I think classical and art music can help in giving voice to our languages and continue our culture in a contemporary setting.

Brenda Gifford, composer

Program note
BRENDA GIFFORD
MIRIWA (SKY)

The piece Miriwa (sky in Dhurga language) is about the Sky and its beauty, and its relationship to country.

© Brenda Gifford

COMPOSER Q&A

The CSO is delighted to present two works by local composer Brenda Gifford in the 2021 Australian Series, curated by Prof Deborah Cheetham AO.

In this short interview, Brenda talks to the CSO about the Canberra arts scene and the intersection of music and other disciplines.

What role do you see for classical and art music in preserving language and culture?

Brenda Gifford: My piece Miriwa (Sky) is in the Dhurga language of the Yuin people. I think classical and art music can help in giving voice to our languages and continue our culture in a contemporary setting.

Miriwa will be performed in a concert titled ‘Sharing the Sky’. What ideas or emotions does this evoke for you?

BG: The theme of “Sharing the Sky” is great; it’s inspiring as an element. The sky is endless and beautiful, and it can be dark, ominous and brooding.

You’re an educator, saxophonist and composer. How do these disciplines intersect and inform your music?

BG: These disciplines intersect because culture is music, culture is dance and art is culture. Culture is at the core of what I do and my arts practice as an educator, saxophonist and composer.

What do you value most about the arts community in Canberra?

BG: I like the Canberra arts community because there’s so much diversity and a lot happening. There’s a great orchestra, the. national institutions are unique and there are community groups, for example, Us Mob writing group (of which I am a member) and the Ngurra Burria, hosted by ANU (of which I am a former participant).

There are many opportunities to express yourself as an artist. I see the Canberra arts scene growing and maturing into the future.

Image: Marissa Mcdowell

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