Decibel and Intercurrent at Extended Play

Extended Play is back in 2019 after last year’s inaugural event last year was hailed as “the best new classical music initiative Sydney has seen in years” (The Australian).

City Recital Hall and Lyle Chan have joined forces to create a 12-hour program of eclectic, contemporary, challenging and dynamic new music across the entire four floors of the venue. Western Australian ensembles, Decibel with special guest Lionel Marchetti and Intercurrent, will be a part of this, made possible with the support of Tura.

Decibel are commissioning new works for their Talking Board score reader – an innovative way of to reading graphic scores within their Decibel ScorePlayer. A series of commissioned new ‘boards’ will be presented alongside earlier works composed within the ensemble, and performed in front of projections of the boards. Expect a range of guided improvisations and compositions that combine electronic and acoustic sounds in this exciting program.

Intercurrent are performing a program that was premiered in Perth in 2017, Simulacra, which explores a world of musical doubles; real, imagined and imperfect. Centred around the twisting patterns of Lachlan Skipworth’s palindromic reverse-canon Intercurrent, the program explores the unique sonic formation of bass clarinet, percussion and piano.

Read more about the program.

Decibel Performs New Commission by WA Composer

Decibel will be performing a world premiere commission from WA composer Kate Milligan in their Decibel 10 at 10 program.

Tura spoke to Kate about her new work ‘If I Told Him’:

“This work samples the modernist poet Gertrude Stein reading her poem of the same name ‘If I Told Him: A Completed Portrait of Picasso’, and explores the concept of gendered perspective. The anxiety reflected in the title’s conditional, incomplete grammar provides the basis for the work’s emotional content. Structurally, the work draws on cubist techniques, and the block-like organisation of the poem itself. The fragmented audio is dispersed over four channels, whilst the instrumental writing responds to the rhythm and intonation of Stein’s reading.”

‘If I told him’ will be performed 7pm Thursday 18 July in the Callaway Auditorium at the Conservatorium of UWA, as part of the 2019 Gender Diversity in Music and Art Conference. This new composition will sit alongside a selection of works that Decibel have commissioned from WA women since their foundation in 2009, including Amber Fresh, Erin Coates, Catherine Ashley, Rachael Dease, Olivia Davies, Cissi Tsang and Annika Moses.

Kate’s commission was made possible through Tura’s Young and Emerging Composer Comissioning Program.

Aaron Wyatt and Speechless Helpmann Award Nomination

Congratulations to Aaron Wyatt for his nomination in the 2019 Helpmann Awards. Cat Hope’s 2019 production of Speechless and that her wonderful score, rendered beautifully by Aaron Wyatt is the result of the nomination for Musical Direction. Speechless featured four soloists, Judith Dodsworth, Karina Utomo, Sage Pbbbt and Caitlin Cassidy, with a combined community choir of 30 voices and the 30-piece multi-instrumental Australian Bass Orchestra, led by four section leaders from Decibel New Music Ensemble.

Speechless was presented by Tura and Perth Festival, after a development in 2017 at Vitalstatistix.

See the full list of nominees.

Music Director Aaron Wyatt | Image by Toni Wilkinson

Perth Festival Impact Report on Speechless and Sunset

Perth Festival recently released the 2019 Perth Festival impact report, which provides an analysis of the impact the Festival has on the Perth community and WA economy.

Cat Hope’s highly acclaimed new opera Speechless, produced by Tura for the Festival, scored highly in two categories:

Authenticity and Showcase – a group of productions that created unique experiences that were linked to the cultural identity of Western Australia, “where Authenticity strengthens shared cultural ties within community, Depth celebrates those experiences as meaningful and worthy of sharing with others.”

Content and Excellence – reflecting a broad and inclusive range of voices is a significant hallmark of meaningful social impact, “these shows demonstrated an ability to represent their audience’s communities of interest while meeting the high qualitative standards set by the entire Festival’s program.”

And Strut Dance and Maxine Doyle’s Sunset, produced in association with Tura, took away “Best in Show”, with the report saying that “these shows represent the complete realisation of the Festival’s strategic goals, as determined by audiences responses.

Overall, the Made in WA branded series (in which Speechless and Sunset were two of the eight featured productions) had a Patron Experience of 89% of respondents rating it very good/excellent. In particular audiences at Made in WA events highlighted Authenticity at 14% over the overall Festival average.

Tura congratulates the Perth Festival, Cat Hope, Strut and Maxine Doyle, and the many artists and creatives who came together to make these two productions possible. The results speak for themselves.

Announcing the 2019 Sonus Tour

The Sonus Tour weaves sonic sounds with local collaborations through the Kimberley

21 June – 9 July 2019

Kununurra | Wyndham | Warmun | Halls Creek | Fitzroy Crossing | Beagle Bay | One Arm Point | Djarindjin | Lombadina | Broome | Perth


Tura New Music announces the 2019 Sonus Tour with a program that speaks directly to the places and communities of the Kimberley. The Sonus Tour features Aboriginal star and singer-songwriter Naomi Pigram with Indigenous musical icon, Mark Atkins (didgeridoo, vocals, guitar), and two of Australia’s finest instrumentalists, cellist Judith Hamann and clarinettist Aviva Endean. This ensemble of artists are renowned in their own right, and now come together for the first time to present a wealth of original new music as well as captivating collaborations with local artists.

Sonus is a meeting of cultural forces, ancient and contemporary, through songs of outback Australia and newly commissioned music for the tour. New songs, new works and new arrangements feature in a program reflecting the Kimberley communities and landscape travelled through. Tura presents this cross-cultural journey weaving a rich tapestry of uniquely Australian music, celebrating the sounds of the Kimberley.

For Naomi Pigram the Tour is “a wonderful opportunity to perform with such an elite group of artists and reconnect with communities across the Kimberley.”

Naomi Pigram, who is currently working on the new iteration of Bran Nue Dae, has previously performed to enthralled audiences with didgeridoo virtuoso Mark Atkins on Tura’s Kimberley Echoes Tour in 2018 and the Echo Tour in 2017. In 2019, Naomi and Mark will be joined by ‘Australia’s most versatile clarinettist’ Aviva Endean for the first time in the Kimberley, interlacing her contemporary and cross-disciplinary sounds with their songs of country. The ensemble also features internationally renowned cellist Judith Hamann, who comes directly from her performance as part of Dark Mofo, with a background in contemporary classical repertoire and who has “long been recognised as one of Australia’s foremost contemporary-music cellists”. The sounds of cello, clarinet, didgeridoo, guitars and vocals present an extraordinary and unique fusion of music.

Most significantly, the collaborations along the Tour shape and sculpt the performances. Performing alongside, or in part with, guest artists such as Warmun Elder Gabriel Nodea, and famed Fitzroy Express founder and leader Danny Marr, the concerts present a showcase of local sounds and distinctive flavour. Tura’s Sonus Tour also engages with local dance and song groups like the Waringarri Performers in Kununurra and the Gija Performers in Warmun. This equal exchange of music and knowledge has formed a dialogue centred on artistic collaboration, bringing a platform to communities to celebrate the sounds of their place.

In a world first, the Sonus Tour will collaborate with ABC ‘Star Man’ Greg Quicke in Broome, offering a chance for audiences to experience Greg’s stellar passion with a musical feast from the ensemble. With a growing national and international TV presence Greg will present a special version of his Broome Astronomy Experience exploring the cosmos using telescopes and lasers under “some of the best star-gazing skies on the planet,” interspersed with sections of Sonus music and premiere music created for the event.

The Tour finishes in Perth, with a concert at Fremantle’s newest live music venue, Freo.Social. The site of the historic artillery drill hall will be transformed as the Sonus ensemble joins with legendary double Grammy Award winning pedal steel guitarist Lucky Oceans and other guests for an evening of cross-cultural celebration, wrapping up the Tour with the sounds of the Kimberley in the city.

Tura Artistic Director Tos Mahoney is “delighted to be bringing this rich and vibrant cross-cultural group of artists together for communities to experience empowering music and sound worlds.”

Beyond the concert program, the Sonus Tour will make a significant contribution to the social, cultural, educational and community lives of people living in regional centres and remote communities across the Kimberley through the community engagement program. The Tour will engage with communities through a schools workshop/presentation program which will deliver primary and high school students content from the tour, the expertise of all the artists, interactive processes and performance with music students.

This Tour, as with all of Tura’s award-winning Regional Programs, has come about from 18 years of community engagement and deep relationship building.

“The Tura Program not only mentors and models cross-cultural collaborations but provides powerful opportunities to empower local artists and performers.” Cathy Cummins, Waringarri Aboriginal Arts (Kununurra, WA)

“Tura uses the potent medium of music to bridge the cultural gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians. This enhances the cultural and artistic lives of all, and uses the common language of music to bring communities together.” Wayne Martin AC QC, Patron Tura Regional Program

Zubin Kanga Pre-Concert Talk

As part of Zubin Kanga’s latest instalment in his piano and multimedia trilogy, Piano Ex Machina, Tura will present a short pre-concert talk by pianist Zubin Kanga with composer Ben Carey. The pre-concert talk will be in Studio Underground at 6:45pm, before the concert at 7:30pm, Wednesday 24 April at the State Theatre Centre of WA. Hear about how new technology, now accessible to the public, can be used within music and composing for the piano.

In Piano Ex Machina, video games, 80s cinema, sci-fi and internet culture and Artificial Intelligence are given humorous and darker treatment in an entertaining program that includes works by Alexander Schubert, Jon Rose, Tristan Coelho, Kate Neal, Ben Carey, Adam de la Cour and Zubin Kanga.

The first concert in Zubin’s national tour in Melbourne sold out, and received a 5-star review from Limelight Magazine.

“Kanga’s Piano Ex Machina is a rewarding experience, rich in possibility, infused with curiosity and playfulness, and not afraid to explore conceptual and expressive horizons well beyond the boundaries of a traditional piano recital.” – Limelight Magazine ★★★★★

Zubin also recently spoke to Angus McPherson at Limelight Magazine about his national tour program. Zubin, who has spent most of his career exploring new approaches to the piano, says that his program “reflects what’s happening in our culture, with technology being integrated into our lives at every level, and the boundaries between different types of culture and art forms breaking down.”

Zubin Kanga performs in Sydney | Image by Chris Hayles

Speechless Premiere Finale

Tura’s world premiere season of Cat Hope’s Speechless as part of the 2019 Perth Festival has wound up with national critical acclaim.

Perth Festival Artistic Director Wendy Martin described Speechless as “an utterly powerful, visceral experience… and experiencing it was extraordinary.”

Music Director Aaron Wyatt and the Speechless Orchestra | Image by Toni Wilkinson

Years in the making, Tura honours composer and director Cat Hope not only for the work itself, but her tenacity and rigour in seeing it through to full production. Tura also praises and thanks all of the creatives, cast, community choir members, orchestra and crew who worked with us on this large-scale production. Special thanks go to Wendy Martin and the team at Perth Festival and the ongoing partnership with Monash University. Speechless would not have been possible without the support of Development Partner Vitalstatistix for facilitating the 2017 workshop in Port Adelaide.

Assistant Director Rakini Devi, soloists Sage Pbbbt and Judith Dodsworth, Composer and Director Cat Hope, and soloists Caitlin Cassidy and Karina Utomo | Image by Rachael Barrett

Tura acknowledges the essential support of The Bux Foundation, Melissa Parke and Warwick Hemsley, as well as the At the Heart donors to the Sound Connections philanthropic campaign.

Gratitude’s go to the members of the inspiring panel discussion on Tuesday 26 February, Cat Hope, social justice lawyer Melissa Parke and Amnesty International Regional Campaign Organiser for My New Neighbour, Claire Birch, hosted by Terri Ann White.

This new wordless opera is composer and director Cat Hope’s personal response to, the issue of voicelessness in society, and being silenced by legal, political or cultural means. Speechless is a vehicle to address these issues and as a reflection of this, the premiere season of Speechless supported Amnesty International and The Centre for Asylum Seekers, Refugees and Detainees (CARAD).

The Speechless Soloists | Image by Rachael Barrett

The reviews have been overwhelmingly positive with the work providing audiences and critics with a new perspective on the world of opera as well as a renewed awareness of issues facing marginalised and voiceless members of our society.

The Speechless Cast | Image by Frances Andrijich

Here’s a sample:

“[A] distinctively unique addition to this year’s formidable Perth Festival program… a stirring wordless opera.” Gutter Culture.

“Hope’s composition, the use of unusual stylistic devices, and the strong individual performances combine in Speechless to examine the trying existence of those living in detention across the world. The show succeeds in evoking great empathy amongst its audience.” Gutter Culture.

“Speechless was overwhelming; an experience so forcefully immersive, it was impossible to ignore. And that’s exactly what Australian society needs to experience.” Laura Biemmi, SeeSaw Magazine.

“an excellent opera-theatre experience, creating a nuanced commentary on an emotive issue without the need to preach to the audience. The visceral quality of the sound and the power of the emotions expressed through voice and instruments amply made a point about children in immigration detention. Speechless allows their plight to be heard. Words were superfluous.” The Conversation.

The Speechless Community Choir | Image by Rachael Barrett

“Power in silent plight… amazingly effective and potent.” The West Australian.

“As an evocation of humanitarian crises it was brutal, fascinating and emotionally gruelling. As it should be.” The Australian.

And some audience responses:

“a seriously incredible aural experience – it was a privilege to be in the audience”

“Speechless is challenging, weird, emotional and utterly enthralling.”

Soloist Karina Utomo | Image by Rachael Barrett


Tura’s Annual Program and Speechless are supported by the State Government through the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries, in association with Lotterywest and The Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.

Speechless Supports

“… when all words fail, music speaks.” Aussie Theatre on Speechless.

Speechless presents, and is composer and devisor Cat Hope’s personal response to, the issue of voicelessness in society, and being silenced by legal, political or cultural means. For Cat, Speechless was a vehicle to address this through music. As Cat says “I started to question what I could possibly do, as an artist, in the face of these issues. I believe music can be a conduit for contemplating difficult subjects, responding to them in a different way than a news report, overcoming the communication limits and barriers of words or the cold realism of a photograph.”

As a reflection of this, Speechless will be supporting the following charities during the Perth Festival season:

Amnesty International

We call out injustice, wherever it happens, and work together with people just like you to stand for human dignity- we believe that together, we can create a world where the most basic human rights are enjoyed by all.

The Centre for Asylum Seekers, Refugees and Detainees (CARAD)

The Centre for Asylum Seekers, Refugees and Detainees (CARAD) is an independent, not-for-profit organization that represents a community of people who support the rights of asylum seekers, refugees and detainees in Western Australia.

Speechless in Conversation

Enhance your experience of Speechless with two opportunities to get in conversation.

There will be a panel discussion after the performance on Tuesday 26 February in the main
hall of the Sunset Heritage Precinct, focusing on the wider issues that Speechless presents around voicelessness in society. This will be introduced by Perth Festival Artistic Director Wendy Martin, and hosted by Terri Ann White, and features composer Cat Hope, social justice lawyer Melissa Parke and Amnesty International Regional Campaign Organiser for My New Neighbour, Claire Birch. Don’t miss out on this one, tickets for Speechless are moving quickly.

On Saturday 2 March there will also be a post-show conversation with Composer & Director Cat Hope.

Otherwise, there are plenty of chances to debrief the show in the Sunset Bar, onsite at the Sunset Heritage Precinct, open before the performance from 7pm, and again afterwards until 10:30pm.


The Sunset Bar

Looking for something to do before and after Speechless?

The on-site Sunset Bar at the Sunset Heritage Precinct will be open from 7pm before each performance, 26 Feb – 3 Mar, and then again after the show until 10:30pm.

We’re also excited to announce that the renowned Cullen Wines in Wilyabrup is supporting Speechless, and will be served at the bar.