The Summers Night Project

The Summers Night Project

In 2017, Anne Summers, author of the ground-breaking examination of women in Australia’s history ‘Damned Whores and God’s Police’ released a ‘Women’s Manifesto’. This was intended as a blueprint to create equality for women in Australia, and it articulates clear goals for change, one of which was the right to participate fully and equally in all areas of public life.

Taking inspiration from Anne’s Manifesto, The Summers Night Project aims to provide support and mentoring for women composers to create new compositions for performances in Perth, Adelaide and Melbourne.

About the Project

Tura New Music, Monash University, Soundstream and Decibel New Music Ensemble have launched The Summers Night Project. The project has been established to support and mentor emerging composers who identify as women to create a composition for performances in Perth, Adelaide and Melbourne, with the aim of growing the gender diversity of composers in music programs Australia-wide. 

The three composers chosen from a national call-out are Olivia Davies (WA), Rachel Bruerville (SA) and Carmen Chan Schoenborn (VIC). They will compose works for a chamber ensemble comprised of members of Decibel New Music Ensemble and Soundstream. Each composer has been allocated a lead mentor from their home state and has access to all performer mentors each possessing different areas of expertise.

The composer mentors are Professor Cat Hope (VIC), from Monash University and artistic director of Decibel New Music Ensemble, Rebecca Erin Smith (WA), who recently mentored young composers from WAAPA to compose fanfares for the 2018 Perth Festival, and instigator of the inaugural Composing Women’s Festival in Adelaide, Becky Llewellyn (SA). Composers will have access to performance mentors Stuart James (WA) electronics, piano and percussion, Derek Pascoe (SA) saxophone, Tristen Parr (WA) cello, Gabriella Smart (SA) piano, and Cat Hope (VIC) flutes.

Composers are given the choice to write for as many or as few of the following instruments as they desire; percussion, cello, flute, saxophone, electronics and piano, and will take part in a two-day rehearsal intensive in Perth on 30 June and 1July 2018. This rehearsal period will be followed by concerts in the three host states; Monday 2 July at the Subiaco Arts Centre (WA), Wednesday 4 July at Elder Hall, University of Adelaide (SA), and Friday 6 July at the Music Auditorium, Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music, Monash University (VIC) as part of the Gender Diversity in Music Making Conference being held there.

Workshop Period | Saturday 30 June – Sunday 1 July at the Subiaco Arts Centre, Perth

Concert 1
Perth | 2 July 2018 | Subiaco Arts Centre

Concert 2
Adelaide | 4 July 2018 | Elder Hall, University of Adelaide

Concert 3
Melbourne | 6 July 2018 | Music Auditorium, Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music, Monash University

The Mentors

Cat Hope | Composer, flute and bass player based at Monash University, Melbourne. Hope uses graphic notation and improvisation in her work and is the artistic director of Decibel New Music Ensemble (est. 2009).

Gabriella Smart | Pianist, artistic director of Soundstream (est. 1993) in Adelaide. Smart is the recipient of a Prelude Composer Residency in 2018.

Rebecca Erin Smith | An award-winning Australian composer, Fulbright Scholar and recent graduate of the Manhattan School of Music New York (MSM), who specialises in collaborative media and concert works. Smith primarily works with ensembles of acoustic instruments, at times electronically manipulated and set alight with found sounds.

Becky Llewellyn | Adelaide based composer. In 1991, Llewellyn hosted the first Composing Women’s Festival in Adelaide, a ground-breaking celebration of Australian composers in many genres including Indigenous women’s music from Central Australia. The Festival went on to be celebrated in several other Australian cities.

Stuart James | Composer, pianist, percussionist, electronics performer and designer based at WAAPA, Edith Cowan University. James can support composers in any aspect of composition, as well as the development of electronic parts. James is a member of Decibel.

Tristen Parr | Cellist, composer, sound designer who writes music for dance and performs in Decibel. With over 15 years of experience in new and experimental music, Parr is also a production manager who can assist with technical and practical aspects of music performance preparation.

Derek Pascoe | Lecturer in Jazz theory and Improvisation across the Jazz, Classical and Contemporary disciplines at the Elder Conservatorium in Adelaide. In 1998 Pascoe moved to Australia from London. He completed a Master of Music at the Elder Conservatorium Adelaide in 2010, exploring performance and spontaneous improvisation techniques.

Project Partners

The Summers Night Project is presented by Tura New Music, Soundstream and Monash University, in association with project partners APRA AMCOS, the Australian Music Centre, and Decibel New Music Ensemble.