Scottish-born mezzo-soprano Vivien Hamilton was travelling in Scotland in 2012 when she came across a delightful book of haiku crafted in both English and Lallans Scots by Scottish poet Bruce Leeming. These evocative poetic miniatures were inspired by Scottish places and people. Excited by the musical possibilities of these poems, Icon Trio began their Scots Haiku Project by commissioning a group of Melbourne composers to create musical settings of Leeming’s haiku for the trio. Laverocks tweeedlin (Larks singing) is the result of these endeavours – a program of engaging new music that links the large Scottish diaspora community in Australia with their roots in a unique way!
Biographies of Poets and Composers of the Scottish Haiku Project
[from the poet’s Scots Haiku publication] “Bruce Brodie Leeming was born, raised and educated in Scotland. A poet grandfather (Charles L. Brodie), who wrote in Scots as well as English, and an early twelve-year working stint in the Far East influenced this collection.” In addition to his two volumes of Scots Haiku, he also published a volume of poetry Engraving the Sky (1993), and novels An Anger Bequeathed and Now You Must Dance.
What critics said about the first volume of Scots Haiku:
The Scots an Inglish vairsions bouster ilk ither (LALLANS)
Highly successful – clearly focused images (SCOTTISH LITERARY JOURNAL)
Other comments about Leeming’s Scots Haiku:
Read these haiku aloud to savour their beauty, the strangeness of their eloquence…they cast a real spell, full of guts and great haiku spirit (JAMES KIRKUP)
Wendy grew up in Melbourne and lives in Lakes Entrance in rural Victoria. She first encountered haiku while studying at teachers’ college, when a friend lent her a book of English translations of classic Japanese haiku by Australian poet Harold Stewart. The book was a revelation, sparking a lifelong fascination with haiku, and with Japanese culture. This has led her to travels in Japan, studying Zen Buddhism, exploring Japanese design, and becoming a passionate practitioner of the art of Bonsai. Wendy has been using haiku in her work as an English teacher for decades, delighting in its adaptability. She sees haiku as a vibrant form of contemporary poetic expression, across numerous languages and cultures. Leeming’s Scots Haiku was an exciting discovery, as it combines Wendy’s Scottish heritage (shared with her sister, Icon Trio singer Jeannie Marsh) with the spirit of Japanese haiku.
Matan graduated with a Bachelor of Music, specialising in Composition, from the University of Melbourne Conservatorium of Music in 2013. Whilst his composition studies were rooted in contemporary classical techniques, he has a strong background in Music Theatre, Jazz and Pop, all of which informs the music he composes. He is an active member and resident arranger for the award-winning male a cappella quartet, Tacet.
The music of Wendy Hiscocks has been performed by prominent artists at major events worldwide. The list includes Piers Lane and Roy Howat (piano), Rachel Nicholls and Elizabeth Connell (soprano), Madeleine Mitchell (violin), Michael Collins (clarinet), Sydney Chamber Choir, Jesus College Choir (Cambridge), Schubert Ensemble (London), King’s Lynn and Aldeburgh Festivals (UK), Spitalfields Festival (London), Bangor New Music Festival (Wales), Australian Festival of Chamber Music, Amadeus Festival (Geneva), Radio Suisse Romande, Radio France, ABC Radio and TV, BBC Radio 3 and the British Film Institute. She has completed a doctorate on the music of Arthur Benjamin. As a pianist, she has recorded for Edition Stil and Symposium, and appeared at venues ranging from London’s Purcell Room to the Kusatsu International Festival in Japan.
Clare Johnston completed a Bachelor of Music at the University of Melbourne in composition with first class honours in 2013. Her works have been performed by Syzygy Ensemble, Icon Trio and advanced performers at the Melbourne Conservatorium. In 2013, Clare was the recipient of the Esther Rofe Award for Composition and in 2014 she was awarded third place in the Matt Withers Young Australian Music Composition Competition. Clare is also a passionate songwriter. She has an album and single on iTunes and has been shortlisted several times for the Australian Songwriting Competition.
May Lyon has recently completed her Bachelor of Music (Honors) in Composition at the University of Melbourne, and is also a mezzo-soprano.
After initial studies in composition at the University of Melbourne and the Victorian College of the Arts, composer/digital artist Christine moved to the UK in 1997 to study with James MacMillan at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, and later received a research scholarship to complete a PhD in composition at the University of Edinburgh. Composition prizes and awards include the The Dorian Le Galienne Composition Award, The Lyrebird Music Society A.N.A. Prize for Composition and a Bundanon Artists Trust Residency. Christine’s work covers a range of styles from chamber music to electroacoustic composition and video. Many of Christine’s compositions have been performed by leading ensembles and soloists, both in Australia and Internationally, including the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, soloists from the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, the Vienna Piano Trio, Topology Ensemble and the Australia Ensemble.
Recent commissions include new works for the Artisan Trio, Edinburgh (Three Kinds of Silence) and the Australian Chamber Choir (A Lexicon of Dreams) both premiered in 2013 and received favourable reviews. A Lexicon of Dreams was performed throughout Europe during the choir’s 2013 European tour. http://www.christinemccombe.com.au
Mark McSherry works as a music educator specialising in composition. He has composed for film, theatre and art projects for many years.
Lauren studied composition with Stuart Greenbaum at The University of Melbourne, where she graduated as the recipient of the 2010 Esther Rofe Music Composition Award. She performs as a singer and violinist, in collaboration with a number of singer-songwriters around Melbourne. Lauren is also part of the Concordis Chamber Choir, who recently premiered one of her compositions.
Peter Neville describes himself as: “a musician (percussionist) with a particular passion for (contemporary ) chamber music. I am an accidental composer and usually only find the time and focus to write when responding to an immediate request.”
Peter is a graduate of the Victorian College of the Arts, and was appointed Head Of Percussion there in 2000. He is also Head of Percussion at the Australian National Academy of Music. Whilst he works across the range of musical styles he has a particular commitment to new music, and has performed, recorded and toured with the ELISION Ensemble for twenty-three years. Peter is also a member of groups including Jouissance, the David Chesworth Ensemble, The Raga Dolls Salon Orchestra and SPEAK Percussion and he has recorded and toured internationally with each of them.
He has performed in numerous musicals, dance works, and orchestral performances, with companies including Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Playbox Theatre, and Human Veins Dance Theatre. He can be heard on recordings ranging from pop to experimental. Peter has composed music for a number of ensembles and for theatre companies including Playbox, Handspan Theatre and Arena Theatre. His radio work After Hildegard has enjoyed repeated airplay.
Johanna Selleck is a composer, flautist, and musicologist. She completed a PhD in composition at Melbourne University in 2006, studying under Brenton Broadstock. Johanna’s compositions have been performed by some of Australia’s foremost groups and she has been featured at national and international festivals and conferences and she has won numerous composition prizes including the prestigious Albert H. Maggs Composition Award for Australian Composers in 2006. A highlight of her career was the collaboration in 2010 with the renown American harmonica player, Corky Siegel, in the creation of a new concerto for blues harmonica. Her music appears on Move Records, Tall Poppies, and the Fluteworthy label and is published by Reed Music, Allans Music, and Lyrebird Press. The main theme of her current style of composition is the idea of the ‘connectedness’ between people and the natural environment, across culture and time.
Born in Melbourne, Krystal is currently studying at the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music, undertaking a Bachelor of Music under the tutelage of Glenn Riddle. She received her A. Mus. A diploma in 2009, and in both 2012 and 2013 was the recipient of the Cassidy Bequest Scholarship. She is currently a piano tutor and early childhood specialist at Forte School Of Music. Holding a passion for musical theatre, Krystal has been involved in over forty productions, with highlights including the professional production of Pippin (Magnormas – Melbourne Recital Centre), the highly acclaimed Phantom Of The Opera (Windmill Theatre Company), and the Australian premiere of Frankenstein: A New Musical (WMTC), opening later this year. As an accompanist she has collaborated with choirs, vocalists and instrumentalists, playing for VCE and AMEB exams, recitals, eisteddfods and various concert performances. Krystal has performed at, or had her compositions performed at, many of Melbourne’s major concert venues, including The Palais Theatre, Melbourne Recital Centre, Deakin Edge, The Australia Club, The Plenary (Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre) and CROWN Entertainment Complex.
Irine is a composer, music director, performer, librettist, arts writer, community cultural development worker and creative producer. She has collaborated with many of Australia’s finest performers, writers, directors and companies. Irine was a founding member of Melbourne Workers Theatre, composing music for many MWT productions, and composed major music theatre works (such as 1975 and the award-winning Little City) for Canto Coro choir. Her band the haBiBis has performed at major festivals and events around Australia, and her music can be heard in television series The Slap and in the film Head On. Irine’s work with Outer Urban Projects has included collaborative youth music projects such as suBurBan exchange at Melbourne Recital Centre.