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Emerging artist commission.

New North is pleased to announce that the recipient of the 2023 New North Emerging Artist Commission is Xiaole Zhan!


Xiaole Zhan is a Chinese-New Zealand writer and composer based in Naarm. They are interested in the intersections between language and music. Their compositions have been debuted internationally by ensembles such as the Vancouver Chamber Choir in Canada, as well as in London as the winner of the Commonwealth International Composition Award. They are the 2024 Buxton Contemporary Art Gallery Composer in Residence and their upcoming musical project sampling recorded student voices ‘comma means breathe,’ is a recipient of a 2024 Peter McPhee Community Impact Grant.

As a writer, Xiaole Zhan was the winner of the 2023 Kill Your Darlings Non-Fiction Prize, as well as the winner of the 2023 Charles Brasch Young Writers Essay Competition.

Here's how Xiaole describes the work they will be composing with the assistance of the commission:

I'm excited to develop a 'live anthology' for narrator, percussion, violin and electronics—a musical setting of a collection of five poems for live performance. I hope to create an intimate and internal soundworld at the intersection of new music and theatre, with elements of domestic mise-en-scene that unpack themes of chronic illness explored by the poetry and the reality of spending days in your bedroom from illness. 













Photo by Milena Parobczy


2022 New North Emerging Artist: Aditya Ryan Bhat

The 2022 New North Emerging Artist Commission was awarded to Aditya Bhat's who created an evocative electroacoustic work called fixed/fleeting. It premiered at Concert 9: Apotropiac, in May 2023.

















Aditya wrote the following about the work.

ADITYA RYAN BHAT: fixed/fleeting

(Electroacoustic music with rivers, plant matter, synthesiser, saxophones, and percussion ad lib.). Duration: approx. 28 minutes.


This music comes from my longstanding preoccupation with rivers. The title fixed/fleeting refers to the two timescales on which rivers exist. They flow and change constantly, every moment; but their courses are shaped over thousands of years. It also alludes to a paradox in the music presented tonight: the electroacoustic part has a ‘fixed’ form, though it consists almost exclusively of random-seeming, ephemeral sounds. The saxophone part strives to manifest this internal contradiction by emphasising instabilities and fragilities in otherwise ‘constant’ sound.

I hesitate to claim authorship for this music. Much of it features hydrophonic recordings of the Birrarung (Yarra), Brahmaputra, Derwent (timtumili minanya), and Melendiz (Uluırmak) Rivers. They are mostly responsible for what you hear. I have just tried to draw the threads together, most importantly the relationship between settler-colonialism and ecological crisis. Rivers are one of the main theatres in which this relationship manifests: e.g., right here in the Birrarung, which over the years has been polluted by industry, artificially deepened, and had its course altered. Part of the commission fee has been contributed to the Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung Aboriginal Corporation for the protection of the river.

Where possible, I have tried to tread carefully around the voices of other-than-human contributors; if there is any insensitivity in the composition, I will do my best to address it as I continue to dwell on musical-political-ecological entanglements.


Xiaole piano photo.jpeg

NEW NORTH. Exploratory music. Narrm/Melbourne.

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