View all news

Nimbin concert this Sunday a treat for music lovers


Zoe Satherley
17 November 2006
Southern Cross University music Professor Michael Hannan’s Nimbin garden is a symphony of song, as much as it is a symphony of colour, shape and form.

Everything has been planted to attract birdlife and therefore enrich his musical compositions.

Always somewhere in the background, playing in the air, are the songs of birds – from the staccato calls of kookaburras and the happy chatter of lorikeets to the pure notes of the Pied Butcher Bird’s melodic repertoire.

Bird songs are a big part of Professor Hannan’s inspiration when it comes to composing and this Sunday (November 19) audiences will get a chance to hear some of his original works.

Professor Hannan will be performing from 3pm, at the Nimbin School of Arts (in the Town Hall), with collaborator and friend, Diana Blom. The pair will play everything from tangos to large scale works which explore the rich sounds of the piano.

“While I still love to play the piano and give the occasional concert, my main focus is on composition,” said Professor Hannan, one of the key people responsible for establishing the University’s now-famous Contemporary Music program, back in 1986.

Twenty years on, the University boasts thousands of graduates including plenty of well-known names in the music industry like noted musicians Scott Hills and Glen Hannah.

Scott joined the ranks of Australia’s top country performers when he and his band, The Flood, won a coveted Golden Guitar award at the Tamworth Country Music Awards this year.

Multi-talented Glen is making a name for himself in both music and design. A well respected and accomplished guitarist who plays with Kasey Chambers’ band, Glen has also played and sung with Troy Cassar-Daley, written songs with Felicity Urquhart and been a session musician with many leading Australian artists.

Other successful Bachelor of Contemporary Music graduates include Joe Hansen (Grinspoon), James Haselwood (Dissociatives), Richard Sanford (Delta Goodrem's Musical Director), Jodi Martin (singer and songwriter), Sam Hawksley (guitarist, songwriter, and producer), Ramesh Sathiah (partner in Songzu – a leading sound design company) and Travis White, who works in Japan as the head guitar teacher at the prestigious Musicians Institute and at the Yamaha Popular Music School.

Professor Hannan said he would like to see more value placed on the creative contribution of academics to university life.

“While the creative contribution is valued here at Southern Cross University, it is not valued within the higher education sector in general,” he said.

“You can’t apply for a government grant to undertake composing, for example, or any creative research, and I think that weakens the cultural and artistic foundation of society.”

* During the concert Professor Hannan will perform Michael’s ŒResonances (1987-97) a large scale work which explores the rich sonorities of the piano by means of a constantly depressed sustaining pedal. The complete cycle of 12 ŒResonances movements corresponds to the 12 astrological signs and is dedicated to friends born under these signs. The four movements included in the concert will be ŒMercurial Orbits (Virgo), ŒConjunction (Libra), ŒMysterious Clusters (Scorpio) and ŒStar Cycle ((Pisces). Michael will also play his ŒThree Gymnopedies, written in the past year in homage to Erik Satie’s famous ŒTrois Gymnopedies.

Photo: Professor Michael Hannan.