Michael Nyman has a music career that takes in famous friendships, Oscars disappointment and an historic trip to Sydney, as he explains.
Nyman’s latest composition helps celebrate the centenary of the Sydney Conservatorium of Music.
“Doing the Rounds is the first piece I’ve written [that was] commissioned by an academic institution,” he reveals.
It made its world premiere on Friday 27 May, performed by the Symphony Orchestra and Sydney Conservatorium Large Choir in the Conservatorium’s Verbrugghen Hall.
It is something of a coup for Sydney to host a milestone for a man made famous by his scores for films directed by the likes of Peter Greenaway and Jane Campion.
Source: ABC Sydney
British composer Michael Nyman is best known for his scores, but he’s developed another artistic endeavour – film.
The Australian debut of his work is at the Brickworks, in Sydney Park, St Peters.
Co-hosted by COFA’s National Institute for Experimental Arts (NIEA), Cine Opera shows vignettes from everyday life, such as football fans celebrating in Barcelona and the connection between two train carriages in Tunisia. Many of the films are set to his music.
The installation was opened by director Jane Campion.
Michael Nyman’s scores include Campion’s work The Piano as well as those from a long-standing collaboration with Peter Greenaway (The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover and Prospero’s Books).
Nyman began filming over 40 years ago, but honed his skills over the past 15 years.
“Now I always go out armed with a camera or two,” he says. “Filming is the opposite of composing music. It’s completely unpredictable.”
The exhibition is curated by NIEA’s Felicity Fenner.
“This installation is a collection of spontaneous visual diaries of everyday life across a diversity of cultures. Soundtracks to some of the films use location sounds, whilst others recycle existing scores from the composer’s own archive, or a combination of both to create sound/score montages,” she says.
The event is co-hosted by The Conservatorium of Music, where Michael Nyman is Composer-in-Residence. The event at the Brickworks runs until 13 June.
Nyman does fashion a witty, entertaining piece…
It’s a work of many incidental pleasures – the insidiously catchy “Leonardo says” aria in Act I, or the resuscitated Goya asking the scientists why he couldn’t have been left in peace in the third act. Contralto Hilary Summers’s low contralto is perfect for the key role of the Art Banker, and the small multitasking supporting cast, notably sopranos Winnie Böwe and Marie Angel, are excellent. Nyman’s own chamber ensemble provides punchy, incisive backing under the composer’s direction in a reissue of a recording dating from 2003.
—Graham Rickson, The Arts Desk
By Joyce Morgan, May 24, 2011
THE composer Michael Nyman picks up his compact camera.
“Oh, that’s interesting,” he says.
Exactly what is so fascinating about the garbage truck that has pulled up before us at the Sydney Park Brickworks isn’t apparent.
But he has been filming such vignettes for years on his hand-held camera. A drunken man struggling to put on his tie, the aftermath of a bullfight and a derelict but once-magnificent Mexican cinema are among the scenes that have captured his attention.
“I feel very privileged and snoopy,” he says. “I like the accident of the thing happening in front of me, setting up a frame and just allowing what transpires.”
Filmmaking is the lesser known side of Nyman’s oeuvre. He is best known for his film scores, including for Jane Campion’s The Piano and Peter Greenaway’s The Draftsman’s Contract and The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover.
Both sides will be on show in Sydney this week in a series of events that include the world premiere of a musical composition, a public lecture and screenings of his films.
Award-winning composer Michael Nyman has been honoured with the annual Classical Music Award at the Ivor Novello awards at Grosvenor House. This award marks his distinguished career as one of Britain’s most successful composers.