Wednesday, 28 November 2012

25 years of new music


For the past 25 years Tura New Music have been making it their business to turn WA into a hotbed of new music activity. This weekend they celebrate with a series of concerts featuring among others Perth artist Kynan Tan. Tan was born a year after Tura began in 1987 (as Evos music) and is part of the new generation of artists who with the support of Tura are exposing WA audiences to new possibilities in music and sound.
 
Kynan Tan, photo courtesy Brad Serls.

On Saturday night Tan will perform his laptop piece Multiplicity in a concert alongside Melbourne computer wizard Robin Fox. Tan is a music technology graduate (the new lingo for composer) from the WA Academy of Performing Arts where he was introduced to the interdisciplinary potential of music and visuals. Tan’s decision to focus his practice in this area was cemented by his recent participation in the Australia Council’s JUMP mentorship program with Fox.

“I’ve always been interested in the visual element,” Tan explains. “It’s a natural step with computer technology to change audio signals to visual signals and vice versa. Audiences at concerts are always searching for visual stimulus and this provides a truly immersive effect.”

Tan first saw Fox perform at Tura’s 2007 Totally Huge New Music Festival and was inspired by the way Fox controlled a shimmering green beam of light with the same electrical impulses that were producing the sound. The concert was one of the first Tura events Tan had attended. Three years later Tan was the recipient of the Tura commissioning award and says the organisation has had a huge influence on his development as an artist.

“Receiving the Tura commissioning award forced me to continue to create music after I’d left the university environment. Having someone tell me I was heading in the right direction gave me a huge confidence boost. Tura is a great support, they bring in influential artists like Robin and they provide events where I can showcase what I’m doing.”

Tan is just one of Tura’s success stories in a legacy of music advocacy that has involved countless residencies, tours, festivals and concert series reaching from inner-city Perth to remote regional communities. The networking and stability Tura has provided WA artists as an umbrella organisation has been the envy of the nation.

John Davis, CEO of the Australian Music Centre, shakes his head in bewilderment at how Tura has stayed afloat over the decades. “I don’t know how they do it,” he often says.

 Tura’s celebration concerts continue next week with Decibel ensemble on Monday night, Queensland’s Clocked Out Duo on Wednesday and a jam session on Tuesday at the long-running Club Zho with performances by grassroots artists alongside new music faithfuls Cathie Travers, Lindsay Vickery, Cat Hope and Jonathon Mustard.

Tura Director Tos Mahoney has been cementing the future of Tura with the recent appointment of Annalisa Oxenburgh as general manager and an associate director joining the team in 2014. It’s intriguing to wonder who will be the emerging artists in 25 years and what their music will sound like. No doubt Kynan Tan will still be making music – Tura will make it their business.

See: tura.com.au for more 25th year celebration details


 This article copyright The West Australian 2012.

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