IVORIES IN THE OUTBACK
BBC 2008
Radio inside a Violin: A gift to Jon Rose by the marketing department of WDR Cologne
  • Produced for BBC Radio 3 by Somethin'Else in 2008.
  • Texts were sung up by Neparrnga 'Joe' Gumbula, Djangirrawuy 'Brian' Garawirr'tja, Amanda Stewart, Andrew McLennan, Lorraine Reichard, Jane Ullman, Tony McGregor, Marguerite Pepper, Stephen Crittenden, Manon Winter, Ian Morrison, Roz Bandt, Tony Bond, Mary Healy, and Jon Rose; with original contributions from Ross Bolleter, Albert Fox, John Mcentee, Jim Cotterill, and Dinky the singing dingo.
  • Keyboard parts played by Jon Rose; special guest Hollis Taylor.
  • Produced, written, composed, recorded and mixed by Jon Rose.
  • Special thanks to the ABC, John Whiteoak, and Alison Rabinovici.

Australia's very first piano was dumped on the beach at Sydney cove in 1788; it belonged to Surgeon George Worgan who, along with a few thousand convicts and soldiers, was part of the First Fleet from England. The piano was not just a status symbol, it would become an important means by which social cohesion was maintained by an insecure and fearful immigrant population in the face of a perceived hostile wilderness.

This radiophonic work is a sonic and dramatic survey of the pianos and organs of colonial Australia, sent via bullock dray or camel to the outback - based on documents and the imagination. This is a story of physical and climatic hardships for both instruments and performers. How did the colonialists view this bastion of western culture up against one of the most extreme environments on the planet? What did the indigenous peoples of Australia think of this artefact of empire as their land was taken from them?

What's New

June 2021
'Figures of Eight' - a work from 1974, updated, and given a thrilling performance by violinist Emma Roijackers.
Haarlem Lichtfabriek, Holland
May 2021
'State of Play' titles my new double album featuring duo improvisations and recent projects with a cast of great collaborators...out now!
ReR Recommended Records, London
September 2021
'Corrugations' heralds a new music series starting in Alice Springs - we just moved into a new house here big enough to hold the Rosenberg Museum and performances.
Alice Springs, Northern Territory, Australia
May - October 2021
'Whistling in the Dark' embraces a set of duets between various pied butcherbirds (from field recordings in outback Australia) and virtuosic human musicians (in home lockdown) performing transcriptions of this extraordinary avian music.
On Line Project available September
September 2021 - delayed Premiere
Jon is currently composing 'Mendel's Mix' - A commission for Brno Contemporary Orchestra. The work is inspired by the 'father' of genetics, Johann Gregor Mendel, and based on the structure of DNA
Brno, Czech Republic
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