O N C E C R T U EL S H E IC B A LL A RA L ,Q T M IO PA A N S C TE O R FA M IN D
, R LE K , N TI EIM T T H ND E , O LT K C VE L A S D S E I Y, K I E N A K G -H K E S R R U IN E TR W Q , R LE ES U IL BO K H C T H AT M R A L A W I C R F E AT E G B E O LY O R Y N
13 tu 7. Ju rd 30 l a pm y 2 y 01 9
s iu en G n s he h r T Jo ge of d Ro Sa
QUEENSL AND MUSIC FESTIVAL , QUEENSL AND SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA AND QUEENSL AND PERFORMING ARTS CENTRE PRESENT
Welcome Messages Genius – it’s a word too often claimed for those undeserving. Tonight we have absolutely no doubt in claiming that moniker for our John Rodgers. Few composers in this world have traversed a musical journey so wide and varied and been so utterly brilliant in each endeavour. Alongside admiring his frightening brilliance as a wide eyed student of John’s at the Queensland Conservatorium in the late 90s, the thing I admired most about him was his absolute absence of ego or pretence. John’s dedication to artistic excellence was the same at The Zoo in Fortitude Valley in front of 20 people as it was at the Sydney Opera House in front of 2000. His musical equality is inspiring. Tonight I invite you to immerse yourself in the world of a true polymath and delight in the sounds of his peers who adore him – Erkki Veltheim, Scott Tinkler, Paul Grabowsky, Anthony Burr, Simon Barker, Philip Rex, Andy McDonell, Kate Miller-Heidke, Megan Sarmardin, Pearly Black, Leah Cotterell, Camaron De La Vega, Jamie Clark, Mark Atkins, David Williams, Sean Mee, Eugene Gilfedder and myself with Queensland Symphony Orchestra. A huge heartfelt thanks to our incredible Queensland Music Festival Genius of John Rodgers team led by Katrina and Oliver, presenting partners Queensland Symphony Orchestra and Queensland Performing Arts Centre and to all our beautiful artists. Yours in song,
KATIE NOONAN ARTISTIC DIRECTOR QUEENSLAND MUSIC FESTIVAL
It is with great pleasure that the Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC) partners with Queensland Music Festival and the Queensland Symphony Orchestra to celebrate the music of John Rodgers, one of our state’s most eclectic composers. John Rodgers has been a long-time friend and collaborator of QPAC. His work was featured alongside the Rock and Roll Circus for our very first Out of the Box Festival in 1992 and his awardwinning compositions have featured in many productions that premiered on our stages, including his Helpmannnominated composition for Expressions Dance Company’s Where the Heart Is, Queensland Theatre Company’s Sunshine Club, and, most recently, a composition for Katie Noonan’s With Love and Fury. An Artist-in-Residence at QPAC in the early 2000’s, John immersed himself in exciting and experimental collaborations with many of the artists you see on stage tonight, including Erkki Veltheim, as well as writing new exciting compositions drawing inspiration from extensive musical genres and styles. These works and many others written by this renowned Queensland artist have gone on to be presented across Australia and the world.
John Rodgers is one of Queensland’s most gifted, respected and possibly underappreciated artists, perhaps due to the unconventional career he chose to forge in Australia and overseas. However, what is clear is that John is of this place and has left an indelible mark on every person and organisation he has worked with including the Queensland Symphony Orchestra. John had an early connection with Queensland Symphony Orchestra. In the 1980s, he played violin with the Queensland Theatre Orchestra (one of our earlier incarnations) and later led the Orchestra for a while. Thus, it is a great pleasure and completely fitting for Queensland Symphony Orchestra to be part of tonight’s celebration. Creativity breeds creativity. It is my hope that this concert will not be just a look back at John’s extraordinary career but that it will also inspire a new generation of musicians to even greater heights.
We are thrilled to celebrate his genius with you this evening. Please enjoy the performance and I hope to welcome you back to QPAC again soon.
JOHN KOTZAS CHIEF EXECUTIVE QUEENSLAND PERFORMING ARTS CENTRE
CRAIG WHITEHEAD CHIEF EXECUTIVE QUEENSLAND SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA
Program ACT 1 Carolling
Written for ‘The 7 Stages of Grieving’ influenced by Christine Johnston’s birdcalls (1997).
Duet for Violin and Bass Clarinet In tribute to Elliott Carter, written to be played with Anthony Burr (1995).
Where the Heart Is (Finale)
Written for Natalie Weir’s Expressions Dance Company with lyrics drawn from David Malouf’s prose (2010).
Hear Me and Remember
Commissioned for the Four Winds Festival by Genevieve Lacey, who asked for a piece that would put the Indigenous players and the Australian Chamber Orchestra on equal footing, John choosing to use the form of La Folia (2012).
This Paul Grabowsky commission for the Adelaide Festival is based on a recorded improvisation that John and Ken Edie made on a large piece of glass, scored for orchestra for Scott Tinkler to play freely over (2012).
ACT 2 The Ultimate Prize
John’s first attempt to use flamenco in an Australian context recorded for ‘Family of Abjects’ the first Madam Bones Brothel album (1994).
This was written about John’s dog Vivian. For the song the character became a man recorded on the second Madam Bones Brothel album ‘Fleas on the Bitch’ (2000).
John used the ‘Giant Steps’ harmonic formula in composing this song. The verses start out roughly true and get more fanciful as each goes along (‘Family of Abjects’ 1994).
Written with Wesley Enoch (lyrics) for ‘The Sunshine Club’, a musical about the Aboriginal servicemen returning to Australia after World War II (1998).
This song was written with Megan Sarmardin for ‘Little Birung’. Living at Springvale, Megan’s great grandmother Flora’s mother would cry when she heard the black cockatoo, because it was her mother’s totem back on her home country (2009).
Love Sweet Love
Parallel stories of Spanish lives transplanted to North Queensland written for ‘The Dream Catchers’ a Queensland Music Festival show in Innisfail (2007).
This was written lyrically from a newspaper article John had read (‘Family of Abjects’ 1994).
In My Sin
This is John’s Mea Culpa (‘Family of Abjects’ 1994).
This song is being debuted in this concert. It was written for ‘Ratbags’ a show developed by Doug Leonard for Arterial but never produced. The lyrics are from the last section of a poem by Manfred Jurgensen (2004).
PHOTO CREDIT: CHRIS OSBORNE C 1994 FROM THE INSIDE OF JOHN’S ALBUM ‘A ROSE IS A ROSE’
John Rodgers Portrait “What I like is at either end of the musical spectrum. I don’t like the middle.” - John Rodgers
John’s musical biography is as unique as his talent. “John became a huge influence on the way I think about both music and life, with every collaboration and conversation invariably leading to new ideas about playing, composing and improvising.” – Erkki Veltheim John Rodgers is simply one of the most productive musicians and composers in Australia. His performances as a soloist in classical music and his improvisation on violin are legendary. His body of compositions for theatre, alternative bands and new music showcase his extraordinary versatility. This range is reflected in early highpoints that include leading the Australian Youth Orchestra, co-creating the art-rock ensemble Madam Bones Brothel and becoming a founding member of the Australian Art Orchestra. “I asked John how he ‘heard’ some of the music he wrote. He said, ‘sometimes you write something to see how it sounds.’” – Jamie Clark John began learning violin and piano as a child. In his early teens, living in North Queensland, he took flamenco lessons with Joachim Gomez, an accomplished Spanish gypsy guitarist. In Brisbane, John’s extraordinary talent was recognised at the Queensland Conservatorium of Music, and he became the leader of both the Queensland Youth Orchestra (1981) and the Australian Youth Orchestra (1983-1984). The combination of intensity and expressive freedom that were celebrated in his violin performances of Bach and Bartok have remained characteristic of his work.
“John Rodgers’ heart is dark and sweet in equal measures…Our shared idealism demanded the freedom to please nothing other than our own sense of truth.” – Pearly Black In his early 20’s John made radical moves away from the mainstream, exploring new approaches to playing and writing. He laid his claim to artistic freedom through experimentation with punk-inflected song writing for alternative bands, including the long-lived cult sex and death-themed Madam Bones Brothel (1989-2010) with singer Pearly Black. During this period, John was also composing, improvising and recording with clarinettist Anthony Burr, and with Artisan’s Workshop, a closeknit ensemble of experimental musicians including drummer Ken Edie who became an important collaborator in explorations of contemporary art music techniques. “Madness, mayhem, irreverence, yet incredible intelligence, compassion and musical ability. Classical, New Music, Country, Carnatic, Punk, Flamenco, he approaches it all with the same respect and discipline.” – Scott Tinkler In 1994 John became a founding member of the Australian Art Orchestra, contributing brilliant performances and compositions and forming strong musical relationships with Artistic Director and pianist Paul Grabowsky, trumpeter Scott Tinkler and other virtuosic musicians in the group. In 2000 the Elision ensemble commissioned ‘Inferno’, based on John’s reading of Dante’s classic, beginning a long run of art music commissions for Elision and others, including recorder virtuoso Genevieve
Lacey. In 2010 John was commissioned by Paul Grabowsky to compose ‘Glass’ a new work for The London Sinfonietta featuring soloist Scott Tinkler to perform at The Adelaide Festival.
Paronella Park. John, with producer Leah Cotterell, mentored Megan in the multi-stage development of a song-cycle, ‘Little Birung’, telling the story of four generations of her proud North Queensland Indigenous family.
John has also composed and provided musical direction for 40 theatre productions. Highlights include ‘The Sunshine Club’ (1999-2000), a musical co-written with Wesley Enoch, and ‘Exit the King’ (20072009), directed by Neil Armfield, which won the 2007 Sydney Theatre Award for Best Score. This production toured to New York co-starring Geoffrey Rush and Susan Sarandon. In 2010 John created a score featuring singer Pearly Black, violinist Erkki Veltheim and pianist Marc Hannaford for the Expressions Dance Company production ‘Where the Heart Is’. This score was nominated for a Helpmann Award in 2011. John’s work on productions by Indigenous companies and artists is also extensive, including work with Kooemba Jdarra, BIGhART, Black Arm Band and Archie Roach and Ruby Hunter.
“He’d switch between flamenco guitar, thundering piano, pop synth and virtuosic, gritty violin. It was like having a human orchestra added to our duo… He is a true iconoclast and we consider ourselves incredibly lucky to be among his collaborators.” – Kate Miller-Heidke and Keir Nuttall
“John expanded on my love of music. Taught me how to write meaningful lyrics. Taught me about weaving the intricate melodies to showcase the lyrics. My great teacher is also a great friend.” – Megan Sarmardin John has mentored many musicians and singers, including his very close association with Erkki Veltheim. He was the composer for the 2003 Queensland Music Festival Mount Isa community project ‘Bob Cat Dancing’ which featured the 18-year old singer Megan Sarmardin. A group of John’s favourite singers including Pearly Black, Megan Sarmardin, Andy MacDonnell and Leah Cotterell went on to perform ‘The Ultimate Prize’, an anthology of John’s song writing for the 2004 Brisbane Cabaret Festival. Megan also worked with John and Pearly, didgeridoo virtuoso William Barton, Genevieve Lacey and flamenco ensemble Arté Kanela on the 2007 QMF Innisfail community project ‘Dream Catchers’, a lush meditation on flamenco music, Indigenous history and the unique Spanish heritage of
In 2013 John co-produced ‘Life and Music’, a series of three beautiful concerts with friends who also happen to be among the finest musicians in Australia, including singer Kate Miller-Heidke and guitarist Keir Nuttall. Most recently John has delivered commissions for the Sydney Theatre Company (“King Lear” 2014) and Katie Noonan (“Failure of Communication” with the Brodsky Quartet 2015). His Doctor of Philosophy was awarded in 2018 by Griffith University Queensland Conservatorium. “There’s no one who’s more fun to stand beside on stage when he’s singing than John.” – Leah Cotterell As an occasional band musician and singer, John’s party pieces show off his lush baritone voice, especially the Johnny Cash classics, ‘Walk the Line’ and ‘Boy Named Sue’. He delighted many with his participation in the Tell Heaven Gospel Revue (1997-2012). In May 2014 John contracted pneumococcal meningitis and cerebral vasculitis as a complication resulting in serious brain damage. John experiences ongoing physical and cognitive difficulties but he retains not only capacity to make his own decisions but also his characteristic joyful, irreverent world view. “Not only his genius musicianship but also his passionate and all-embracing mind as well as his maverick spirit have touched his friends and our wider community.” – Eugene Gilfedder
John has made the artistic decisions in this concert program and has collaborated on the orchestrations and musical direction with Erkki Veltheim. John Rodgers Composer/Co-Musical Director Erkki Veltheim Arranger / Conductor / Co-Musical Director / Violin Leah Cotterell Creative Producer Sean Mee Director FEATURING Andy McDonell Anthony Burr Camaron De La Vega David Williams Erkki Veltheim Jamie Clark Kate Miller-Heidke Marje Michael Mark Atkins Megan Sarmardin Paul Grabowsky Pearly Black Philip Rex Scott Tinkler Simon Barker BAND Guitar - Jamie Clark Piano - Paul Grabowsky Bass - Phil Rex Drums - Simon Barker MC Eugene Gilfedder WELCOME TO COUNTRY Shannon Ruska David Williams QUEENSLAND SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA VIOLIN 1 Shane Chen = Brynley White ^ Allana Wales Rollin Zhao Ceri Jones Li Liu
VIOLIN 2 Wayne Brennan ~ Jane Burroughs ^ Natalie Low Tim Marchmont Helen Travers Matthew Hesse VIOLA Yoko Okayasu >> Jann Keir-Haantera ^ Kirsten Hulin-Bobart Nicholas Tomkin CELLO Matthew Kinmont = MinJin Sung ^ Kathryn Close David Lale DOUBLE BASS Phoebe Russell ~ Justin Bullock ^ FLUTE Hayley Radke >> PICCOLO Kate Lawson * OBOE Sarah Meagher >> CLARINET Irit Silver ~ BASS CLARINET Nicholas Harmsen * BASSOON Nicole Tait ~ FRENCH HORN Ian Oâ€™Brien * Lauren Manuel TRUMPET Paul Rawson ^ TROMBONE Ben Marks =
BASS TROMBONE Jason Luostarinen ^ TUBA Matthew White ^ TIMPANI Lucas Gordon ^ PERCUSSION Angus Wilson = Fraser Matthew CELESTE Brett Sturdy ^ ART CHOIR Alison St Ledger Anje West Barb Fordham Billie Star Donald Hall Eugene Gilfedder Eugenie Costello Grace Cuell Harmon Ferrett Helen Russell Jean Cotterell Karen Anderson Leah Ahchay Leah Cotterell Prue Gibbs Robert Perrier Robert Stewart Salliana Campbell Sharon Moore Sue Rider Toby Wren Tommy Adeney Tony Ahchay Trevor Hart
~ Section Principal = Acting Section Principal >> Associate Principal + Acting Associate Principal * Principal ^ Acting Principal
Acknowledgments Queensland Music Festival would like to acknowledge the Traditional Owners and Custodians of the lands on which Queensland Music Festival events are taking place, and pay our respects to Elders past, present and emerging. PATRON His Excellency the Honourable Paul de Jersey AC Governor of Queensland BOARD OF DIRECTORS Dominic McGann – Chair Danielle Duell – Deputy Chair Darren Busine – Treasurer BOARD MEMBERS Diat Alferink Prof. Margaret Barrett Alison Mobbs Jim Reeves Jane Williams John Willsteed
QUEENSLAND MUSIC FESTIVAL EXECUTIVE TEAM Katie Noonan – Artistic Director Joel Edmondson – Executive Director Katrina Torenbeek - Program & Technical Director Simon Buchanan – Business Development Director Linda Gordon – Marketing & Communications Director Wendy Mansell – Regional Engagement Director PROJECT TEAM Katrina Torenbeek – Program & Technical Director Bernd Neumann – Technical Manager Oliver Samson – Project Coordinator
FINANCE & ADMINISTRATION Tobias Hill – Secretariat to the Board Jodi Kelly – Finance Manager Beata Kennedy – Finance & Administration Peta Winters – Administration Manager PROGRAMMING & TECHNICAL Jason Allen – Ground Transport Pip Boyce – Managing Producer Jake Cook – Production Coordinator Joc Curran – Creative Producer Kate Driscoll-Wilson – Managing Producer Aaron Dora – Project Coordinator Gabby Gregory – Associate Producer Erica Hart – Executive Program Producer Isabel Hart – Associate Producer Elverina Johnson – Managing Producer David Logan – Ground Transport Bart Mangan – Technical Manager Sally McRae – Managing Producer Kylie Mitchell – Senior Technical Manager Ruby Newport – Associate Producer Bernd Neumann – Technical Manager Lia Pa’apa’a – Co Producer Oliver Samson – Project Coordinator Deirdree Wallace – Ticketing Officer Jeff Warnick – Technical Manager MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS Lauren Flint – Marketing Executive Natania Hinwood – Senior Digital Marketing Executive Alex Komarowski – Marketing Coordinator Yuverina Shewpersad – Marketing Executive SGC Media – Media Relations The M Agency – Festival Identity & Design Nude Agency – Creative Agency
Professor Peter Coaldrake AO Chair Leigh Tabrett PSM Deputy Chair John Kotzas Chief Executive TRUST MEMBERS Dare Power Susan Rix AM Leanne de Souza The Queensland Performing Arts Trust is a statutory body of the State of Queensland and is partially funded by the Queensland Government The Honourable Leeanne Enoch MP, Minister for Environment and the Great Barrier Reef, Minister for Science and Minister for the Arts Director-General, Department of Environment and Science: Jamie Merrick QPAC respectfully acknowledges the Traditional Owners of the Lands across Queensland and pays respect to their ancestors who came before them and to Elders past, present and emerging. Patrons are advised that the Performing Arts Centre has EMERGENCY EVACUATION PROCEDURES, a FIRE ALARM system and EXIT passageways. In case of an alert, patrons should remain calm, look for the closest EXIT sign in GREEN, listen to and comply with directions given by the inhouse trained attendants and move in an orderly fashion to the open spaces outside the Centre.
BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT Danielle Bentley – Development Manager Jacqui Grinzi – Partnership Manager Wendy Mansell – Philanthropy & Grants Consultant YOUTH TOURING Laura Bonner – Youth Touring Manager Katy Holmes-Brown - Touring Administrator Lizzie Moore – Touring Administrator STATE CO-ORDINATION OFFICE Jess Cuddihy – Communications & Events Coordinator Madonna Davies – Regional Arts Officer Amber Lenoy – Digital Marketing Coordinator
Chris Freeman Chair Alondra de la Parra Music Director Craig Whitehead Chief Executive
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The Genius of John Rodgers is presented by Queensland Music Festival, Queensland Symphony Orchestra and Queensland Performing Arts Centre, and supported by Brisbane City Council and Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University.
The official program for Queensland Music Festival's The Genius of John Rodgers