Sound from the Ground

Research output: Non-traditional research outputPerformancepeer-review

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The East Perth Cemeteries are one of WA’s most important heritage sites, representing the lives of 10,000 early settlers. Previously examined by few other than genealogical researchers, Sound from the Ground (hereafter SftG) told the stories of the Swan River Colony through musical narrative, and attracted new audiences to this culturally significant location.

SftG represents an innovative approach to heritage interpretation in its use of music performance and accompanying program notes as a primary method of communication. The project included the commission and world premiere performance of an eight movement, twenty minute work entitled Stone, Shell, Bone and Feather, as well as seven new musical arrangements. Compositions by early WA settlers were re-discovered, arranged and performed again for first time in over 150 years.

The result of a year long residency at the National Trust of WA, SftG culminated in two sold out performances at the East Perth Cemeteries which were professionally recorded and are viewable online. The project won the 2017 Museums and Galleries National Award (MAGNA) for Interpretation, Learning & Audience Engagement, and was a finalist for the 2017 WA State Heritage Award (Interpretation). MANGA judges hailed SftG as “A complex and multi-layered project which unearths much early WA colonial history through the gravesites. The innovation displayed by the musicians in undertaking research, composing music, threading old musical scores and then producing a quality performance night shows a commitment to excellence and innovation.”

Funded by a grant from the Department of Culture and the Arts ($25,000)
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 29 Apr 2016


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