Monday March 13, 2017

Sounds from Down Under

Sometimes known as "the Land Down Under," the rugged continent of Australia can seem remote from the rest of the world. In an ArtsLIVE program Thursday, March 16, audiences will find that distant place brought a little closer in a concert featuring both a string quartet and the didgeridoo - an ancient wind instrument originally played by aboriginal Australians.

The program, “Earth Cry,” refers to a suite of music written by Australian composer Peter Sculthorpe (1929 -2014). Inspired by a Tasmanian poem of the same name, Sculthorpe was deeply concerned about climate change and came to regard the vast yet fragile landscape of Australia as a metaphor for the earth.

Sculthorpe is one of the only classically trained composers to include a didgeridoo, also known as a didjeridu, in his work. Explaining why, he said: “The instrument represents the sound of nature, of the earth itself.” As an instrument invented by indigenous people, it also suggests “the caring relationship with the environment and the aboriginal belief that the land owns the people, not the people the land.”

In this ArtsLIVE program, the concert will feature both a didgeridoo master, Stephen Kent, and the San Francisco-based ensemble, the Del Sol String Quartet. The Del Sol, established in 1992, has long been a champion for adventurous programming, including Sculthorpe’s works, which they have recorded. Kent is a musician who spent his formative years in East Africa. Trained originally on the French horn, he began playing the didgeridoo in 1980s.

The 7:30 p.m. concert in the Sears Recital Hall of the University’s Jesse Philips Humanities Center is preceded by a pre-concert talk at 6:45 p.m. Led by Kent and Charlton Lee of the Del Sol, the musicians will demonstrate the didgeridoo, and also discuss Sculthorpe’s legacy and his work’s connection to the environment.

Tickets are $16 general admission; $12 for seniors, military, and University faculty, staff and alumni. Admission is free for University students with ID. Advance tickets are available by calling the University Box Office at 937-229-2545 or visiting the website at http://go.udayton.edu/artslive. If available, tickets will also be sold at the door.

Free parking is available in Lot C, near the Philips Humanities Center. Patrons should stop at the visitor kiosk at the lot entrance to request a parking pass.

- Eileen Carr, ArtsLIVE coordinator

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