Sunday, August 11, 2013

Score: On international musical map

Ashley Davies' new show explores the story of explorers Burke and Wills.

Ashley Davies' new show explores the story of explorers Burke and Wills.

Melbourne drummer/composer Ashley Davies put Australian history to music with his Ned Kelly project of 2001, but did not much fancy Burke and Wills until historian Dave Phoenix sent him a few books. ''It got me in. The real story is astonishing,'' Davies says. On September 4 Geelong's Courthouse Theatre will host the world premiere of Burke & Wills: The Expedition, part of the city's inaugural Fringe Festival. The show is an instrumental trip with Monique DiMattina, Matt Walker, Shane Reilly and Rory Boaste. The Melbourne premiere is in November.


Orchestral manoeuvre, strings attached Norwegian saxophonist Froy Aagre.

Norwegian saxophonist Froy Aagre. Photo: Tim Dickeson

Violinist Dale Barltrop will join the Melbourne Symphony as concertmaster next year, working alongside incumbent Wilma Smith. With help from the seasonal tilt of the Earth's axis, the Brisbane-born virtuoso will also continue as concert master of the Vancouver Symphony, a role he has held since 2009. ''The VCO has its summer break when the MSO is in full swing,'' he explains, ''so maybe I won't see a lot of sun but it's a challenge I'll take on with gusto.'' Barltrop reckons the concertmaster gig, a communication conduit between conductor and orchestra, is ''80 per cent people skills and 20 per cent violin playing''. He'll go for a new high score when he guests at the MSO's Tribute to the Empress concert at Hamer Hall, September 19 to 21.


Wangaratta blows

Norwegian saxophonist Froy Aagre and California's Gerald Clayton Trio are among the overseas acts announced for the 2013 Wangaratta Jazz & Blues Festival (November 1 to 4). Vocalist Chris McNulty, guitarist Peter O'Mara and pianist Barney McAll are among the Australians returning home from established international bases and Paul Grabowsky's Sextet will pull itself together from across the continent. US blues dudes Old Gray Mule and Charlie Parr head the grittier end of this year's 80-concert program, while the National Jazz Awards will focus on pianists. Tickets are on sale on Monday, August 12.
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