Solitude: at the composer’s desk

It has been a year of many creative risks and I recently reflected on my sabbatical in an article titled “I’ve taken a year off from teaching – and it’s the best thing I could’ve done!” for EducationHQ. Being open to change hasn’t always been instinctive but at this point in my life it is necessary for the survival of my creative being. It is easy to fall into routine and predictability but there has been nothing predictable about 2018.

My workstation: Surface Pro + Musescore + script + Technics SX-P30 keyboard

In the first week of October I have found several moments to shut out the world and surrendered to the comfort of my music studio. Alone with my keyboard and a pocket-sized script, I began composing music for A Thousand Cranes.

I relished this opportunity, the chance to compose to a specific brief and workshop new music. It is a delicate responsibility and I feel privileged to be entrusted with a task like this. The play, written by Kathryn Schultz Miller, is an important tribute to victims of the Hiroshima tragedy.

a snippet of my piece “Blinding Light” which underscores some of the dialogue between Sadako and her parents

I slowly worked through the pages of the script taking note of the playwright’s stage directions, and highlighted moments that have lent themselves to underscoring or emotional cadences.

With only words like “the mood of the music gentle and pleasant” for guidance, I took a giant leap of faith in the hope that I can do justice to this story.

Yesterday, I’ve met with The Gemini Collective co-founders / directors Sarah Williams and Anthony Butler to present the music that I had composed for their production.

I was given the nod of approval, happy as they were with the musical direction I had taken. There was a handful of notes based on Williams’ vision for the staging and choreography but overall the initial sketches were approved, and the music is ready for the rehearsal season set for November to February.

Madeleine Flapper (Sadako) and Calin Diamond (Kenji) during a photoshoot by Alannah James – inception photography by Jennifer Trijo

We’ve carefully mapped out a rehearsal schedule and exchanged some ideas about the project. I’m very excited to see how the compositions will evolve in the hands of the actors, and I’m keen to start rehearsing. It’s one thing to hear the music in your head and envision how it will manifest, but another thing altogether to watch it come to life through the performers’ interpretation; I really love this part.

Early bird tickets for A Thousand Cranes are now available through Adelaide Fringe. You can view The Gemini Collective’s tips on folding paper cranes here.

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