Adelaide Symphony Orchestra presents a participatory community engagement project: Floods of Fire
To celebrate World Inclusion Day, the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra is proud to announce Floods of Fire – an artist-led community building project drawing on the cultural heritage of a wide range of living communities. in South Australia.
Thematically, Floods of Fire focuses on our environment and the impacts of climate change, arising from the stories of floods and fires associated with creation, destruction and recreation.
ASO Managing Director Vincent Ciccarello said:
Floods of Fire was designed with European participatory theater director Airan Berg in response to the devastating fires and then the floods of 2019/2020. Floods of Fire is an example of how ASO reflects the issues and concerns that affect our community today, by listening, connecting and learning. This inclusive commitment finds expression in the development of new music and a new way of working for the orchestra, which is very exciting.
During the 12 months, ASO collaborated with Nexus Arts, Tutti Arts, Brink Productions, Open Music Academy, Elder Conservatorium, CFS and SES after receiving funding from the Prime Minister’s Department and Cabinet, Arts SA. The orchestra has engaged composers from South Australia: Julian Ferraretto, Hilary Kleinig, Adam Page, Luke Harrald, Grayson Rotumah, Jakub Jankowski, Zhao Liang and Belinda Gehlert.
The main composers have collaborated with musicians Noriko Tadano, Nancy Bates, Farhan Shah, Iran Sanadzadeh, Alain Valodze, Lazaro Numa, Zuhir Naji, Maryam Rahmani, Bortier Okoe, as well as with artists from Tutti Arts including the Thank God It’s choir Friday, Quirkestra, Tutti Choir and the Tutti Arts Creative Writing Group to create new compositions for ASO. The workshops also involved musician David Dai, Yidaki player Robert Taylor and conductor Luke Dollman who brought the project to life.
Chris Drummond Brink Productions, Artistic Director, used his skills as a director to take on the role of facilitator of how the disparate contributors came together, especially keeping an eye out for how the stories intersected with the process. collaborative composition.
For three hours, an extraordinary musical conversation unfolded between this community of artists representing many cultures and origins, all exploring personal responses to their various encounters with flood or fire. Dr. Jared Thomas of the SA Museum spoke about the First Nations dream stories that shaped the lands we exist on. It was a powerful and unifying start to the project and supported and nurtured all of the participants as they worked in separate small groups over the following months. The privilege of attending some of the orchestral rehearsals of the new works that have since been written has been mind-blowing. The combination of these experiences to date only indicates the enormous potential this work will have with its public outcomes.
Musician Farhan Shah described his workshop group as a cocktail of different cultures, sounds and innovations. Pakistani singer songwriter of Sufi song, flamenco guitarist / songwriter, innovative young Iranian musician with unique manual digital sound box instrument, all working with acclaimed main songwriter / musician Julian Ferraretto.
Coming from another part of the world, Farhan had an idea of destruction and flooding in different contexts, but the project opened his eyes to an Australian context. He says:
The different metaphors around fire and flood, it was heartbreaking to hear the many personal stories. The biggest thing to take away from Floods of Fire for Farhan was meeting and working with a range of artists, hearing their stories, and sharing and learning from the experiences of others.
Floods of Fire will be performed in 2022, but audiences will get a preview of three of the compositions at the Festival of Orchestra. Zhao Liang’s story of the phoenix will be shared in a family workshop as part of the Festival’s family program on Sunday, December 5. At Carmina Burana on Saturday, November 27, Grayson Rotumah and Luke Harrald’s play will be performed on the main stage as well as Julian Ferraretto’s play, co-written with the Open Academy and the students of the Carlton School Port Augusta.
Elizabeth McCall, ASO’s Community Projects Manager, said:
Floods was such an exciting project to work on, “ASO had never envisioned a project on this scale, it had worked with different communities but not immersed in the same way it is. Music is this amazing way of telling a story, it’s more than music, it communicates the whole experience of someone often beyond words, so if we can get into people’s stories and help creating this music, we really connect with them. He makes music contemporary, he brings it into the present. You can bring together different musicians from different backgrounds and achieve amazing musical results.
Tutti Arts’ founding artistic director Pat Rix said:
It’s so unusual for a flagship company to adopt a project that brings diversity directly into the room in a must-have way. They are not only in the same room, but they are working together. Music is a universal language perhaps the only universal language and everyone in this room has felt the emotions that come with it.
Everyone in Australia has some experience with fires or floods, so people want to share their stories. This is the time when humanity can come together and celebrate the richness of human experience and not just make those voices and voices unheard heard. There is extraordinary beauty in unexpected places.
Singaporean-Chinese composer Zhao Liang says:
She created a work that reminded her of the firebird ‘Phoenix’ as it rejuvenates by diving into the fire. In collaboration with composer Belinda Gehlert, she has created a five-piece suite whose theme is a screenplay that tells the story of the Phoenix. She is most proud of what she has discovered about herself through the creative process: “Floods discovered the depth of my potential and my ability to strengthen and grow as a musician / songwriter has been very rewarding. . It has been a very thoughtful process, and also rejuvenating! The biggest surprise about this project is that I surprised myself.
ASO’s Senior Associate Trumpet Martin Phillipson was among thousands who fled Mallacoota as devastating bushfires hit Gippsland in January 2020, burning more than 200,000 hectares. Martin vividly remembers the experience as being heartbreaking, he says, “the fire front was approaching and we decided to evacuate, we came out through the smoke, but it was very scary. We left everything behind and lost everything we had left.
Martin described the Floods of Fire community workshops as an experience of humility,
Music is a great art form for telling stories and one of our main goals in the orchestra is to connect with the community. The community really needs music to heal, they need music to tell stories, they need music to reconnect. People need music now like never before.
Barkindji Song Woman Nancy Bates spoke at the workshops about practicing cultural burning and using fire to bring life, not destroy it, she said:
Before language, we had song, we communicated through song with humans all over the world and that’s how we were able to live in this country and create harmony. When you’ve taught an orchestra to learn through birdsong and shared this cultural process, you feel like you’ve done something important.
Shivani Marx, Chief Operating Officer of ASO,
Talked about the importance of the floods and how they are part of ASO’s larger commitment to cultural inclusion and community. She believes that “projects like Floods make the orchestra relevant and meaningful to the community at large.
ASO commissioned South Australian filmmakers Randy Larcombe and Suzi Ting to document the Floods of Fire creative workshops. The short film can be viewed on aso.com.au
Airan Berg is an international director and artistic director, specializing in large-scale participatory and inclusive projects. He is currently artistic director of: Festival der Regionen, one of Austria’s most prestigious festivals, Orfeo & Majnun, a creative European musical theater project in 7 European countries, and Floods of Fire, commissioned by the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra.
Produced in collaboration with the following partners: Nexus Arts, Tutti Arts, Brink Productions, Open Music Academy, Elder Conservatorium, CFS and SES.
ASO thanks the composers: Julian Ferraretto, Hilary Kleinig, Adam Page, Luke Harold, Grayson Rotumah, Jakub Jankowski, Zhao Liang and Belinda Gehlert, Noriko Tadano, Nancy Bates, Farhan Shah, Iran Sanadzadeh, Alain Volodze, Lazaro Numa, Zuhir Naji, Maryam Rahmani, Bortier Okoe, Thank God It’s Friday Choir, Quirkestra, Tuttia Choir, Tutti Arts Creative Writing Group and Yidaki Player Robert Taylor for bringing this project to life in such a lively way.
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