photo courtesy of the author
I was turned on to music at the age of 14 when I heard the Prelude to the first Bach cello suite on Neon Genesis Evangelion. I had moved from the Blue Mountains to suburban Adelaide when I was young and perhaps the cello made me remember something about the mountains. Two years later I played the piece to get into a special interest music school and started playing cello in bands, string quartets and orchestras, before starting a music degree at the Elder Conservatorium of Music. I quickly developed RSI and turned to studying musicology, English, philosophy and cultural studies at Adelaide University and Melbourne University, with a little stay at McGill University in Montreal. I am currently completing a PhD in musicology at ANU on the rapport of music and philosophy in the works of the philosopher Alain Badiou and the composer François Nicolas. Apart from writing I like to compose for theatre and art installations. I still like the mountains but don’t get to them very often.
I write because I want to know how ideas are relevant to music and vice versa. Getting the right match is very difficult, but a discursive approach to a work, not just a performance or a composer, can be really enriching for listeners. To this end RealTime is Australia’s most important and proactive source of writing on contemporary music. You can make that extra discursive leap and don’t have to be afraid of it being edited out before the final print.
The Astra Chamber Music Society is another long-standing and praiseworthy institution, not least because I get to sing with them every week. Where else can you premiere a new Australian work one moment, then sing some obscure baroque requiem mass or early 20th century atonal number the next, alongside much better singers so you feel like you’re in the best karaoke bar ever? It’s Astra’s 60th birthday this year. Happy birthday Astra. I love you.
I am also developing a vested interest in disability access in the arts, having been quite immobilised by ankylosing spondylitis this past year. Perhaps mentioning my ank. spond. blog here (www.ismethotrexatekillingme.blogspot.com) will inspire me to post more on it.
We should keep on talking in the face of music. We will be shamed by the music, but that is necessary to learn to listen again.
Recent articles for RealTime
RT102 new music theatre in utero: carnegie 18, full tilt
RT102 new music: challenge as fun: mona foma, hobart
RT101 bringing chamber opera home: chamber made opera, living room opera
RT100 an unbelievable urge: the itch, chamber made opera
RT98 opera for ipad: helen gifford’s exile
Update 2013: Matthew also now runs the blog Partial Durations in association with RealTime: http://partialdurations.wordpress.com
RealTime issue #103 June-July 2011 pg. web
© Matthew Lorenzon; for permission to reproduce apply to email@example.com