Welcome to my blog


See the  RECENT  POSTS  listed just over there —>

or just keep scrolling down to see them all.

Please enjoy! And make replies or comments, too.

If you want to forward or use the permanent link for any post here see the  SPECIAL INSTRUCTIONS  at the bottom of this post, or use the sharing buttons at the end of each post.



Main site (many pages): www.mixmargaret.com

Listen free to my music: soundcloud.com/mix-margaret-dylan-jones/sets

YouTube channel: youtube.com/channel/UCz318nZdr520zMNK6GNfnjQ

To buy my music online: shopify-links-for-mdj.html

Facebook (public page): facebook.com/MixMargaretDylanJones

Parkerville Amphitheatre: a brief history 1966-2001, info about a documentary which had its first three public screenings in July 2015, and some myth busting: www.parkerville-amphitheatre.com

This blog: www.mixmargaret.com/blog

Site list if you can’t find something: www.mixmargaret.com/site-list.html

External (off-site) contact form, to send me an email (don’t use FB messages): http://fs20.formsite.com/Margaretand/form209924213/index.html (make sure you type your own email address correctly otherwise I won’t be able to reply).

Mix Margaret Dylan Jones, MusB (UWA), DipEd, LTCL, ATCL, AMusTCL, AMusA.

Pianist, accompanist, composer. Teacher of piano, singing, theory, in the Perth area, Western Australia. Associate Composer, AMC. WWC Check.

Androgyne. Very early adopter of the honorific title Mx (or Mix) in 2002.


The easiest way to share anything here is to click on the sharing links at the end of each post (for Facebook, email, LinkedIn and Google+).

Alternatively, if you want to forward or use the link for any post here in another way, it’s best to use the Permalink, not the category link (because that may change). If in doubt do a right click on the date of that post where it says something like “Posted on which is much better than using this format: “http://mixmargaret.com/blog/category/parkerville-amphitheatre/”

If you forward anything feel free to let me know where you’ve sent it and I’ll probably have a look there, too.

And please feel free to make a comment or follow my blog by becoming a free subscriber.

Music for Renewal of Wedding Vows & Peggie’s Passing

This was my idea of fun: playing my favourite classical music and getting paid for it. I even managed to sneak in a couple of originals, “Puck at Parkerville” and “Rainbows Over Hovea,” which are very bright, bubbly, happy pieces.

MDJ at piano

Me at the piano

A few days ago Kelly & Marcus renewed their wedding vows twelve years into their marriage. This time they had two lovely daughters, Maya and Zoe, to help them with the ceremony.

Marcus renewing his wedding vowsI’ve been teaching piano to Marcus and his daughters so I was very happy to take on the role of pianist for the ceremony.

I hope to do more playing like this. The original intention was to play the repertoire from my 16-month Soul Tree Organic Cafe residency (sadly, that cafe exists no more). However, it quickly became apparent the occasion was more like a party, so much more lively music was called for.

We’d already agreed on a couple of items for special points in the event, being Pachelbel’s Canon in D and Debussy’s Clair de lune, which are not exactly exciting though they are very lovely. So for the rest I played other selections which happened to be in the scores I’d brought with me.

Riverside at Woodbridge Cafè & Restaurant. Above the tables you can see vineyards on the other side of the Swan River.

I was told by several people my playing was “Perfect, like a CD.” I guess ‘perfect’ has become a relative term! It wasn’t quite note perfect but I did play musically.

The happy occasion came just two days after a very sad one. My fiancée, Jenny, said goodbye to her dearly beloved mother at a very moving funeral service attended by a large contingent of family and friends. It was a privilege to make recordings of Clair de lune and Für Elise for Peggie’s service.

One day I must revisit these and many other works and make some serious recordings for my first proper CD. A couple of times Peggie had urged me to record an original item, “Reuben’s Big Day Out,” and send it to former PM Paul Keating, to whom it is dedicated. (Note to self: must get on to that.)

Peggie Nairn was a much-loved lady I only knew for about a year and half, though we did have some long talks. She cared deeply for all her close and extended family and welcomed me into that family right from the start. So thoughtful and always thinking of others. She is sorely missed.

Supporting the Institution of Marriage. A Trans Perspective

Our unusual take on marriage equality for same-sex, transgender and intersex couples in Australia. Jenny and I can and will marry, but many others are simply not allowed to under the current law. See below for lots of links.

Unless the process gets struck down in the High Court on 5th & 6th September 2017, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) will conduct the Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey, using the names & addresses of voters on the electrol roll aged 18 years or older.

Below is the transcript of our Facebook video, made by Jenny and myself.

Jenny & Margaret
From Jenny & Margaret’s YouTube video, with background piano music by Margaret: “Rainbows Over Hovea.”

JEN: Hello. I’m Ms Jenny Nairn.

MDJ: And I’m Mix Margaret Jones.

JEN: My fiancée Margaret is an androgyne. I am a cisgender woman. Margaret and I make a great couple; all my family love her.

MDJ: It is wrong to claim allowing marriage equality for same-sex couples, and trans and intersex people, will erode or somehow damage the institution of marriage. Nothing could be further from the truth.

JEN: This debate is about marriage equality. It’s about two people who want to seal their relationship in marriage, regardless of their gender.

MDJ: In reality the campaign against marriage equality is an attempt to suppress us, to put us back in the bottle and make us invisible again.

JEN: Marriage rates for heterosexual and cisgender people, that is, non-transgender people, have been historically low for decades with fewer couples getting married and divorce rates high. This has had serious effects on families and extended families. I know this for myself as I have been divorced for fourteen years with two young children, and it was difficult! But I’m looking forward to getting married again.

MDJ: Allowing same-sex, transgender and intersex couples to use the civil contract known as marriage will enhance the concept of the family. LGBTI families form in many ways and they include blended families with children from previous relationships. These children should not be denied a happy and secure family life.

[Update:Children of same-sex parents enjoy better levels of health and wellbeing than their peers from traditional family units, new Australian research suggests. In what they described as the largest study of its type in the world, University of Melbourne researchers surveyed 315 same-sex parents and 500 children about their physical health and social wellbeing.” See http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-07-05/children-raised-by-same-sex-couples-healthier-study-finds/5574168 ]

Accepting the reality of our inherent or intrinsic equality as LGBTI people, because despite unequal treatment we are and always have been equal, and allowing us to marry, will surely boost the concept and practice of marriage.

JEN: Marriage, as a social contract pre-dates all modern religions by thousands of years and there is no reason why churches should have any veto over it. They do not have a monopoly on love.

Modern marriage is about love, and nurturing relationships, and I think we can all agree that these are good things. But, until very recent times marriage was not usually about love and caring at all. It was all about protecting women and children as objects owned by men—nothing to do with protecting women and children for their own benefit and nothing to do with loving couples. We want to marry for the modern reasons of love and nurturing.

MDJ: The current marriage law has caused great hardship to many transgender and intersex Australians. Often trans people are required to get divorced in order to change their legally documented sex or gender. Many of us have been forced to divorce our loved ones so we can change our official identification. This is much worse and more frustrating than you might imagine as these identification changes are crucial in many ways to our well-being, and the well-being of our families.

Some intersex Australians have birth certificates which identify their sex as ‘indeterminate,’ rather than as male or female. They may have no disability whatsoever, yet they may not [are not allowed to] marry simply because marriage is still only between a man and a woman.

It’s inappropriate to name a non-binary or enby [N.B.] person like myself as a ‘husband’ or a ‘wife,’ yet that is what the current law requires.

JEN: Some of us will marry in a religious ceremony because some of us are Christian (such as myself), orJewish, Muslim, Hindu or Buddhist and so on. We might even use a church or some other place of worship.

Changing the law to enable marriage equality will help to save the modern social institution of two people in love coming together in a civil legal contract to properly secure the future of themselves and their families.

TOGETHER: Please vote YES
MDJ: for marriage equality in Australia for same-sex, transgender and intersex couples if you want to preserve and strengthen the institution of marriage.

JEN: if you want to support children growing up in loving families with committed parents.

MDJ: if you want all couples and their children to have the same rights to hospital visits, shared taxation, inheritance and many other entitlements.

JEN: When people are treated equally, everyone benefits. Let’s get equality for ALL couples in Australia who want to formally commit to each other.

Thank you.

MDJ: Please check you are registered for the postal vote by 24th of August 2017, and get your ballot posted back well before the 7th of November, that’s the deadline. Please see the links for more information on how to do that and for explanations of the terms we’ve used such as Mx (Mix), androgyne, cisgender, transgender, intersex, enby, and non-binary.


Video written & spoken by Ms Jenny Nairn (cisgender woman) & Mx Margaret D. Jones (non-binary transgender enby/androgyne).

Music: Rainbows Over Hovea © 2016, composed & performed by Margaret D. Jones, MusB(UWA), DipEd, LTCL, ATCL, AMusTCL, AMusA.

Please ensure you are registered for the Australian POSTAL plebiscite by 24 August 2017. To check your enrolment with the AEC, see https://check.aec.gov.au/

Ballot papers will start arriving in the mail from September 12. The postal vote closes 7 November. Please make sure you post it back promptly. Don’t let it gather dust!

To clarify: Although I’m an androgyne and the name on my birth certificate is “Margaret Dylan Jones,” I am legally male. This means Jenny and I can get married whenever we want, which is sadly not the case for so many other LGBTI people.

For links and info about the plebiscite/survey on marriage equality in Australia, and a brief glossary for the terms Mx (Mix), androgyne, cisgender, transgender, intersex, non-binary and enby, see http://mixmargaret.com/links/

See my major article about Mx or Mix, a non-binary transgender honorific title: About Mx, with Miss, Mrs, Mr, Ms, and the singular they

UWA Keyed Up! Day of Piano, & RSI

I went back to my alma mater today to watch UWA Head of Keyboard and Performance Studies, Graeme Gilling, give masterclass tuition in the second annual Keyed Up! Day of Piano.

Graeme Gilling with student

What a great resource this is for piano students and teachers in Perth. Graeme’s many years of experience as a performer and teacher were in evidence as he gave sage advice to students ranging in age from young children through to late teens (and perhaps 20 year olds?), playing pieces from the early grades through to about grade seven or eight and perhaps one from the AMusA.

Topics covered, usually with several students, included voicing, rhythm & beat in mazurkas, balance, articulation, shaping phrases, and playing as if you were singing. Graeme made the point, often completely missed by students and teachers alike, that the only difference between a loud sound and a soft one was the speed with which the key goes down. So true and so counter-intuitive! The difference seems to be beyond human perception and so many people incorrectly think it has something to do with a vague notion about ‘force’ or ‘weight.’

Mx Margaret Dylan Jones

Mx Margaret Dylan Jones, that’s me.

A point made several times was that all pianists need to be careful to avoid getting repetitive strain injury (RSI), a descriptive term for an overuse injury also known as occupational overuse syndrome. While playing with wrists in an unnatural position (such as low, with the hands bent up) is not the only problem it is certainly asking for trouble. I had RSI about five years ago, caused mainly from a faulty piano technique but with poor computer mouse use a contributing factor. Then I discovered a much better technique for piano playing and now I’m practically symptom-free.

I don’t often get down to ‘The Flatlands’ so it was a little nostalgic for me to be in the Callaway Auditorium again. Professor John Exton’s black hemispherical acoustic baffles (diffusors?), installed just before I began studying for my degree there in 1979, are still hanging from the ceiling (see pic below), which no doubt contribute to the venue having such good acoustics. These students were so lucky to play there on a wonderful full-size Steinway grand. What a sound! But I wonder if anyone has thought to check the baffles for dust & dead insects. If they get heavy will they one day come plummeting down?

Callaway Auditorium at the University of Western Australia

Callaway Auditorium at the University of Western Australia

This annual event is highly recommended for all students and teachers. Feel free to comment below.

Marriage equality acceptance rings arrived

We finally received our “Until we all belong” marriage equality acceptance rings from Airbnb.

Until we all belong marriage equality acceptance ring

Until we all belong marriage equality acceptance rings

“This incomplete ring symbolises the gap
in marriage equality that we need to close.

“Until the day comes when two people who love each other can celebrate that love through commitment, will you wear this ring and show your acceptance of marriage equality?”

Airbnb on eBay have been overwhelmed with orders so there was a big delay (two months for us), and somehow we ended up with sizes too small (that’s why they’re on our little fingers). But they’ll do.

Absolutely anyone can wear these rings in support of the LGBTIQ community’s case for marriage equality in Australia. They’re free apart from $3.50 postage each.

Jenny and I will get married whether the law changes or not. Wearing the acceptance rings is our way of showing support for all the many other lesbian, gay, bi, trans, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) folk who don’t have our advantage.


Marriage equality open letter

Jenny & Mix Margaret

My letter to my local Federal Member of Parliament, Mr Ken Wyatt AM, MP, a member of the Liberal Party.

For readers outside of Australia: despite its name the ‘Big L’ Liberal Party is actually the right wing or conservative party, currently ruling Australia under Prime Minister Turnbull.

The letter was sent on 10 July 2017 via this website:
which said “Write your message … and it will be sent to your local MP.” You can do the same!

Dear Ken Wyatt MP

I grew up in Parkerville/Hovea in the 60s and 70s and now live in Sawyers Valley. I’m a well-known and highly respected local classical musician and teacher.

Please ensure any new marriage law covers any two consenting adults, not just opposite sex couples and same sex couples. This way non-binary and intersex people will be able to marry.

At the moment some of us can’t marry, while others can but they will be misgendered. When I marry my fiancé I want to do it right, I don’t want to have completely wrong words in it.

Ken, as a straight non-transgender man, can you imagine getting married as a ‘wife?’ Or getting married to a ‘husband?’ How wrong is that? This is the sort of misgendering which happens under the current law.

Marriage predates Christianity by a long way. For non-believers it is a contract and a powerful emotional commitment, but not a religious rite. Churches should not have power of veto over the Marriage Act; it doesn’t belong to them.

Of course, many same-sex couples and couples where one or both partners are non-binary or intersex are indeed religious. My fiancé is a Christian, while I am an atheist. There is no valid reason why we should be denied equality in the social contract of marriage.

We already know the vast majority of Australians are in favour of marriage equality and would vote in favour of it if a plebiscite were held. Despite this, some MPs have already said a ‘Yes’ vote in a plebiscite won’t make them vote for it in parliament, thus making a mockery of the case for a plebiscite.

Please do not appease the tiny vocal minority who want to delay justice by using a non-binding and expensive plebiscite. They are pushing a religious agenda and playing politics with people’s lives. A plebiscite would cause taxpayer-funded hate and misinformation to invade the Australian media, resulting in great harm to a large number of Australian families.


Mx Margaret D. Jones, androgyne (enby)
Sawyers Valley, Western Australia
Email via www.mixmargaret.com

Hills Choir 30th anniversary concert & party

The Hills Choir Inc. celebrated their 30th anniversary with a lovely concert on 11 December 2016 and a private party a week later.

Jean Bourgault conducted the choir for her final performance (again). Next year the conductor’s role will be taken by the very talented local singer, Storme Reeves.

Sitting in the audience I was privileged to hear a string of wonderful performances by the choir and the long list of guest performers including the student percussion ensemble of Eastern Hills Senior High School in Mount Helena, Western Australia, where the concert was held.

There’s always a bit of nostalgia for me when I listen, play or sing in this wonderful and fairly new auditorium at EHSHS. In the 1970s I was a student there, doing years 8, 9 and 10 before heading ‘down the hill’ to Governor Stirling SHS to do my final two years before university. For years 11 and 12 I needed to change to Govo because Eastern Hills didn’t have a classroom music programme in those days, though in year 8 I did get six months of trumpet lessons in a demountable classroom with Sam Maher (a classmate for that, much better at trumpet than myself, was Phil Bourgault, one of Jean’s sons). Now the school has an amazing specialist music programme (largely developed I suspect by Maurice Bourgault, another son), with the student performers often participating in the choir’s concerts.

Jean Bourgault was the music teacher at the primary school next door. Her husband, Henri, taught me French in Year 8. Jean and Henri were classmates of my late father in teachers’ college (Dad was a mature age student) but I didn’t know this until a few years ago. Small town, Perth, eh?

Jean was never my teacher but I distinctly remember standing by the side of the road outside the schools showing her a small music theory book in which I’d written answers. She had a quick look at it and very politely and tactfully said “You ought to have a theory teacher.” This must have had quite an impact because I subsequently had a lot of theory teachers.

There’s no great review of the concert here from me, really just a few pics for posterity including the printed programme (zoom in to read it). More pics have been put up on a Facebook page.

At the party a week after the concert I had the opportunity to play a couple of original piano compositions which I completed earlier this year. Puck at Parkerville is a playful neo-baroque solo inspired by the mischievous character Puck from Shakespeare’s play A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which was produced in my childhood home, the Parkerville Amphitheatre, in the 1970s.

Rainbows Over Hovea is a moody but ultimately uplifting work inspired by the Jane Brook valley, particularly the lovely areas around the amphitheatre (which, despite its name, is in Hovea) and the John Forrest National Park. Both piano solos will be published soon.


Jean Bourgault conducting the Hills Choir. Eastern Hills Senior High School Auditorium, Mount Helena, Western Australia.


Bassoonist Melissa Mikucki accompanied by Brandon Scherrer.

Hayley Ferris playing Schubert's Impromptu Op. 90, No. 4 (piano solo).

Hayley Ferris playing Schubert’s Impromptu Op. 90, No. 4 in A flat (piano solo).

Storme Reeves singing Have Yourself a Merry Christmas, with Alan Banks

Storme Reeves singing Have Yourself a Merry Christmas, with Alan Banks

Hills Choir concert programme for 11 December 2016.

Hills Choir concert programme for 11 December 2016.

Hills Choir concert programme for 11 December 2016, inside pages.

Hills Choir concert programme for 11 December 2016, inside pages.

Below are pics from the large end-of-year Christmas Party at a private residence in Glen Forrest, 17 December 2016. Many former choir members were able to attend.

Choir history display board One.

Choir history Display Board One.

Chloe Mauger and Display board Two, which she had a big hand in making.

Chloe Mauger and Display Board Two, which she had a big hand in making. I saw myself in some of the pics on this board.

The piano on which I played Puck at Parkerville and Rainbows Over Hovea, plus another Schubert Impromptu (No. 3 in G flat).

Me at the party, sitting at the piano on which I played Puck at Parkerville and Rainbows Over Hovea, plus another Schubert Impromptu (Op. 90 No. 3 in G flat).

For these pics and more see www.facebook.com/MixMargaretDylanJones

See the choir’s own website at www.hillschoir.org.au

Please feel free to make a comment here and/or on Facebook.

Trans talk at Wheatbelt Mental Health

It was a sign of the times that I was invited to give a talk about transgender issues to a group affiliated with WA Country Health Service.

For 80 minutes yesterday I presented an interactive talk to the Consumer Advocacy Group (CAG) within Wheatbelt Mental Health, in Northam.

Mx Margaret Jones & audience

Mx Margaret and the Consumer Advocacy Group at Bridgeley Community Centre, Northam

It is certainly appropriate for mental health workers, consumers and affiliated groups to have educational talks about transgender issues even though being transgender is not in itself a diagnosis of any mental health condition. It’s still important because trans people do suffer a greatly increased risk of mental illness including suicide attempts, depression, anxiety and other conditions mostly likely caused by social isolation, family rejection, employment & housing discrimination, bullying, frequent innuendo about not being genuine, and of course, gender dysphoria.

We covered many topics including changes in terminology over recent decades especially in relation to the terms transgender, transsexual (rarely used nowadays), intersex, and non-binary. We looked a little at pronouns including the singular they, and of course I told them all about Mx (or Mix), a non-binary transgender title.

Several people contributed very interesting and insightful questions, comments and anecdotes. Two were staff psychologists with WMH and I was really impressed at their already well-developed and fine-tuned understanding of many of the issues. I was picked-up for a slip of the tongue when I said ‘intersex condition’ instead of ‘intersex variation’ because most intersex people don’t have any sort of physical or mental illness directly related to being intersex and need no treatment (unless they have suffered from some unnecessary medical procedure). What a pleasant surprise that was.

Whenever I talk about trans issues I always bring up intersex stories because we can all learn so much from the intersex experience. For one thing this really puts the lie to the notion there are only men and women walking the earth, and their often shocking interaction with the medical establishment is instructive. Most in this group had not previously heard the word ‘intersex.’

I had handouts for them briefly covering many topics and I believe six pages of that will be scanned and put in their minutes. Yay!

It was so good to interact like this with these good folk and educate them further. We all agreed that the general public has been getting more and more on the same page with the transgender community despite the misinformed rantings of a vocal few.

Mx Margaret D. Jones

Mx Margaret D. Jones

Non-binary in Census 2016

The 2016 Australian Census was an obvious and very public debacle in several respects, but there was a positive side: it allowed non-binary and intersex people to be counted in a distinct way from male and female people.

2016 Australian census Q. 2

Q. 2: Non-binary transgender (Androgyne)

For the first time I was able to click a radio button for ‘Other’ in question two, instead of ‘Male’ or ‘Female.’ In the ‘please specify’ box I wrote: “Non-binary transgender (Androgyne).”

2016 Australian cenus feedback

Census feedback: Glad I didn’t have to lie.

This ‘Other’ option was only available in the online version if you requested a special login code for non-binary people.

2016 Australian census Q. 18

Q. 18: No religion

Another innovation was to put ‘No religion’ at the top of the options for religion in question 18. Apparently, the powers that be thought this would elicit a more accurate figure, and they may be right.

The improvement in the recording of non-binary status in the census is no doubt due to the advocacy and legal achievements of several gender pioneers in Australia over a long period of time, notably Alex MacFarlane, Norrie, and Tony Briffa. More recently Jamie Shupe has been succeeding in legal action in the USA.

Alex MacFarlane
In 2001 Alex, born many decades earlier in Victoria (Australia), was given a new birth certificate showing “Sex: Indeterminate also known as Intersex.

From en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alex_MacFarlane :

MacFarlane is believed to be the first person in Australia to obtain a birth certificate recording sex as indeterminate, and the first Australian passport with an ‘X’ sex marker in 2003.

Also from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alex_MacFarlane :

[Norrie] became the first transsexual person in Australia to pursue a legal status of neither a man nor a woman, in 2010. That status was subjected to an appeal by the State of New South Wales. In April 2014 the Australian High Court ruled “that New South Wales laws do permit the registration of a category of sex other than male or female.” See also en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norrie_May-Welby

Tony Briffa
Also from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alex_MacFarlane :

Tony Briffa JP previously acknowledged as the world’s first openly intersex public official and mayor, states on Briffa’s website that “my birth certificate is silent as to my sex.” See also www.briffa.org

Jamie Shupe (USA)
www.themarysue.com/oregon-court-nonbinary/ (June 2016):

…an Oregon circuit court rules that resident Jamie Shupe could legally change their gender to nonbinary—the first U.S. court to do so.” See also transgender.wiki/jamie-shupe/

Like me Shupe uses Mx as a title, instead of Miss or Mr etc. Thus ‘Mx Jamie Shupe,’ and ‘Mx Shupe.’ I’ve been using Mx (pronounced ‘mix’), a non-binary transgender title, since 2002. See mixmargaret.com/about-mx-with-miss-mrs-mr-ms-and-the-singular-they.html

2016 Australian census Q. 36

Q. 36: Occupation: music teacher

If anyone in Australia has not yet done the census be aware it is compulsory and you can be fined. The deadline is 23 September, 2016. The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) sent me this:

If you are using the online form and the responses of male and female do not apply to you, please take the following steps:
1. Call the Census Inquiry Service on 1300 214 531.
2. Ask for a Census Login for the special online form. You can receive your Login by SMS or email.
3. Use your new Census Login to complete your Census form at census.abs.gov.au

You could also ask the ABS if there is a special hardcopy form.

HSO concert at Midland Town Hall 20160703

OK, so they’re not the WASO or the Berlin Phil, but there is nothing like a real, live orchestra. A full house enjoyed the Hills Symphony Orchestra’s concert today, and so did I.

HSO at Midland Town Hall on 20160703

HSO at Midland Town Hall on 20160703

According to Facebook I must be in the 10% who’ve never seen Game of Thrones, but now I know some of the music, which was memorable enough as concert music.

Several items from Tchaikovsky ballets reminded me of why I like his music. From melodic elements which seem too simple, too basic, Tchaikovsky fashioned great music which never disappoints. Often made of simple scale fragments and sequences, his music still engages your attention and your emotions, which is similarly a quality of Beethoven’s music. Perhaps there is also magic in the chord progressions and modulations? (These relate to some of my own preoccupations as a composer.)

The King Kong film music seemed well-fashioned but I’m not sure I’ll remember it.

Hills Symphony Orchestra

Midland Town Hall

The amateur HSO is a precious jewel in the local scene. I hope they keep getting such big and appreciative audiences because they deserve it, they put on great concerts. See below for their links.

Mx Margaret Dylan Jones

Mx Margaret Dylan Jones



All-Smalley concert at State Theatre

Since Roger passed away in August I’ve been to two concerts featuring his music (see near the end for the Fremantle Chamber Orchestra’s concert).

It was great to be in the audience last night (20160607) for a Tura concert consisting entirely of music by my mentor, Roger Smalley (1943-2015). The Perth group Decibel performed five works in the first of their first Scale Variable concerts in the Studio Underground at the State Theatre Centre (in Western Australia). Most of the music was  composed in the UK before 1976 when Roger moved to Australia to teach composition at the University of Western Australia.

What a delight this was! Though I recognised some of the material I had the feeling I was hearing it for the first time, or with new ears. After reading the great programme notes (by Cat Hope) I realised that some things had found their way into later works, so mystery solved.

These are pieces rarely heard with some probably not performed for decades. The members of Decibel and their friends went to a lot of trouble to assemble or recreate the materials needed, beginning with tracking down some lost items.

The first work was Didjeridu, for four channel tape, composed when Roger was Composer-in-Residence at UWA during his first visit here in 1974. From the programme: “[the work] uses source materials extracted from an LP that is still housed in the UWA library, featuring traditional music from the Mornington Peninsula.” I happened to sit next to Jenny Wildy, who was the music librarian at the Wigmore Music Library for nearly forty years. She said “I know that LP!”

Transformation (1968 rev. 1971) is for piano and live electronic “ring-modulation.” I thought I’d heard Roger using ring-modulation in another work, but I don’t recall it sounding like this. Adam Pinto’s masterful rendition of this virtuosic work was exciting, and the ring modulation was a revelation.

Impulses (1986) for ensemble treats ideas from an earlier work, Pulses. Full of pulsating, of course.

Another piano solo with ring modulation is Monody (1971-72), “the first of Smalley’s pieces to feature ring-modulation as structural, rather than colouristic and decorative role.” This was quite a mesmerising performance by Stuart James.

Decibel gave us the Australian premiere of Zeitebenen (‘time levels,’ 1973-75) for live electronic ensemble and tape, a major 45 minute work which made up the entire second ‘half’ of the evening. A large and varied work. I feel so privileged to have heard it, and I was impressed with how the composer managed the long time frame.

Before coming to Perth Roger was part of Intermodulation, an important electro-acoustic group of four composer/performers, for which he wrote this music. “Decibel is not unlike Intermodulation in its make up and intent… thus the program is dedicated to compositions for acoustic and electronic instruments… Decibel is a world leader in the integration of acoustic instruments and electronics, the interpretation of graphic notations and pioneer digital score formats…”

On 6 December 2015 I went to another really wonderful concert by the Fremantle Chamber Orchestra in the Fremantle Town Hall but I didn’t get around to blogging about it at the time. They gave a great rendition of Roger’s Footwork (2006, also known as Birthday tango) in a programme of mainstream works, and it was very well received. I’ve misplaced the printed programme and there’s nothing about it on their own website. Unlike last night’s concert there was no restriction on photos.

FCO Town Hall concert

Fremantle Chamber Orchestra on 6th December 2015, playing Roger Smalley’s Footwork

So that’s my five cents worth; I don’t write full-on music reviews. There is a little more about the Decibel concert at http://www.decibelnewmusic.com/intermodulations.html Perhaps the whole written programme will be put online, too? It has a lot more detail. (Hint, hint to Cat Hope.)

There was also a review of the Decibel concert the next day in The West Australian newspaper by : https://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/entertainment/a/31795960/decibel-honours-smalley-legacy/

For more about Roger see my first blog about him from August 2015 and the many comments on it at http://mixmargaret.com/blog/2015/08/19/vale-roger-smalley-a-great-australian-musical-intellect/ At the end of that blog I’m adding more and more links to performances and articles about Roger, including the Decibel concert and any reviews I find.