"Monthly" blog...? HA!

A big, friendly hello to anyone who may be reading this! 

I just wanted to leave a little update here to say that the whole monthly blogging thing didn't really work out heh heh heh. But that's ok! I'm still writing things on the internet from time to time - here is my latest thing - https://www.cutcommonmag.com/rachel-bruerville-on-procrastination-cats-and-australian-music/. Meow. 

The article is about my latest premiere, coming up in LESS THAN TWO WEEKS ARGH, on Friday March 16th. There are fun times ahead for 2018, involving finishing up my honours study, and trying to figure out what the hell to do with my life after that! 

Until next time... whenever that may be...

Rachel 🎶 

 Smiling about the year ahead :) 

Smiling about the year ahead :) 

This blog is brought to you in haiku form... 

August: lost my voice. 

Composing is a struggle

When you cannot sing! 

 This is a very emotional photo of me from the beginning of the month, in sing-y-er times... wah! My voice is coming back, but it's not completely back yet, and it has been over a week! The lyrics I'm singing emotively about here are clearly about me losing my voice and wallowing in self-pity: "While you are away my heart comes undone..."

This is a very emotional photo of me from the beginning of the month, in sing-y-er times... wah! My voice is coming back, but it's not completely back yet, and it has been over a week! The lyrics I'm singing emotively about here are clearly about me losing my voice and wallowing in self-pity: "While you are away my heart comes undone..."

 Trying to compose... with a helper. 

Trying to compose... with a helper. 

IMG_1415.JPG

JULY BLOG! Home, glorious home. How lucky I am to have a home.

As I sit down to write this blog, I’m listening to a beautiful album: A Feather on the Breath of God: Sequences and Hymns by Abbess Hildegard of Bingen, by Gothic Voices featuring soprano Emma Kirkby, originally released (on vinyl!) in 1982. Amazing. Listen to it! Despite being an atheist, I love Hildegard. She represents to me a Fuck You to conservative wankers who think that women haven't been involved in composition throughout history. The album is serving as inspiration for my upcoming new work for the Adelaide Wind Orchestra, to be performed in December! More on that in a later post, when more of the piece has actually been written eh heh heh heh… 

The major thing that’s happened since writing my last blog is that I’M HOME FROM TOUR!!! I have been home for about 2.5 weeks now, but I still don’t feel like I’m completely here… and I am wondering when I will begin to feel grounded again. I’d love to hear from anyone who has had similar feelings, and who can perhaps describe these feelings in words that are less vague than mine. I will say that these two are helping me a lot! 

 The loves of my life, in order from left to right.

The loves of my life, in order from left to right.

Since coming home, I’ve also had my first week of honours study. As I said in a Facebook post before beginning my study, I am still having some mixed feelings, but overwhelmingly the week has been a positive experience, mainly thanks to my brilliant supervisor, thank you, Anne! I’m so glad our institution has someone like you, who is connected to the real world and not wrapped up in wankademia! Another brilliant discovery is illustrated in the photo below - as seen in my head of composition’s office - ha! Hufflepuffs, UNITE!

Another thing that is making me feel at home is being back at choir!!! Thank you, Adelaide Chamber Singers - after about 7 months of NO CHOIR, my choir-nerd heart is full once more. I am also singing with a great octet of friends in a concert of Icelandic vocal music this coming Friday, August 4 - Midnight Sun, presented by Elephant in the Room Productions, as well as singing and cello-ing in my fabulous Adelaide composer colleague Jodie O’Regan’s concert of original vocal work on Sunday, August 13 (Jodie also features in Midnight Sun!). There are 2 performances: one in town and one in the hills - And In The Centre We Dance - it’s going to be beautiful.

Finally, now that I’m back, I’m looking forward to the new work that my band, Minority Tradition, will be doing. I would like to mention here that my brother-in-law, Mason, who is our lead singer, has moved back to Adelaide this year after living in Melbourne for 3 years. That's right. BACK to Adelaide! Because the community here is THE BEST!

We’re confirmed to be playing at the Adelaide Vegan Festival on the last weekend of October! I will leave you with a QUALITY RECORDING (hahaha... see my first blog about recordings) of the band's first read of the first phrase of a new arrangement of one of my SSAA choral pieces. Hear this new version first at vegan fest - mezzo-bari-bari!! We will have worked to improve on our terrible AUSSIE VOWEL SHAPES by then... oh yeaahhhhhh :) 

Music and life, life and music. Music IS life!

For both myself to keep track of my music (and my life), and for you, dear readers, wherever and whoever you may be… I have decided to start properly doing this blog thing. Now! It turns out that I haven’t written a proper blog post in over a year! My aim is to do a monthly update on this website from now on (we’ll see how that goes). For now, let’s do a catch up…

A brief summary of 2016: writing music, moving house twice, administration day job struggles, some cello teaching, Adelaide Symphony Orchestra Professional Pathways training program (which was just so great), a prescription for antidepressants, Accompanist’s Guild of SA’s Piano in Chamber Music Composition Competition joint win! Beautiful children’s theatre, an incredible season of National Youth Choir, proofreading Caellyen’s (husband’s) thesis, a really, really shitty Centrelink Newstart Allowance and Job Service Provider experience, Christmas casual retail work at LUSH in Rundle Mall, 3 first prizes at the Australian Society for Music Education’s Young Composers’ Award… HAPPY NEW YEAR! Whoop whoop whoop. :) 

So, 2017! Caellyen passed his thesis and graduated earlier this year with a Bachelor of Social Work, HONOURS! Unfortunately, I missed the chance to attend the big, fancy graduation ceremony with him, as I was on tour at the time with the fabulous company of Emily Loves to Bounce, by Patch Theatre Company. As I write this blog entry, I am still on tour - this incredible national tour is how I have been spending the majority of my time so far this year. We started in March (our first stop was Alice Springs) and have been touring on and off since then. We’ve been bloody everywhere, it’s been incredible! From Townsville, to WA, to Hobart… so many beautiful places that I’ve never had the chance to visit before now, and so many amazing and well-resourced theatres. Gives me hope!

As amazing as all this touring has been, I am so looking forward to being home in Adelaide for the long term. Moving around the country so much makes me appreciate my home in Adelaide even more than I already did. No moving to Melbourne for me!!! (As so many colleagues and friends seem to have done recently… grr). 

So. I will be back in Adelaide for good on July 13, and then, my big news for this post is that I am beginning my honours year of composition studies at the Elder Conservatorium on July 24!!! The con has undergone quite a few changes in the year and a half I have not been studying there… it will be interesting (to say the least) to observe what the vibe is like now… BUT! The definite positives are that I will be supervised by the brilliant Dr Anne Cawrse, and will be working with the Elder Conservatorium Symphony Orchestra under Dr Luke Dollman to create some FUN, NEW WORK! I’ve got lots of ideas (that need refining…). I promise to tell you more about them at some point, but I will say now that I have been TOTALLY INSPIRED by a recent gig I did with Paul Rissmann and the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra: The Chimpanzees of Happy Town. The best titled family concert ever. 

If you have not heard the name Paul Rissmann before, do yourself a favour and click this link right now! He is one of the kindest, most unpretentious, articulate, approachable and generally brilliant humans I have worked with. I had the privilege of leading the sing along for ‘Happy Town’, while Paul narrated his own work, WITH the freaking ASO, conducted by Graham Abbott - it is so hard to make definitive statements like this… but… I think (?!) it was the best gig of my life so far. WOAH. Here is some photo evidence that it actually happened!

 Paul, I think I love you.

Paul, I think I love you.

I could blabber on about lots of other things right now, but I feel like this post is losing structure already. Since I will be doing the monthly blog post thang, I’ll have plenty more opportunities to blabber on. So thank you, internet, for giving me this opportunity to freely create a public persona which will hopefully result in people becoming interested in what I do, which will hopefully result in meaningful conversations and the making of meaningful art. 

Until next time… :) 

Rachel 

Music degrees, yay!

I have recently found out that I will be accepting my piece of paper in April of this year! But, what does a music degree actually mean to me at this time in my life? 

Being eligible to graduate with a music degree provides me with a feeling of satisfaction and achievement. Oh yes, and I’ve learned lots of things about music and life that are not really quantifiable. And the last three years have mainly been about me thinking CRAP, there is so much to know about and I am never going to be able to know anything…

I think it’s common knowledge that a bachelor of music in composition is a vague thing. Sure, it provides opportunities for postgraduate study in various areas, it can show to employers that you’re committed and “academic”, it proves that you have covered various core topics relating to your specialisation, and can hopefully assure future colleagues that you have a strong knowledge base in your area… but see! Vague! So vague! 

It’s not like I’m now magically qualified to write music. Anyone can write music. 

My aim now is to embrace the uncertainty. What does that actually mean though? Who knows?!

All I do know is that my life will be spent trying to communicate meaningful ideas effectively through music as much as I can, and committing to three years of full time study in this area was something I felt like I had to do, and something that, so very fortunately and luckily, I have had the opportunity to do. 

In the short term, the next four months will be spent:

- Doing some fun Fringe shows - musical theatre and disco, wow, what is not to love? Note: that was not sarcasm. And neither was that! 

- Taking some composition lessons with a fantastic teacher, whose music you should go and look at right now! - http://www.australianmusiccentre.com.au/artist/cawrse-anne 

- Working with Aurora Vocal Ensemble on our new CD(!!!), which features my work!

- Singing with the amazing Adelaide Chamber Singers

- Getting some more of my work recorded - more news on this soon :) 

- Participating in the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra professional pathways program

And probably most significantly… 

- Working a day job in (non-arts) administration for 4 days a week, which takes up a lot of my energy, but is something I’m happy to be doing in the short term to support my husband studying his full time honours year in social work (So proud! So amazing!). 

Then in July, singing for the third year in a row with the National Youth Choir of Australia (yay!), and, the most major arts career related thing that has happened to me so far, starting a contract with Patch Theatre Company!! More on that later in the year :)

Could I be doing all of these things this year without having studied at the Elder Conservatorium? Honestly, no! And I guess that’s my conclusion.

Music degree = yay! 

FIRST BLOG: On professional recording… and a new song for you!

Thank you for visiting my website and for making it this far! I hope that you like what I have to share. Hopefully this blog will allow me to express my ideas about music and life to everyone in a clear, meaningful way.

I would like to use this first blog entry to share a story and a song. Back in July (2015), I applied for some composition work, which involved writing music for a new phone app. Now, I do not want you to think that this story is about me having sour grapes because I was rejected…! I also would like to add that if the person who I sent my application to happens to be reading this, this is not about me having a go at you either.

So, moving on… I was, in fact, rejected. And I got a really nice rejection email! It was a rejection email that was personal and had real feedback!! Exciting times. The email stated that there was nothing wrong with the music I had submitted, but that others who had applied had submitted really professional sounding work. The closing piece of advice was this: “if you can get into the studio and record, your future applications would present much better and the focus can be on the music, not the quality.”

Let’s take the focus away from me and my application; let’s now talk in general about that closing piece of advice. It is saying that if, as a composer, you have a portfolio of professional studio recordings of your work, only then will the people who are reviewing your applications be able to actually focus on the music. That is, if you do not have access to a professional recording studio, your music is essentially meaningless? Perhaps “meaningless” is a bit extreme (OR IS IT?), but the point still stands that if you are unable to professionally record, your music will not be taken seriously. Is this a fact? In all cases?

The fact is that it is classist and unfair to expect everyone to have the resources to make these professional recordings come into existence (especially emerging artists). The question that next comes into my mind is this: is the music industry classist and unfair? Probably. Is society classist and unfair? Probably. 

To finish off this post, I’d love to share this recording with you – it’s a piece I’ve written for SSA choir called ‘The Poppy’, text by Jane Taylor (1783–1824). It’s about the value I place on humility and unpretentiousness. It is here being sung by myself (alto), my mum (soprano 2) and my twin sister (soprano 1), and was recorded in a room with shit acoustics, on an iPhone. I hope you can look past the quality and focus on the music. Is this being overly idealistic? Probably!

Thanks again for reading and listening. Until next time... 

Rachel :)