The Larrikins, the last concert of the Soundstream New Music Festival 2010 brought into focal point the creative genius of John Addison – virtuoso cellist, teacher, new music performance practice guru and facilitator of new music. The festival’s closing fireworks were four new commissions: ‘Mercurial’ by Alex Pozniak, ‘Somniloquy’ by Luke Altmann, ‘The Tune is out There’ by Kat McGuffie and ‘A Lenient me’ by Stephen Stanfield. These new works were placed within a framework of established repertoire: ‘9/11 Blues’ by Toby Twining and ‘Tatatata’ by Jacob ter Veldhuis.

It is so inspirational to see an instrumental performer who does not hide behind his instrument but masterfully manipulates the instrument as well as his whole body to communicate in performance. Expanding what is possible on the cello, an instrument claimed to be closest to the human voice, John Addison crosses into gestural communication as an impetus for sonic expression.

An exuberant chamber audience of about 50 and many more listening at home to the live broadcast of ABC Classic FM witnessed cutting-edge music performance and world premieres of new Australian music; for podcasts go to

Usually, musical pieces are created for the performers of the day. It is quite unusual, however, for performers to be proactive in seeking out composers. As it transpired during Julian Day’s interviews with the young composers, this is exactly what Addison did. The new works heard for the first time during this concert were a result of a workshop on extended cello techniques Addison conducted with emerging sound artists.

This last episode in Gabriella Smart’s incredible programming is the pinnacle of a gradation-building experience which rests on four columns of new music creativity: constructing through rhythm in ‘The Visionaries’; erecting through sound in ‘The Spectralists’, building with melody in ‘The Rebels’ and, finally, bridging through gesture in ‘The Larrikins’. Such exhaustive architectural approach to programming and, indeed, conception of music is rarely seen and Smart and her team ought to be acknowledged for excellence in artistic programming. The impact of the Soundstream Festival, now in its third year, is reverberating explosively on new artistic work, music education and inspiration in Australia.

Soundstream: Adelaide New Music Festival

Venue: Studio 520, ABC Studios, 85 North East Road, Collinswood SA
Date/Time: Saturday 28 August 2010, 10.00pm
Tickets: $45 - $15

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