The electric guitar has historically been associated with popular music, and only in recent decades has slowly begun to gain acceptance among composers of contemporary western art music. In contrast to more established “classical” instruments with a long history of performance practice, there remains uncertainty as to how to best utilise the electric guitar in a western art context, and many composers remain reluctant to write for the instrument.
Through a series of world premiere and Australian premiere performances over a two year period, this portfolio explores the ways in which composers of contemporary western art music approach the electric guitar in both solo and chamber settings. The works range from “traditional” concerti to experimental multimedia compositions, and reflect the broad range of aesthetics and approaches in new guitar music. Of particular note are the innovative combinations of instrumentation and electronics in the works by Cerrone and Kington-Walberg, and particularly the audio-reactive visual automation which pushes the boundaries of parametric mapping in the multimedia works by Arul and Björnsson.
4 March 2020 - “Guitarscapes”
Australian premiere performance of “Double Happiness” by Christopher Cerrone and “You Broke It, You Bought It” for percussion, electric guitar and electronics
26 March 2021- Lecture-Recital: “The intersection of light and sound: an examination of compositional approaches in multimedia works for electric guitar and visual projections”
World premiere performance (online) of two new multimedia works by Victor Arul and Gulli Björnsson for solo electric guitar, electronics and visual projections
5 May 2021 - "Band+"
Australian premiere of James Bonney's concerto “Chaos Theory” for electric guitar and wind band with the UWA Wind Orchestra
4 October 2021 - "Ransom Prize Concert"
World premiere of two new works by Moses Kington-Walberg and Brendan Boyle, both written for the unconventional instrumentation of bass clarinet, violin and electric guitar, performed by Ashley Smith, Shaun Lee Chen, and Jonathan Fitzgerald
12 April 2022 - "Guitar Alchemy"
Performance of Gulli Björnsson’s “Svart-Hvít Ský á Himni” for electric guitar, electronics, and audio-reactive visual projections