2016 JWC Concert Series

All Concerts at the Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts

420 Brunswick St, Fortitude Valley, QLD

Tickets available here.


Concert 1: Harrison’s Axe // Tuesday April 19th // Main Performance Space

“One thing I’ve tried to do in writing music is take on very basic things, very archetypal things.” – Harrison Birtwistle

Kupka’s Piano begins its 2016 season with the ‘elemental dynamism’ of British composer Harrison Birtwistle’s iconic piano-percussion duo The Axe Manual. Intricately rhythmic, fiendishly virtuosic, sometimes violent, other times playful, this work confronts and engages in equal measure.

Alongside this, Kupka’s presents the Australian premiere of Polish composer Jagoda Szmytka’s Just before after. Despite featuring at numerous international festivals in recent years, Szmytka’s dense and worldly sonic imagination has yet to reach Australian shores, and Kupka’s Piano is particularly thrilled to be presenting her Australian debut.

The concert will also feature the world premiere of not one but three new works, including new pieces by young Australian composers Liam Flenady and Jakob Bragg, as well as one by one of Kupka’s two flautists, Jodie Rottle.


Harrison Birtwistle (b. 1934) // The Axe Manual (2000)

Jodie Rottle (b. 1988) // New Work (2016) WORLD PREMIERE

Jakob Bragg (b. 1990) // New Work (2016) WORLD PREMIERE

Liam Flenady (b. 1987) // A New Day in the Desert (2015) WORLD PREMIERE

Jagoda Szmytka (b. 1982) // Just before after (2010) AUSTRALIAN PREMIERE

02) for April 19th :: Kupka's Piano (Nick Morrissey)

Photo // Nick Morrissey


Concert 2: PIERROT! // Friday June 10th // Main Performance Space

With guest artist Tabatha McFadyen (soprano)

Kupka’s Piano travels back in space-time to Germany on the verge of WWI to perform one of the masterpieces of musical modernism, Arnold Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire. Based on the poems of Albert Giraud, this work explores the bewitched world of the clown Pierrot as he ruminates on desire, decadence, and death. Part melodrama, part cabaret, part song-cycle, Pierrot Lunaire still captivates audiences and stimulates the imagination today.


Benjamin Marks (b. 1973) // Passage Four, from the Circular Ruins 2 (2016) WORLD PREMIERE

Arnold Schoenberg (1874-1951) // Pierrot Lunaire (1912)

03) image for June 10th :: Left = Tabatha McFadyen (Morgan Roberts) - Right = Frantisek Kupka, Graduated Red

Left = Tabatha McFadyen (Morgan Roberts) – Right = Frantisek Kupka, Graduated Red


Concert 3: Tautologies, Transitions, Translations // Friday October 7th // Main Performance Space

“Translation (or metaphor) lies at the heart of creativity – the transfer of an idea, structure, or feeling from one domain to the other is the original creative act.” – Eric Wubbles

This concert features the Australian Premiere of American composer Eric Wubbles’ fascinating Tautology and Transition (2012). This work is divided into movements each of which are based on analyses of the sounds and techniques of specific instruments. These are echoed and translated by the other instruments in the ensemble and by doing so, these other instruments ‘analyse’ or ‘comment’ on the original instrument – leading to strikingly original musical textures.

Similarly, Liam Flenady’s work braneworlds (2016) explores the hidden dimensions of the flute revealed by its seldom-utilised techniques of underblowing. These are set in a radical contrapuntal web of the rest of the ensemble.

Kupka’s flautist Hannah Readon-Smith’s new work Olive (2016) for flute + flute creates tautologies and translations across the two instruments, all the while transitioning from fully notated music to free improvisation.

This concert also features a new work from Kupka composer Michael Matheison-Sandars and Alan Lawrence’s The Instant Burst of Clamour (2015) originally commissioned for the 100th anniversary of Gallipoli, and attempts to translate into musical form a complex image of war and its impacts, by drawing upon a scene from Shakespeare’s Hamlet.


Eric Wubbles (b. 1980) // Tautology and Transition (2012) AUSTRALIAN PREMIERE

Alan Lawrence (b. 1949) // The Instant Burst of Clamour (2015)

Hannah Reardon-Smith (b. 1987) // Olive for flute + flute (2016) WORLD PREMIERE

Michael Mathieson-Sandars (b. 1989) // New Work (2016) WORLD PREMIERE

Liam Flenady (b. 1987) // braneworlds (2016) WORLD PREMIERE

Left = Frantisek Kupka, Piano Keys Lake - Right = Kupka's Piano (Nick Morrissey Photography)

Left = Frantisek Kupka, Piano Keys Lake – Right = Kupka’s Piano (Nick Morrissey Photography)


Concert 4: Singular Vectors: A Chris Dench Portrait Concert // Friday December 2nd // Theatre Rehearsal Space

Featuring guest artist Peter Neville (percussion)

Kupka’s Piano ends the year with an ambitious portrait concert of Australian composer Chris Dench. Often associated with the ‘new complexity’ school, Chris Dench’s music is nonetheless not reducible to any particular style, and represents a unique synthesis of influences ranging from renaissance polyphony to jazz to modern science. The concert will present works from across his entire output, from the early solo works gelb : violett and Tilt to recent works such as Permutation City, each work representing a unique snapshot into the multi-directional development of this fascinating composer.

The concert will also feature the world premiere of a newly commissioned work for the ensemble.


Chris Dench (b. 1953) // eigenmomenta (2001)

Chris Dench (b. 1953) // gelb : violett (1989)

Chris Dench (b. 1953) // Permutation City (2008)

Chris Dench (b. 1953) // Tilt (1985)

Chris Dench (b. 1953) // flux (2016) WORLD PREMIERE

Left = Frantisek Kupka, Vertical Plains Blue and Red - Right = Chris Dench (Jake Turner)

Left = Frantisek Kupka, Vertical Plains Blue and Red – Right = Chris Dench (Jake Turner)


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