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A birthday and other news

I've no special wish to turn 60, but I can see it's going to happen come what may. In any case I'm pleased the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and Canberra International Music Festival both think it worth celebrating. There are several premieres and other performances coming up on 2017 - details below, but first...

The Music Show and changes at ABC RN

Friday 20 January 2017 - tomorrow, that is - is the last time The Inside Sleeve and The Planet will be heard on ABC Radio National, which makes me sad. I'll be listening to the final broadcasts and I hope you will too. The Music Show continues with the usual mix of interviews and music and the odd outside broadcast, though we bid a fond farewell to our producer Maureen Cooney.

Some recent highlights from our summer season are interviews with singer Rhiannon Giddens, pianist Stephen Hough and a discussion about music and humour with John Cleese and Eric Idle.

> More recent interviews on the Music Show

Sunrise with Wedding Dresses

And speaking of running out of time, my music for Ben Quilty's film The Dress can be heard until 29 January in Ben's installation Dresses for Soulaf (pictured right), part of the Sappers and Shrapnel exhibition at the Art Gallery of South Australia

In due course the music will form a movement in String Quartet No 6 for the Flinders Quartet, who play it in the film. But that's next year.

> Sappers and Shrapnel - exhibition details


Sleep for Yodit Tekle

When Martin Anderson's partner Yodit Tekle died, he asked his composer friends if we'd consider writing something for string orchestra in her memory, to be recorded for his label Toccata Classics. A hundred of us said yes and I'm proud that my piece, Sleep, is on Vol One together with works by Robin Holloway, Poul Ruders, Brett Dean, and others. All the works were recorded last year in Debrecen, Hungary played by the Kodály Philharmonic under Paul Mann.

> Album information (Toccata website)

Headlong is back...

The Sydney Symphony Orchestra will be playing my piece Headlong again on March 15th and 18th (my 60th birthday) in concerts conducted by Benjamin Northey. The orchestra commissioned it for its own 75th birthday in 2007 and gave four performances that year under Jeffrey Tate. For this year's performances, the piece has been thoroughly revised and even has a new ending.

> SSO 15 and 18 March - concert details and tickets. You can also read a program note.

... and so are Barbarians, The Man in the Moon and The Unquiet Grave

The Canberra International Music Festival is making a bit of a feature of my music this year. There'll be live performances of the songs from my album There Was a Man Lived in the Moon as part of a program of 'memories of childhood' called Dreaming Across the Horizon. Florian Peelman will play my viola concerto, The Unquiet Grave, and the Song Company, Australian Voices and Luminescence Chamber Singers will combine to perform my choral work, Waiting for the Barbarians. There's also a new piece for the National Carillon, called Lin-lan-lone, premiered on 5 May. For full performer details, see sidebar on the left.

> 30 April (There Was a Man Lived in the Moon) - details & tickets
> 6 May (Waiting for the Barbarians, The Unquiet Grave) - details & tickets.

Summer sale & sheet music

You can buy There Was a Man Lived in the Moon CD at the unbeatable price of $11.99 from the ABC Shop's summer sale right now. I've also just finished tidying up my arrangements for the traditional nursery rhymes on the CD - the music, featuring nearly every orchestral instrument in different combinations, will all be available for purchase from the Australian Music Centre in a matter of days. All of my original tunes on the CD, including Nonsense, can already be purchased there.

Advance notices: In transit; Never and Comeclose and Sleepnow; plus a new book

At the Arts in the Valley Festival in Kangaroo Valley in May – on the same day as the viola concerto and Waiting for the Barbarians in Canberra (some fast driving will be needed) – Ian Munro and I will give the first performance of In transit, for piano and speaker. The concert will be in the Hausmusik series on 6 May at 2:30pm. More details and tickets on the festival website.

At the end of May, Plexus will give the premiere in Melbourne of my new Peter Pan-related trio, Never. And still to come in 2017, the premiere of Comeclose and Sleepnow: six Liverpool love songs for Gian Slater and the Monash Art Ensemble to words by Adrian Henri, Brian Patten and Roger McGough. More details on this in the next newsletter, as well as Sally Walker taking out and dusting off Once upon a time there were two brothers... for speaking flautist.

And there's a new book coming from Black Inc in July, called The Memory of Music. It is going to be quite different from my earlier books. Here's a bit published recently in Meanjin.

Recent articles

Topics covered in my recent Inside Story articles include radio and the uses of music, the Englishness of Elgar, and what we talk about when we talk about music.

A full list of recent articles on my website.

Background information and further news are available at www.andrewford.net.au. You can also follow me on Twitter for semi-regular updates.