Our next season concert Cage & Zappa features one of Australia’s leading piano luminaries and composers – Michael Kieran Harvey. ANAM alumna Emily Sheppard (violin 2013) took some time to tell us about what working with Michael is all about.

Tell us a bit about the projects have you worked with Michael Kieran Harvey on?
I saw Michael perform at a Bob Brown Foundation Oration where Bill McKibben, founder of 350.org, was speaking. It was a packed out oration and Michael’s playing really lifted the event to something extra special. As I have been increasingly playing music in the environmental scene, I thought we might have a few things in common, so I emailed him and we caught up at a café a few days later.

From here we decided to play together and it was just a matter of deciding what and where. As it turned out, a good friend of his, Arjun von Caemmerer – a Hobart-based medical practitioner, Iyengar Yoga teacher/practitioner and writer – was launching his most recent book, Vice Versa a few months later. So we decided to put on a collaborative performance with him, where we played music by Michael, Messiaen and myself, interwoven with poetry excerpts and even a little bit of theatre. After this concert, we recorded a CD of the new works premiered at it, whereby the proceeds were donated directly to the Bob Brown foundation. The CD includes ‘Portrait of Bob Brown‘, ‘Homage to Liszt‘ both composed by Michael and ‘Aftermath‘, a piece I wrote in the Tarkine last year.

Since then we shared the stage at another Bob Brown Foundation Oration and are planning to perform Bartok’s violin/piano sonatas later this year in November.

What is it like working with Michael Kieran Harvey? What did you take away or learn from the experience?
I really enjoy working with Michael – he is endlessly kind, but has a hardcore work ethic behind that. I really respect that. We both have a passion for playing new music and also for the environment, so artistically in many senses we are on the same page.

Where does your passion and interest for performing contemporary/Australian music come from?
One of the main reasons I enjoy playing new music, is being able to speak about and then perform music about issues, ideas etc. that are current. Whenever I perform ‘Aftermath’ for example, I am able to talk about the wild and wonderful Tarkine and it’s huge stretches of ancient rainforest, my experiences there, and the threats of logging and mining in some areas.

I also really enjoy being able to actually talk to the composer and ask questions about their score and their interpretation.

What is on the horizon for Emily Sheppard? What are you currently working on?
I recently returned from a tour of Central Queensland with three other ANAM alumni – Yena Choi (violin, 2013), Katie Yap (viola, 2014) and Rob Manley (cello, 2013). We visited many schools in the region, teaching improvisation and performed in Rockhampton, Yeppoon, Gladstone and as far as Emerald and Longreach. Lot’s of fun (of course) but being a very intense schedule, we were all looking forward to our break on Keppel Island following the tour.

I’ll be heading straight into a Tasmanian Wilderness Residency, starting with spending a week and a half based in a small hut near Mole Creek Caves. Here I’ll be able to set aside some time to compose and work on some new violin techniques and spend lots of time in cold, dark, muddy but beautiful places. Can’t wait!

For more information about the CD ‘Portrait of Bob Brown‘ follow the link below to both a review and video interviews with Emily and Michael.

Link to the CD ‘Portrait of Bob Brown

Don’t miss the opportunity to see Michael Kieran Harvey perform selections from his own composition, 48 Fugues for Frank this Saturday 12 August.


CAGE Sonatas and Interludes – selections
CAGE Amores
Dinner break
FRANCESCO ZAPPA Trio Sonata no. 3
ZAPPA Ruth is Sleeping
ZAPPA The Black Page 
HARVEY 48 Fugues for Frank – selections
ZAPPA G-Spot Tornado

Michael Kieran Harvey piano
Timothy Young piano
Peter Neville percussion
ANAM Musicians 

During the hour long dinner break, join ANAM Alumni Luke Carbon and Kenny Keppel as they produce a live version of their Up-Bow Down-Low podcast with special guests Michael Kieran Harvey, Peter Neville and Jeannie Marsh.

PLUS: grab a gourmet Goldilocks dinner box for $20 to enjoy as you watch the podcast*

Click here to book tickets and find out more at anam.com.au

*Pre-ordering a dinner box highly recommended. Limited boxes available on the night.


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