The 2020 Fitzroy Valley New Music Project Twin Residencies

In 2020 the Fitzroy Valley New Music Project (FVNMP) features twin residences by Peter Keelan and Cecile Williams, 7 – 25 September.

The Fitzroy Valley New Music Project in Fitzroy Valley, Western Kimberley, has been running since 2017 and is directed by renowned music educator/composer/performer Gillian Howell.

In 2020, Peter will work with students, community groups, and individuals in Fitzroy Valley for an instrument-making process, as informed by the ongoing project by Gillian Howell.

Cecile will collaborate with Fitzroy Valley District High School to develop a student art workshop program and align this program with the instrument making and musical work carried out by Tura Artist in Residence, Peter Keelan.

Artistic Director Tos Mahoney says of the Residencies:

“Tura is so grateful to all of our Fitzroy Crossing partners and especially to Peter and Cecile for jumping so quickly to the opportunity that arose to continue the great work that Gillian has been doing through the FVNMP. What’s already happening there now will complement the ongoing program so meaningfully. We thank them, and all of our supporters, and look forward to the outcomes of this intense period of residency.”

The FVNMP has just won this year’s Art Music Award for Excellence in a Regional Area.

The Fitzroy Valley New Music Project is supported by Healthway promoting the Act-Belong-Commit message and the Rowley Foundation.

Award for Excellence in a Regional Area in the 2020 Art Music Awards

Tura is delighted to share with Gillian Howell the 2020 APRA AMCOS and the Australian Music Centre Art Music Award for Excellence in a Regional Area for the Fitzroy Valley New Music Project. Tura and Gillian alike want to acknowledge and share the award in turn with all our regional partners including Fitzroy Valley District High School, Marninwarntikura Women’s Resource Centre, Mangkaja Arts Resource Agency, Marra Worra Worra Aboriginal Corporation, Baya Gawiy Children and Family Centre, Kimberley Aboriginal Law and Cultural Centre, and Nindilingarri Cultural Health Service.

Gillian and Tura thank APRA AMCOS and the Australian Music Centre for the award and their ongoing essential work, and likewise our fellow finalists in this category and all the winners and finalists in all the categories – keeping Australian culture alive.

Tura congratulates Gillian on her rigorous methodology laid out with boundless energy, all tapping into the endless depths of creativity and inspiration at the roots of the community.

Tura also acknowledges and thanks the Ian Potter Foundation, Heathway promoting the Act-Belong-Commit message, and the Rowley Foundation for enabling the project to grow and flourish, as well as the Australia Council and the WA Department of Local Government, Sport, and Cultural Industries, culture and the arts, for their continuing support.

The Fitzroy Valley New Music Project

The Fitzroy Valley New Music Project is an ongoing community music program based in Fitzroy Crossing in the Kimberley, Western Australia. The program is facilitated by internationally renowned music educator/composer/performer Gillian Howell as part of Tura New Music’s Regional and Remote Residency program.

2019 was the third year of the FVNMP consisting of a series of residencies that have built, and are building, collaborative foundations and relationships developing music projects through the exchange of ideas: mapping interests; exploring possibilities; assessing skills, and developing creative languages for shared art-making. Participants have learnt to explore music-making together and devising and performing their own music composition. Outcomes include new works (songs and instrumental composition) presented to local audiences and recorded for distribution.

Learn more about the Fitzroy Valley New Music Project.

See the full list of award recipients in the Australian Music Centre’s Resonate.

Philip Samartzis at the National Gallery of Victoria

The National Gallery of Victoria is presenting a series of sound works by Philip Samartzis in an online exhibition entitled The Kimberley.

These sound compositions by Philip Samartzis were produced from raw material recorded during three residencies with Tura in the Kimberley. Philip collaborated with the communities of Djarindjin, Lombadina and Ardyaloon (One Arm Point) on the Dampier Peninsula in 2010, the Warmun Art Centre in 2011, and Waringarri Aboriginal Arts in Kununurra in 2012, engaging in the deep listening practices of Indigenous people.

This online exhibition feature abridged versions of compositions created by Samartzis from these residencies with the full version destined for a new online exhibition entitled Topography of Dreams, produced by Tura.

The NGV online exhibition features works from the residency communities held in the NGV collection.

Hear the diverse soundscapes at the National Gallery of Victoria webpage.

Red Butte by Churchill Cann 2013


Farewell to Chair

At a board function on Wednesday 20 August, new Tura Chair Simon Dawkins paid homage to outgoing Chair Gavin Ryan who stood down from the Board in July after 6 years of service, five of those as Chair.

Tura Chair Simon Dawkins pays homage to Gavin Ryan

“Gavin stepped into the role of Chair with remarkable enthusiasm and has led the board to redefine what we do and help us move towards the challenge of becoming a national organisation, all the while recognizing the long history of Tura and the boundless ambition of the Founder and Artistic Director, Tos Mahoney.”

“Thanks for your commitment and generosity of spirit, Tura needed these qualities and you provided them in spades.”

In response, Gavin Ryan praised the Tura vision and how critical it was to have organisations like Tura who continually pushed the edges of cultural practice across an incredibly diverse demographic of the population.

Simon Dawkins also announced incoming board directors Alison Gaines and Zelinda Bafile who join Rod Campbell, Heather Zampatti, Dominique Monteleone, and Julian Tompkin.

Retiring Director Robyn Johnston, who had also served on the Board for the past 6 years, was also acknowledged for her informed and essential contribution.

A Different View: Composers and Filmmakers

Tura Adapts 2020 Commissions: A Different View

Tura joins forces with film curator Jack Sargeant to commission a suite of experimental music/sound/video/film collaborations bringing artists together from around the world. The works are to be stand-alone and as part of a larger work, initially for online and eventually theatrical release.

A Different View is part of the Tura Adapts Commissioning Program.


Eight filmmakers and composers from around the globe have been paired together and are currently collaborating remotely on this new suite of works. Works will be available online from mid-October 2020.

See the list of artists below, and click through to learn more about their practice.

Composer   Filmmaker
Sonya Holowell | NSW James Newitt | Tas/Portugal
Rachael Dease | WA Dan Browne | CAN
Lawrence English | QLD Emma Northey | SA
Julian Day | NYC/AU Lori Felker | USA

2020 Art Music Awards Finalists Announced

As announced today, Tura’s Regional Residency Program, The Fitzroy Valley New Music Project facilitated by Dr. Gillian Howell is a finalist in the national 2020 Art Music Awards for the Award for Excellence in a Regional Area.

The Art Music Awards, presented by Australian Music Centre and APRA AMCOS, consists of thirteen national categories celebrating the works and achievements of the art music community, and in 2020 received a record 278 nominations.

Internationally renowned music educator/composer/performer Gillian Howell was based in Fitzroy Crossing, Western Kimberley, for phase one of the project (2017-2019).

Tura Artistic Director Tos Mahoney comments: “The FVNMP came about through long-term relationship building dating back to 2008, and we could not have done it without local partners including Marninwarntikura Women’s Resource Centre, Fitzroy Valley District High School, Mangkaja Arts Resource Agency, Mara Wora Wora Aboriginal Corporation, and Nindilingarri Cultural Health Service. Having the resources to maintain relationships over the long term and then run a program like FVNMP for at least 3 years is what community engagement and cultural development is all about. It gave someone with the incredible and unique skill-set like Gillian the opportunity over that period to truly engage and facilitate community-led work. We are most grateful to everyone involved including our core funders the Australia Council and the State Government of Western Australia as well FVNMP direct supporters Healthway promoting the Act-Belong-Commit message, the Ian Potter Foundation, and the Rowley Foundation.

It’s been a delight and privilege to work with Gillian over this time and it’s most right that her great work is being acknowledged in this way. We look forward to the next 3 years.”

Gillian says of the nomination:

“The Fitzroy Valley New Music Project is very much a collaboration with the people of Fitzroy Crossing and the surrounding communities, and it has been my great privilege and honour to spend so much time making music in that part of the world on Bunuba and Gooniyandi country. Community arts residencies like this can help strengthen community connections and bring relationships between people and place resoundingly to the fore. What we’ve produced in these first three years showcases the creative ideas and collaborative efforts of so many in the community – students and teachers in the schools and kindergartens, women in the women’s resource centre, Indigenous language teachers, and local artists and musicians. From the first two compositions – an instrumental piece that depicted the extremity of the rainy season, and a quirky song about a teenager’s love affair with his mobile phone – we went on to write together a whole album worth of original material that depicts life, local history, and the places and people that matter to the people of the Fitzroy Valley. And then we had the great pleasure and privilege of working with Alan Pigram as the producer of that album. We were all pretty excited about working with a local legend like Alan.

Being one of the finalists is a very satisfying recognition of what we’ve made together, and I hope the whole community feels very proud.”

Tura extends congratulations to all award finalists. Tura was especially delighted to see Speechless by Cat Hope nominated for Work of the Year: Dramatic (Tura premiered Speechless at Perth Festival 2019), Sheets of Sound by Louise Devenish, presented by Tura and PICA, for Performance of the Year: Notated Composition, and Zubin Kanga’s performances of Ballast by Jon Rose for the Award for Excellence in Experimental Music presented by Tura at the State Theatre Centre of WA.

The Art Music Awards this year will be digital, streaming online as a virtual event on September 8.

See the full list of finalists on the Australian Music Centre website.

Announcing the 2020 Sonus2 Tour

Tura is delighted to announce the The Sonus2 Tour featuring Kimberley singer-songwriters Olive Knight and Stephen Pigram with a cross-cultural ensemble of instrumentalists, Iranian percussionist Esfandiar Shahmir, cellist Tristen Parr and flautist Tos Mahoney. The touring 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.

See the full tour site at

The Sonus2 Tour
23 August – 6 September 2020

Olive Knight, Stephen Pigram, Esfandiar Shahmir, Tristen Parr and Tos Mahoney & guests – a celebration of music and story through the Kimberley.

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

Sonus2 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.

This Tour, as with all of Tura’s award-winning Regional Programs, has come about from 19 years of community engagement and deep relationship building.


Olive Knight (Kankawa Nagarra) is a Walmatjarri Elder, international blues and gospel singer-songwriter, teacher and mentor, human rights advocate, and political activist. In 2015, Olive released her third album ‘Heroes and Laments’ and last year returned to the stage to tour internationally with Hugh Jackman in ‘The Man. The Music. The Show.’

Olive is joined by Stephen Pigram who has been collaborating with Tura since 2006. Stephen has been described as the the king of Kimberley song’ for his over thirty-five years of composing and performing both solo, and as part of the Pigram Brothers. Stephen and Olive share a devotion to the preservation and sharing of Aboriginal language and culture, and the Sonus2 Tour is an opportunity to collaborate through the Kimberley with local artists in a celebration of culture and place.

In 2020, Olive and Stephen will be joined by Iranian instrumentalist Esfandiar Shahmir who plays the Persian daf (frame drum) and other percussion interlacing his ancient and cross-disciplinary sounds with their songs of country. The ensemble also features cellist Tristen Parr and Tura Artistic Director and flautist Tos Mahoney.

Most significantly, the collaborations along the Tour shape and sculpt the performances. Performing alongside, or in part with, guest artists such as famed Fitzroy Express founder and leader Danny Marr, the concerts present a showcase of local sounds and distinctive flavour. Tura’s Sonus2 Tour also engages with local dance and song groups like the Waringarri Performers in Kununurra. 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 country.

Read more about the artists

Concert Program

The Tour weaves through the Kimberley with community concerts in Kununurra, Warmun, and Fitzroy Crossing, up the Peninsula performing in Kooljaman, Djarindjin, Lombadina, One Arm Point, and Beagle Bay, before ending in Broome at Sun Pictures, as part of Shinju Matsuri’s 50th anniversary.

See the full Concert Program

Community Engagement

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. Tura is delighted to be partnering with Healthway to promote to Act-Belong-Message throughout the Tour.

See the full Community Engagement Program


Tura acknowledges the Traditional Owners of country throughout Australia and their continuing connection to land and community. We pay our respect to them and their cultures, and to their Elders past, present, and emerging.

Update From The Artistic Director

“Unprecedented”, “uncharted waters”, “new normal” – I think collectively we are so worn down by these now hackneyed words that they have become meaningless. Of course, in any case, what was meant by them? What is normal? Certainly Tura’s whole reason for existence is to constantly explore that which is unchartered and to never rely on precedent. We have always prided ourselves on being flexible and to be able to adapt quickly to changing circumstances.

We could not have done so much of what we have over the past 33 years if we didn’t hold those qualities as central to our way of working.

This is not for a second underestimating the social, cultural and economic convulsions of 2020 that have affected the globe in such a complex and tragic way. In Australia, we are so relatively “lucky” in all ways at this time, but again, suffering is extensive and the future implications unknown.

Within this turbulence, Tura has adopted what might be considered a quiet approach with a view to the longer term. Since restrictions made live events and in-person projects (e.g. residencies) impossible, we have taken time to take stock.

Tura has taken modest steps through the Tura Adapts Commissioning Program to stay connected with both creatives and “audience”. The response to call-outs was overwhelming, and the content outcomes are humbling in the breadth of rigour and passion expressed through what soon will be a suite of 20 new Australian compositions. We congratulate and thank all the composers, sound artists and videographers that have created and will create such meaningful work. And we look forward to announcing new commissions across the remainder of 2020.

We are not going to overstate some brave new world of arts delivery. It has been a goal of Tura’s to increase online delivery for more than many a year. Certainly this year has given focus to that with the next 6 months seeing a roll-out of up to 40 new audio and video projects and a new website towards the end of the year which will create a refined delivery of that new program.

Three months ago we postponed all “live” program to 2021 including a very extensive regional and some international program. The latter stays postponed, but with the Kimberley re-opened we are currently negotiating with our community partners as to what may be possible this year in terms of residencies and tours. Stay tuned.

Development programs continue throughout this year including the second Summers Night Women Composers Program with performance outcomes in 2021.

With recently announced support from the Australia Council and the Ukaria Foundation, a new collaborative project between Mark Atkins and Erkki Veltheim starts development in November this year.

There are several major projects on the verge of finalisation… when they do we will certainly be letting you and the world know.

We are incredibly grateful to the State Government of WA through Lotterywest for their recently announced COVID-19 Relief Fund Grants and to be one of the recipients through the Resilient Organisations stream. Shoring up the present and helping plan the future is essential for the cultural life of the state and nation, and these funds will go a long way to enabling that to happen.

Gratitudes in the same direction for a pre-COVID announced Lotterywest Organisational grant which amongst some system strengthening programs is also an archive program. Consultant archivist Christine Benthien with in house Jameson Feakes will be working over the next 6 months on the ocean of material from the last 33 years. Out of this work will come new pathways of access to curated streams of content.

Adapting to the now but equally planning for future years with the increased contingency of change, we look forward to continuing the journey and for you joining us with at least some part of it.

Tos Mahoney
Artistic Director
Tura New Music

Tura Adapts 2020 Commissions Online

Tura’s online commissioning program Tura Adapts is now live.

Tura Adapts is a program designed to enable the creation of new work and its delivery in these times of restrictions.

This first phase is created across three programs; @TheRootsNo Borders, and A Different View, to both create new online content, and support practitioners for whom both opportunities to earn and to create have diminished so unbelievably.

Completed programs from @TheRoots and No Borders are available now with more still in progress. A Different View will be delivered across the coming months.

Artists were encouraged to think digital and adapt to the isolated space, creating outside of the regular performer-to-audience world. The outcomes are a combination of audio and video and audio-only, with composers and video artists attempting to navigate and make sense of their newfound isolation.

@TheRoots Commissions

Artist Work
Erasers Corridor
Annika Moses Amazing blissful moment (fearful receiver)
C. Tsang Automata
Gabbi Fusco An extension of self
Josten Myburgh & Adam Pultz-Melbye Baigup Learning
Nick Stark Street Scene – Lockdown 002
Steven Alyian Inverted Harmonic Environment – Boorloo
Tao Issaro Void (feat. Timbo Roberts)

No Borders Commissions

Artist Work
Anthony Moles & Carmen Morales Little Requiem in the form of 3 Antique Dances for Toy Piano
Dylan Crismani Still
Hilary Geddes Upstream, Down River
Kate Neal & Sal Cooper Sentiment Logistics
Nat Grant & Jutta Pryor Adaptive Memory
Pedro Alvarez Chronotope – Situation No. 1
Thea Rossen & Michael Sollis Disposed

Tura received an overwhelming number of submissions from the callout and thanks all applicants for taking the time to apply. We will continue to look at ways to create further opportunities for artists during this time.

2020 Summers Night Composers Announced

Tura and project partners have the pleasure of announcing the five chosen composer mentees for the second iteration of the Summers Night Mentoring Project for Female and Non-binary Composers. This biennial national mentoring project was established to support and mentor female and non-binary composers to create a new composition with the aim of growing the gender diversity of composers in music programs Australia-wide.

This year’s selected composers are Aviva Endean (VIC), Hilary Kleinig (SA), Bree van Reyk (NSW), Kate Milligan (WA), and Frankie Dyson Reilly (QLD). The mentoring team for 2020 is Cat Hope, Gabriella Smart, Erik Griswold, Damien Ricketson, Vanessa Tomlinson, Olivia Davies, Tristen Parr, and Aaron Wyatt.

The 2018 Summers Night Project commissioned works from Olivia Davies (WA), Rachel Bruerville (SA) and Carmen Chan Schoenborn (VIC).

Find out more about the project and partners here.

Clockwise from top left: Aviva Endean (VIC), Hilary Kleinig (SA), Bree van Reyk (NSW), Kate Milligan (WA), Frankie Dyson Reilly (QLD).