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Southern Cross Soloists respectfully acknowledge the Traditional Custodians & First Nation owners of the land on which we work. We pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We also recognise those whose ongoing effort to protect and promote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures will leave a lasting legacy for future Elders and leaders.

About
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Southern Cross Soloists is committed to cultivating a 21st century musical ecosystem that explores cultural responsiveness and expression through commissioning and performing works of Australian composers, whilst providing audiences with a broader menu of cultural offerings.

 

One aspect of this commitment is nurturing First Nation's representation in our arts practices to promote cultural understanding. Our renewed focus for 2022-2032 is to respond to this commitment by creating the SXS Didgeridoo Commissioning Project' a legacy of new Australian works for didgeridoo and small ensemble with our Artist in Residence, Wakka Wakka didgeridoo soloist Chris Williams.

 

Having appointed Chris as our permanent Artist in Residence in late 2019, SXS is excited to be evolving into a completely new artistic space to create our own unique hybrid music. Chris is unique as a musician as he has worked extensively as a professional trumpet player in the customary classical music space, from orchestra to solo, including with leading orchestras in London, Europe and across Australia, and in the jazz genre. SXS is committed to to establishing a valuable legacy of new works for didgeridoo over the next 10 years, with the aim to create a substantial new canon of works by the time Brisbane takes to the world stage with the 2032 Olympics.

Didgeridoo Commissioning Project Executive Advisory Committee

Chair & Creative Director

Chris Williams

Cultural Advisor & Mentor

Uncle Kevin Williams (Wakka Wakka / Gunggari Elder)

International Ambassador

Sean O'Boyle AM

Artistic Director

Tania Frazer

PRESS

+ ABC TV NEWS BREAKFAST

+ CHANNEL 10 NEWS

+ NATIONAL INDIGENOUS TELEVISION (NITV)

+ 4MBS CLASSIC FM 103.7

 

Southern Cross Soloists Artistic Director Tania Frazer (oboe) and 2022 Artist in Residence Chris Williams (didgeridoo) discuss the SXS Didgeridoo Commissioning Project with Peter McCahon on 4MBS Classic FM 103.7.

+ LIMELIGHT MAGAZINE

Southern Cross Soloists is creating a new canon of works for didgeridoo

Ahead of the SXS 2022 season launch, Tania Frazer and Chris Williams talk about commissioning works for didgeridoo and chamber ensemble, and teaching composers how to write for the instrument.

by Hugh Robertson on 11 February, 2022

READ MORE >

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+ ABC RADIO NATIONAL

 

Chris Williams, didgeridoo artist in residence, Southern Cross Soloists
Tania Frazer, oboist and Creative Director, Southern Cross Soloists
Sean O' Boyle, composer discuss the
SXS Didgeridoo Commissioning Project with On RN Breakfast with Patricia Karvelas.

22 February, 2022

LISTEN >

+ ABC RADIO EVENINGS

 

Composer Sean O’Boyle interview with Kelly Higgins Devine for ABC Radio Evenings.

10 February, 2022

+ Q Weekend

'Ridgy didge'

Phil Brown talks to Chris Williams and Tania Frazer about the Didgeridoo Commissioning Project. 

Brown highlights the process of the writing is not being an 'afterthought', it's a core part of the composition process from the beginning. 

by Phil Brown on 4 June, 2022

+ LIMELIGHT MAGAZINE

World Premiere: Leah Curtis's The Ground

 

Leah Curtis tells us about her new work The Ground in preparation for the upcoming concert 'A Moment in Time'. 

by Leah Curtis on 8 June, 2022

 

READ MORE >

+ THE AUSTRALIAN

Spotlight on Leah Curtis

 

Leah Curtis has her say on the process of writing for the concert 'A Moment in Time'. 

by Bridget Cormack on 10 June, 2022

 

READ THE ARTICLE >

+ CUTCOMMON 

You can now learn how to compose for didgeridoo!

 

Didgeridoo player Chris Williams talks about the world-first series! 

by Stephanie Eslake on 2 August, 2022

 

READ THE ARTICLE >

+ Weekend Notes - Melbourne 

Southern Cross Soloists - Maps and Journeys

 

Maps and Journeys: The World's First Astronomers tours to Sunshine Coast for a school show with 276 school students. After this, the production flew down to Melbourne for a performance as well. 

Read the review from the Melbourne show below!

by Weekend Notes on 8 February, 2023

 

READ THE ARTICLE >

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+ MEDIA RELEASE

Free online composer's workshop series for the Didgeridoo

 

A YouTube series in which composers can learn more about composing for the didgeridoo.

by SXS on 25 July, 2022

 

READ THE MEDIA RELEASE >

WATCH THE WORKSHOP SERIES >

+ QPAC

How to write for the didgeridoo

 

Wakka Wakka decendant, Chris Williams, talks about writing for the didgeridoo in a workshop hosted at QPAC for young composers. 

This project is part of the Education strand (Tier 2) of the DCP.  

by QPAC on 28th September, 2022

 

READ THE POST>

+ Annoucement: Wakka Wakka Soprano joins SXS

Margaret Schindler Vocal Scholarship 2023

Nina Korbe

READ THE BLOG>

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Chis Williams
Press

INTRODUCING

CHRIS WILLIAMS, DIDGERIDOO
SXS ARTIST IN RESIDENCE

 

Kay Feeney & Christine Dauber Chair
 

A descendant of the Wakka Wakka people from Queensland, Australia, Didgeridoo player Chris Williams, began his music studies from an early age. He studied Classical Trumpet at the Queensland Conservatorium of Music and also earned a Masters degree in Classical Trumpet Performance at the Royal College of Music in London.


Chris has appeared as guest principal trumpet with the Hong Kong Sinfonietta, the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, the Queensland Symphony Orchestra and the Queensland Pops Orchestra and the Australian Youth Orchestra. He was nominated for the Australian Freedman Fellowship Award for Jazz and for the Australian Young
Achiever Award twice. Currently Artist in Residence with the Southern Cross Soloists, Chris is regarded as one of Australia’s leading Didgeridoo soloists. As a Didgeridoo soloist, Chris has performed extensively throughout Africa and Europe. 

 

Solo Didgeridoo performance highlights include Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, Israel, the Vatican and Didgeridoo Concerto with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra. From 2022, in partnership with the Southern Cross Soloists, Chris has embarked on an ambitious project to collaborate with established composers to commission 3 new works for didgeridoo and classical music ensemble every year for the next 10 years.
A number of works so far in the “Didgeridoo Commissioning Project” have been nominated for APRA AMCOS Awards. Current and previous composers include Sean O’Boyle, John Rotar, Leah Curtis, Joe Twist, Matthew Dewey, and James Morrison.


He lives on the beautiful Sunshine Coast/Gubbi Gubbi country with his family.

VISIT CHRIS WILLIAMS' WEBSITE >

INTRODUCING

CHRIS WILLIAMS, DIDGERIDOO
SXS ARTIST IN RESIDENCE

Chair Sponsor:

Michelle May, Kay Feeney & Christine Dauber

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Photo: Giselle Images

COMPOSER WORKSHOPS &

EDUCATION RESOURCES

 

+ Chris Williams

+ Sean O'Boyle

+ Southern Cross Soloists

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Currently, SXS are developing a digital guide for composers writing for didgeridoo, developed in collaboration with Chris Williams, composer

Sean O'Boyle and Southern Cross Soloists.

 

Through the collaborative nature of the SXS Didgeridoo Commissioning Project, we are aiming to encourage more composers to write works for didgeridoo. As such, throughout the creative process, SXS will host open workshops for composers to offer insights into the use of the didgeridoo, and all new works will be performed extensively as part of SXS touring programs.

The SXS Didgeridoo Commissioning Project greatly enhances SXS's scope to make a tangible contribution to the Australian art music canon, through promoting cross cultural genres in chamber music. The outcomes of the project will include increased cultural learnings across broad generational demographics which provide unique experiences for both audiences and the artists.

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Photos: Maxine Williamson

Education

SXS TALKS:
CHRIS WILLIAMS AND
SEAN O'BOYLE

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SXS sits down with composer Sean O’Boyle and Artist In Residence Chris Williams to discuss the Concerto for Didgeridoo by Sean O’Boyle/William Barton.

The innovative combination of the didgeridoo–an ancient musical voice of Indigenous Australia–with the traditional European classical orchestra has become somewhat of an iconic medium. Born out of a collaboration between maestro William Barton and the composer, the Concerto for Didgeridoo by Sean O’Boyle and William Barton sits among a body of wonderfully unconventional compositions by leading Australian composers. After its conception, O’Boyle’s concerto soon earned a permanent place in the Australian classical repertoire; ranking #32 in ABC Classic FM’s “The Classic 100 Concertos” and ranked #87 in the 2011 ABC Classic 100 “20th Century”.

How did you approach the cultural assimilation of western classical music and Australia’s First Nations People?

SOB: I looked at it from the viewpoint that the comparatively young western classical tradition could meld with the ancient didgeridoo tradition. We chose the themes of "Earth", "Wind", "Water" and "Fire". There is also extensive use of a bullroarer and clapsticks. The didgeridoo was treated as an improvising instrument and this gave enormous scope to the work.

On the whole, how does the musical assimilation of western classical music with musical traditions belonging to Australia’s First Nations People sit with you? Are there successful examples of this? Where does the concerto fit in this narrative?

CW: For me, the Didgeridoo is about storytelling and communicating the heart and voice of a people, groups and places. We have a distinct shared history in Australia, with an understanding of the past and present, with a view towards a reconciled future. This idea can be given a powerful voice through musical collaborations like these. Both art forms are dear to my heart. In a lot of ways, I think the merging of the two reflect the world we live in today.

 

READ THE FULL INTERVIEW ON THE SXS BLOG >

PERFORMANCE HISTORY

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Photo courtesy of Melbourne Digital Concert Hall

Since our first collaboration with William Barton in 2008, Southern Cross Soloists has pioneered a growing repertoire of cross-collaborative works that feature didgeridoo soloist. 

* Note, all compositions listed below have been co-composed with Chris Williams

James Morrison AM – Co-incidience
for mixed chamber ensemble and didgeridoo soloist

Sunday June 18, 2023

From the Heartland: Vienna to Budapest, QPAC Concert Hall

Chris Williams, didgeridoo

World Premiere performance

 

Sean O'Boyle AM – The Wise Woman
for mixed chamber ensemble and didgeridoo soloist

Saturday 10th June, 2023

Earth and Sky - Sunshine Coast Chamber Music Festival, Beerwah Community Hall

Chris Williams, didgeridoo

World Premiere performance

Maps and Journeys: The World's First Astronomers

Production for mixed chamber ensemble, didgeridoo soloists, actor and dancer

Cultural Knowledge: Paula Nazarski

Preparation: Tania Frazer, Sean O'Boyle AM, Suzanne Kompass and Paula Nazarski

Music: Sean O'Boyle AM, Eric Avery, Brenda Gifford and Ross Edwards

Thursday August 11, 2022

Schools Concert - Bangalow Music Festival, A&I Hall

Selections from the Production

Saturday August 13, 2022

Bangalow Music Festival, A&I Hall

World Premiere Performance

Tuesday August 7, 2023

Schools Concert, Immanuel Lutheran College - Buderim

Wednesday August 8, 2023

Horizon, Melbourne Recital Centre - Elizabeth Murdoch Hall

Matthew Dewey – Kunanyi Skies

for mixed chamber ensemble and didgeridoo soloist

Sunday October 2, 2022

A Moment in Time, QPAC Concert Hall

Chris Williams, didgeridoo

World Premiere performance

Leah Curtis – The Ground

for mixed chamber ensemble and didgeridoo soloist

Sunday June 19, 2022

A Moment in Time, QPAC Concert Hall

Chris Williams, didgeridoo

World Premiere performance

Sean O’Boyle – ‘Beerwah’ The Mother of the Glasshouse Mountains

for mixed chamber ensemble and didgeridoo soloist

Sunday February 20, 2022

Fireworks and Fury, QPAC Concert Hall

Chris Williams, didgeridoo

World Premiere performance

Saturday 10th June, 2023

Earth and Sky - Sunshine Coast Chamber Music Festival, Beerwah Community Hall

Chris Williams, didgeridoo


Joe Twist – The Ancient Rainforest

for mixed chamber ensemble and didgeridoo soloist

Sunday September 5, 2021

Dreams and Visions, QPAC Concert Hall

Chris Williams, didgeridoo

World Premiere performance

Sean O’Boyle/William Barton – Didgeridoo Concerto

for mixed chamber ensemble and didgeridoo soloist

Thursday July 22, 2021

Brisbane Gala, Melbourne Digital Concert Hall

Chris Williams, didgeridoo

Wednesday November 18, 2020

Dusk Recitals; Chris Williams in Concert with Southern Cross Soloists

Bleach* Festival, Burleigh Hub, Gold Coast

Chris Williams, didgeridoo

Sunday October 18, 2020

SXS Returns, QPAC Concert Hall

Chris Williams, didgeridoo

Saturday 10th June, 2023

Earth and Sky - Sunshine Coast Chamber Music Festival, Beerwah Community Hall

Chris Williams, didgeridoo

 

John Rotar – Ginan: Songs of Knowledge

for mixed chamber ensemble and didgeridoo soloist

 

Sunday July 21, 2019

Maps and Journeys, QPAC Concert Hall

Chris Williams, didgeridoo

William Barton – Square Circles Beneath the Sand

for mixed chamber ensemble and didgeridoo soloist

Saturday August 19, 2017

Concert Five ‘Spirit of the People’, Bangalow A&I Hall

Annual Bangalow Music Festival 2017

William Barton, didgeridoo soloist

Joe Twist/William Barton – Bangalow Dreamsong

for mixed chamber ensemble and didgeridoo soloist

 

Featuring William Barton in collaboration with Southern Cross Soloists and community choirs from the Northern Rivers region

Saturday August 19, 2017

Festival Prelude, Bangalow A&I Hall

 2017 Annual Bangalow Music Festival

World Premiere performance

William Barton, didgeridoo/voice soloist

William Barton – I dream of sacred? I am my dream

for soprano, didgeridoo and mixed chamber ensemble

    

Recorded for ABC Classics

William Barton

Kalkadungu: Music for Didgeridoo and Orchestra

YouTube >   Spotify >

Australian Music Centre >

Tuesday August 4, 2009

Cocktail Chat with Piers Lane, Jupiters Townsville

2009 Australian Festival of Chamber Music

William Barton, didgeridoo soloist

Wednesday August 27, 2008

State Library of Queensland, Brisbane

World Premiere performance

 William Barton, didgeridoo soloist

Performance History
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