The 19th Bangalow Music Festival 2022 (BMF), proudly owned, operated, and presented annually by Southern Cross Soloists (SXS), one of Australia’s most formidable and long-running chamber music ensembles, announced today its new works for didgeridoo to be World Premiered during Concert 3, MAPS AND JOURNEYS: THE WORLD’S FIRST ASTRONOMERS on Saturday 11:00am, August 13 at the Bangalow A&I Hall. SXS Artist in Residence didgeridoo soloist Chris Williams will perform alongside SXS and SXS Next Gen Artists in MAPS AND JOURNEYS, featuring three new works by Australian composers, as it explores the rich astronomical traditions of Australia’s First Nations’ Peoples over the past 65,000 years. It is believed to be the oldest practice of astronomy in the world. Williams will also be accompanied by Indigenous composer and violinist Eric Avery and actress Paula Nazarski.

MAPS AND JOURNEYS: THE WORLD’S FIRST ASTRONOMERS is proudly supported by Festivals Australia and will include two (2) new works by First Nation’s composers in a concert of Australian works inspired by the night sky and the Seven Sister constellation. Renowned violinist/composer Eric Avery will present a new work along with a new work by composer Brenda Gifford. SXS’s International Ambassador Sean O’Boyle AM will present 12 vignettes within a single (1) new work for Didgeridoo and SXS. O’Boyle has collaborated with SXS on this project as the Resident Creative Artist of the Northern Rivers Conservatorium of Music. Two Bitesize events about the didgeridoo and Maps and Journeys will also be held on Saturday August 13 at the Ninbella Gallery, Byron Street, Bangalow. THE ART OF THE DIDGERIDOO 1:40pm – 2:00pm and INSIDE MAPS AND JOURNEYS 2:10-2:45pm. The full ticketed program is on sale now via Ninbella Gallery along with playing host to BMF Bite Size activities will hang a series of paintings by the Possum Nungurrayi family to be featured in the A&I Hall foyer during the festival.

SXS is also proud to announce today the publishing of The Didgeridoo Composer’s Workshop Series which is now live on Youtube.

In collaboration with Chris Williams (didgeridoo), SXS Artist in Residence and Sean O’Boyle AM, SXS filmed a series of composer workshops at the end of 2021. These free online workshops offer composers valuable insights and tools to assist them in understanding the didgeridoo better and tailored information on techniques for composing for the didgeridoo.

The Didgeridoo Composer’s Workshop Series is a first of its kind to provide an ideas place for composers to learn how to compose for didgeridoo but also provides in-depth training about what the didgeridoo can do as a versatile instrument for classical music.

SXS is committed to developing a new canon of works for didgeridoo, three (3) a year, in the lead up to the Brisbane 2032 Summer Olympics – Games of the XXXV Olympiad. Two commissioned pieces, one by Sean O’Boyle AM and one by Leah Curtis have been World Premiered this year by SXS to critical applause at the Concert Hall QPAC. A third world premiere new work by Matthew Dewey will occur in October 2022. The ‘SXS Didgeridoo Commissioning Project’ is a culmination of all of these activities and aims to formalise the past work and to elevate and promote the hybrid musical genre created when combining the ancient art of the didgeridoo and the culture of the world’s oldest civilization with Australian art music.

Announcing the World Premiere Maps and Journeys new works for the 19th BMF and The Didgeridoo Composer’s Workshop Series, Artistic Director Tania Frazer said,

“SXS has a long 27-year history of promoting the inclusion and showcasing of our First Nation’s arts practices. We are deeply committed to presenting new Australian works with a distinctly Australian sound. We are very excited to be world premiering First Nations’ new works in our Maps and Journeys concert which has been a culmination of years of work and collaboration with First Nations’ Artists and astronomer experts. Working with Chris Williams since 2019 along with Sean O’Boyle has been incredibly exciting and we are thrilled to generate this important educational didgeridoo workshop series for composers to consider this ancient, versatile, and uniquely Australian instrument.”

MAPS AND JOURNEYS: THE WORLD’S FIRST ASTRONOMERS project is supported by the Australian Government through Festivals Australia.

About Southern Cross Soloists and Bangalow Music Festival:
SXS, entering its 27th year, is a not-for-profit organization and Company-in-Residence at the prestigious Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC). Synonymous with delivering virtuosic music-making both in Australia and internationally, SXS present the regional annual Bangalow Music Festival (BMF) and the much-loved festival is a calendar highlight for chamber music lovers nationally. Sadly, the 2020 and 2021 editions were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The incredibly successful 18th 2019 BMF was nominated for an AMCOS APRA MUSIC ART AWARD in 2020 for Excellence in a Regional Area and had seven sell-out performances.