UQ reflecting on tragedy through music

As Remembrance Day approaches on November 11, the University of Queensland will reflect on the tragedies of the Great War through music.

The UQ School of Music will host a performance on Nov. 2 at the QPAC Concert Hall to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the onset of the First World War (1914–18) and pay tribute to those who died in the line of duty.

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Study music at the University of Queensland

School of Music Head Professor Margaret Barrett said student recipients of 2014 scholarships and prizes would present works that had long been associated with themes of remembrance and reflection.

She said the UQ Symphony Orchestra and UQ Chorale would jointly perform works written in the years leading up to the Great War – Elgar’s Enigma Variations and George Butterworth’s Orchestral Rhapsody A Shropshire Lad.

“The latter was premiered in 1913, just three years before Butterworth was tragically killed in the Battle of the Somme,” Professor Barrett said.

“A Shropshire Lad was his final completed orchestral work. At the start of the First World War, Butterworth volunteered immediately as a private.

“He earned the Military Cross in July of 1916 for his courage and heroism in the Somme; however, one month later he was killed by sniper fire.

“Though Butterworth’s life was short, he established himself firmly in the canon of early twentieth-century English composers.”

This year’s winner of the Bachelor of Music Merit Scholarship, first-year student Heidi Chan, is one of the performers on Sunday.

“Several years ago, during a performance of my composition Serene on Remembrance Day, I felt the healing power of music in the audience and me. Music transforms conflicts into peace and sorrows into serenity,” she said.

“In this concert, the unity of voices and the orchestra is a musical reflection of the possibility of a harmonious relationship among people from different parts of the world, and reconciliation with one’s self.

“To me, this concert allows us to have a moment to remember our ancestors’ legacies and sacrifices, grant eternal rest to the past, and celebrate the resilience of the human spirit.”

Mozart’s final unfinished masterpiece, Requiem Mass in D Minor concludes the program.

Professor Barrett said the concert was the UQ School of Music’s culminating performance for the year and demonstrated the expertise students had acquired through their studies.

“Students in the Bachelor of Music program have many opportunities to perform in ensemble and as soloists throughout the year,” she said.

“This concert is one in which students and audience members may connect through music to larger themes of life and learning.”

The performance will be directed by Warwick Potter and Graeme Morton AM.

UQ School of Music

The University of Queensland School of Music provides students with opportunity and choice through programs that prepare future leaders in the music professions. The University of Queensland enjoys a long tradition of success and is a great destination for music students. A vibrant student life, stunning campus, exceptional study opportunities and inspirational staff and students provide a memorable experience for any student. The university has a focus on engagement, while its groundbreaking research and culture of excellence put it in the ranks of the world’s best universities.

UQ School of Music offers courses for undergraduates in music performance, music composition, musicology (classical, world and popular) and music education. Postgraduate coursework programs in music therapy and music education provide specialist skills for music professionals. Master of Philosophy and PhD programs are offered for those wishing to develop their research skills.


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