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

April 2023
'Rock/Paper/Scissors' - first performance of a radical new interface between violin improvisation, composition, orchestra, and conductor. Highlights here.
KNM, Berlin
March 2023
'Beak' - Kronos Quartet plays the world premiere, a composition based on the song of a Pied Butcherbird by Jon Rose and Hollis Taylor.
Adelaide Festival
March 2024
'Night Songs' celebrates an interspecies multi-media engagement between the ancient music of a uniquely Australian songbird - Cracticus nigrogularis (the Pied Butcherbird) and Australia's premiere new music group Ensemble Offspring. Documentation here.
The Adelaide Festival
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