ambient, Jazz
Label: Artist Release, Digital EP
Reviewed by

“The extraordinary play, ‘The Shadow Whose Prey the Hunter Becomes’, deserves an equally extraordinary soundtrack. Who better than the Luke Howard Trio to provide it, demonstrating empathy, skill and commitment to the deep complexities explored in this theatre piece.”

Biography Book
25 Years of Grace: An Anniversary Tribute to Jeff Buckley’s Classic Album

Author: Merri Cyr with Jeff Apter.
Category: Biography
Carlton, Victoria: Nero, an imprint of Schwartz Publishing, 2019. 240pp. Hard cover LP sized book, lavishly illustrated with Cyr’s photos, text by Australian author Apter and reflections by a number of contemporaries.
ISBN 97817606418794.
http://blackincbooks.com
Reviewed by

I prefer to learn everything through music. If you want divinity, the music in every human being and their love for music is pretty much it. – Jeff Buckley

Classical Music Recording
The Final Hour

Artist/s: Music: Stuart Greenbaum. Text: Ross Baglin. Production: Stuart Greenbaum and Luke Howard. Musicians: Barry Cockcroft (soprano saxophone), Celia Craig (oboe), Daniel Farrugia (drum kit), Leonard Grigoryan (guitars), Luke Howard (piano and keyboards), Craig Newman (fretless bass), Alex Pertout (percussion), Ben Robertson (acoustic bass), Marianne Rothschild (solo violin), Amy Valent Curlis (vibraphone). With ANAM strings: Zoe Freisberg and Mana Ohashi (violin), Mathew Laing (viola), Anna Pokorny and Mathew Hoy (cello), Ben Hanlon (double bass). Narration: John Stanton
Category: Classical, New Music
Label: Lyrebird LB051218
Reviewed by

“The Final Hour is an album for our times, if ever there was one.”

Classical Music Recording
PRTZL (Double CD). Works by Michael Kieran Harvey

Artist/s: Michael Kieran Harvey (piano/synthesizer/keyboards), Arabella Tenniswood-Harvey (piano), Erik Griswold (piano), Vanessa Tomlinson (percussion), Tara Murphy (violin), Derrick Grice (clarinet), Peter Sheridan (flute), Peter Neville (percussion), Simon Reade (trumpet and baritone horn)
Category: Classical, New Music
Label: 2 CDs Move Records MD3447
http://www.move.com.au/artist/michael-kieran-harvey
Reviewed by

“PRTZL is a highly innovative exploration of people, socio-political issues and histories that occupy the wondrously fertile mind, and draw upon the musical insight and agility, of Michael Kieran Harvey.”

Contemporary Music Recording
Ghosteen

Artist/s: Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. Nick Cave (vocals/piano/synth/backing vocals), Warren Ellis (synth/loops/flute/violin/piano/backing vocals), Thomas Wydler (drums), Martyn Casey (bass), Jim Sclavunos (vibraphone, percussion), George Vjestica (guitar)
Category: Contemporary, Rock
Label: AWAL Recordings BS016CD
https://www.nickcave.com/
Reviewed by

“Cave’s grappling with all that is mortal and all that is not is utterly immersive on this album. It is an artistic triumph.”

Music Education Book
The Oxford Handbook of Philosophical and Qualitative Assessment in Music Education

Author: Edited by David Elliott, Marissa Silverman and Gary McPherson
Category: Music Education
Oxford University Press, 2019. Also available through Oxford Handbooks Online
ISBN: 9780190265182
https://www.oxfordhandbooks.com/view/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780190265182.001.0001/oxfordhb-9780190265182
Reviewed by

“This wonderful book provides a positive roadmap for all music educators everywhere.”

Contemporary Music Recording
Alien

Artist/s: Northlane. John Deily (lead guitar/programming/ percussion), Josh Smith (rhythm guitar), Nic Petterssen (percussion), Marcus Bridge (lead vocals), Brendon Padjasek (bass/backing vocals)
Category: Contemporary, Metal
Label: UNFD116CD
Reviewed by

“Northlane, unlock the trophy cabinet and just make a little more space there. You’re gonna need it.”

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