CREATIVE FESTIVALS: Events & Forums in Western Sydney

Music Festival Creativity Unlimited 2017

Western Sydney University, Playhouse, 10-11 August 2017

Korean taegŭm sounds of vibrating membrane, of abrasive yet simultaneous curved melodic gentleness, interact with the Punkish gestural noise elements of Australian improvising musicians and transcendent aspirations of sound towards spirit-breath of nature and heaven within contemporary Australian and Japanese composers’ voices in Western Sydney this August. Hwang Byung-ki, a venerable Korean kayageum performer, and scholar talks of music as “something inexplicable subtle that it can only be felt deep in the heart” and “Ak comes down from heaven to stay in the human mind…it touches the heart of everyone with blood in his veins and activates his spirit.”

In this collision of minds, spirits and aesthetics, virtuoso musicians are pushed together with experimental improvisers and composers for an experiment in new unimagined sonic directions. This undulating gentle and cacophonic experiment is stimulated by London-based Korean taegŭm virtuoso Hyelim Kim and Sydney-based percussionist Claire Edwardes interacting with specially commissioned compositions by Western Sydney associated composers Clare Maclean, Diana Blom, Eve Duncan Petar Jovanov, Bruce Crossman, and Japanese composer Koji Nakano as well as three western Sydney improvising bands—Tabua-Harrison, Espadrille Duo, and De Vilder-Graham Duo.

3 Friends: Bruce Crossman, Hyelim Kim & Koji Nakano; Hyelim Kim (taegum) & Claire Edwardes (percussion) in action

Download Brochure: Creativity Unlimited Music Festival 2017 – program

Hyelim Kim interacts with Tabua-Harrison, de Vilder-Graham & Encarnacao-Smyly

(1) Contemporary Improvisation : Traditional Noise & Sonic Punk Improvisation Concert Thursday 12.15-1.15pm, 10th August 2017; Hyelim Kim (taegum), John Encarnacao (prepared guitar), Brendan Smyly (saxophone, electronics), Yantra De Vilder (piano), Jess Graham (violin), Joe Tabua (electric guitar) & Holly Harrison (drums)

(2) Contemporary Classical Composition: Traditional Noise & Contemporary Spirit Concert Friday 11 August, 12-1pm, Playhouse, Western Sydney University; Hyelim Kim (taegum) & Claire Edwardes (percussion)


Poetic Energies Across Sonic Space, Australia-China Institute for Arts and Culture

Western Sydney University, Playhouse & Studio, Penrith Campus (Kingswood), 20 July 2017

The most important consideration in the technique of performance then, is not the question of finger dexterity or any other technical aspect, but the question of how qi is manipulated. Qi in musical performance entails breathing, and breathing is essential in shaping the line. Therefore, good manipulation of qi will bring about smooth incorporation of breathing with phrasing and shaping of the line. Qi is the creative force that begins, sustains and completes a work of art, without which there is no life. It forms the root for yun, which is the felicitous expression of qi.  (Ho 1997, p.38)

Poetic Energies Across Sonic Space explored the Chinese cross-artform attitude of the Chinese literati towards artistic creation and scholarship to express the dynamic relationship between Australia and China within contemporary Australia. Venerable ethnomusicological scholar Edward Ho in “Aesthetic considerations in understanding Chinese literati musical behaviour” (Ho 1997, British Journal of Ethnomusicology) notes this confluence of creative philosophy across artforms. This interaction of energies across artforms were the basis of this interaction between poets, calligraphers and visual artists/photographers, musicians and composers in poetically inspired visuals interacting with sound. An informal round table with artists and scholars contextualized and explored the multi-artform creativity.

Multi-artform Interactions: Ying Liu (erhu), Bruce Crossman (composer) & Shen Wednesday (calligrapher/painter)

It consisted of two multi-dimensional creative concerts and symposium: firstly, a public concert for the evening at Kingswood; secondly, an on-campus concert at lunchtime at Kingswood; and thirdly an informal artists discussion. Firstly, there was “Poetic Energies Across Sonic Space” as the evening concert with respected Sydney erhu performer Liu Ying, leading Australian new music percussionist Claire Edwardes, international guzheng player from the cutting edge Hong Kong New Music Ensemble, Chiu Tan Ching, and leading Australian qin performer Tony Wheeler with iconic blues guitarist Dom Turner (Backsliders). They interacted with visual media from respected Australian photographer Dr David Cubby, calligraphers/ painters from the Sydney Chinese community, such as Luping Zeng and Shen Wednesday, as well as British-Australian artist Jo Davis. This concert will seek to involve multiples disciplines from the School of Humanities and Communication Arts and beyond, including poet Dr Kate Fagan, playwright Dr David Wright, and Music area composers/sound artists Dr Clare Maclean, Dr Ian Stevenson, Dr Holly Harrison and Associate Professor Bruce Crossman.

Poetic-Visual-Improvisation Collisions: Chiu Tanching (guzheng), Dom Turner (guitar), Tabu-Harrison (electric guitar, drums), John Encarncao (guitar)

Download Brochure: Poetic Energies Brochure

Download Program: Final Program Poetic Energies

(1) Poetic Energies Across Sonic Space: Guzheng Collaborations: Chiu Tan Ching (guzheng), John Encarnacao (guitar), Joseph Tabua (electric guitar), Dom Turner (electric guitar), Holly Harrison (drums) & Jessica Graham (amplified violin), David Cubby (film) & Elisabeth Bodey (visual artist);  Thursday, 1-2pm, 20th July 2017, Penrith Campus, Kingswood, Western Sydney University

(2) Poetic Energies Across Sonic Space: Erhu, Qin, Guzheng, Guitar & Percussion: Liu Ying (erhu), Chiu Tan Ching (guzheng), Claire Edwardes (percussion), Tony Wheeler (qin), Dom Turner (electric guitar), Shen Wednesday (calligrapher), Luping Zeng (calligrapher/Peking Opera singer) & Kate Fagan (reciter); Thursday, 7-9pm, 20th July 2017, Penrith Campus, Kingswood, Western Sydney University


Music Festival Creativity Unlimited 2016: Energizing Silence

Western Sydney University, 1-2 September

The festival seeks to immerse our students and the community in a broad ranging music making: from free improvisation and Indie rock, through to cutting edge contemporary classical sounds, and live-digital visuals and filmmaking. The objective is the creative exploration of energizing-silence—the energizing of silence, or near inaudibility, or visual stasis, with frenetic explosions of sonic and visual energy in such a way that the silence or stasis is imbued with the possibility of the emergence of a ‘something.’

Hisatome Tomoyuki (Japan) Bruce Crossman (Australia) Kobayashi Akira (Japan)
Bruce Crossman, Michael Kieran Harvey & Tim Phillips (photos: Petar Jovanov)
Michael Kieran Harvey & Tim Phillips in action in Fragrant Rain Clouds of Love

Download Gala Programs: Music Festival details (Playhouse concerts)


Creative Explosion in the West: Creative Arts Festival

University of Western Sydney, 15-23 October 2009 with Ensemble Offspring

Bruce Crossman teaching 7

CE overveiwDownload Brochure: Creative Explosion

Bruce Crossman teaching 6 copy

The creative aesthetic behind this project was to have a strong intercultural focus featuring Asia-Pacific traditions of Korean samulnori drumming, Filipino kulintang, Japanese shakuhachi ‘moment’ aesthetic and East Asian string techniques (Korea, Japan, China) interacting with contemporary music. These musical aesthetics were contextualized by poetry readings and improvisation, a series of intercultural ethnographical films, and panel and forum presentations. The festival featured concerts by Ensemble Offspring with UWS staff and postgraduate students with Workshops, Panels and Forums, which included two invited speakers, percussionist Claire Edwardes and composer Damien Ricketson.

Publication: Creative Explosion CD (Wirripang)

Creative Explosion CD


Music of the Spirit Project, Aurora Festival 2008 

in collaboration with director Matthew Hindson; Riverside Theatres; Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre Campbelltown Arts Centre

Chinary Ung, Ross Edwards, Anne Boyd, Roger Dean

Bruce Crossman teaching 1

Aurora 08 concert education

The purpose of this Asia-Pacific investigation—a collection of reflective and analytical writings drawn from a series of concerts and workshops—was to explore music with a spiritual basis from around the Pacific basin related to Western art-music composing, discussing its sources and methods towards identifying an Asia-Pacific musical identity within the Western art-music tradition. This emergent Pacific musical identity can be viewed as something outside mere insider/outsider paradigms to instead be a complex fusion of traditional Asian and Pacific cultural values alongside transported European-originated ideas. Perhaps this complex mix of Asian-Pacific values and European-Pacific migration pattern influences can be seen as a value system in itself that centres around place—the Pacific. In a nutshell, this Pacific voice could be defined as having three essential essences: un-dampened resonance, eclectic attitude, and metaphysical time related to the Pacific.

Publications: Music of the Spirit CD (Wirripang); Music of the Spirit: Asian-Pacific Musical Identity book (Australian Music Centre)

MOS CD Book_08


The Intercultural Event, Aurora Festival 2006 

in collaboration with director Matthew Hindson, Riverside Theatres, Anne Boyd, Ross Edwards, Stuart Greenbaum

Bruce Crossman teaching 5 copy

Aurora 06 conference concert

These events took place in the prestigious Riverside Theatres complex within the Lennox Theatre, Riverside Theatres in the heart of the heart of the Western Sydney area, Parramatta. The forum featured Stuart Greenbaum, Anne Boyd, Michael Atherton and Bruce Crossman. It included creative process exchanges between the composers and featured improvisations such as Greenbaum’s jazz, Atherton and Crossman’s cross-cultural collaboration, and Boyd’s provocative meditative silence. In the Intercultural Concert, ancient musical traditions were presented such as Korean Samulnori from the Korean Catholic community, Filipino chant in the Tagalog language, Gregorian chant from the Sydney Chamber Choir and Jewish Synagogue chanting from a former cantor at the Sydney Synagogue. These traditional musical examples lead into contemporary Australian music influenced by these traditions and the interaction between jazz and classical music. Sally Macarthur and Bruce Crossman convened the accompanying conference from the University of Western Sydney.

Publications: Jo-Wha CD (Wirripang); Intercultural Music: Creation and Interpretation book (Australian Music Centre)

Intercultural CD Book_06


Intercultural Creativity: Asian-American-Australian Sound-Dance and Multi-media Connections

University of Western Sydney, 2004


Hi Kyung Kim (USA), Andrew Imbrie (USA), Chan Hae Lee (Korea), Merlinda Bobis (Philippines/Australia), Kim Jeong-Seoung (Korea), John Sackett (USA), Jean-Michel Fonteneau (USA), William Winant (USA), Ji Aeri (Korea), Ensemble Parallale/Nicole Paiement (USA), Aeju Lee (Korean National Intangible Treasure in Buddhist Dance)



War, Creativity and Communication: An Australian Perspective on East Timor

University of Western Sydney, 2003 with Charisma

Anne Boyd, Andrew Ford, Michael Atherton, Ros Dunlop, Martin Wesley-Smith