Wodonga Council

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Elysian Fields serving up exquisite arrangements

8 Jun, 2022

Border audiences will be treated to a compelling mix of Scandinavian folk, classical and jazz influences when Sydney-based ensemble featuring the electric viola da gamba, Elysian Fields, perform this month.

The concert on Saturday, June 18 at The Cube Wodonga, is the third and final event in the Murray River Fine Music’s 2022 series and includes a new work by Gordon Kerry composed for the ensemble.

Elysian Fields comprises Susie Bishop (vocals and violin), Paul Cutlan (saxophones), Matt McMahon (piano), Jenny Erikson (electric viola da gamba), Jacques Emery (double bass) and Dave Goodman (drums).

Elysian Fields was formed by Jenny Erikson, Matt Keegan and renowned jazz pianist and composer Matt McMahon in 2015.

Erikson is believed to be the only Australian exponent of the electric viola de gamba, a seven string, bowed instrument about the size of a cello but with frets.

Jenny is a respected expert on the highly nuanced music of the French baroque and the works of the great French viola da gambist, Marin Marais.

The backbone of Elysian Field’s set list consists of original works written specifically for the line-up by Matt McMahon, Matt McKeegan, Jenny Erikson and founding bassist Siebe Pogson, along with arrangements and original by Susie Bishop and Dave Goodman.

Elysian Field’s influences include Herbie Hancock, Jaco Pastorius, Tord Gustavson, Victor Wooten, Mats Norrefalk, Jean-Luc Ponty, Weather Report, Mara!, traditional Indian music, Irish and Swedish folk song, Jordi Savall, Marin Marais, John McLaughlin, Steve Hunter and Joni Mitchell.

Last year Elysian Fields debuted an Australian premiere of “Meditiatus”, a jazz mass by Jan Gunnar Hoff and collaborating with the Choir of St James, Sydney.

The Wodonga concert includes a new work by Northeast Victorian composer Gordon Kerry, I dreamed I moved among the Elysian Fields, composed for the ensemble and premiered in Sydney in 2019.

Drummer Dave Goodman will hold a workshop/masterclass at The Cube Wodonga on June 18 from 3pm with entry by donation.

Students should bring a pair of sticks and a practice pad, with Dave working on developing creativity through technical work within an historiographical perspective.

Murray River Fine Music Chief Executive Officer and Artistic Co-ordinator Helena Kernaghan said the concert followed on the heels of the highly-successful Inventi Ensemble concert at the Bonegilla Migrant Experience and composer Gordon Kerry’s world premiere.

“Elysian Fields brings together some of Australia’s jazz greats like saxophonist Paul Cutlan, bassist Jacques Emery, pianist Matt McMahon, and drummer Dave Goodman,” Ms Kernaghan said.

“The ensemble is an ongoing experiment in creating new, improvised and composed repertoire for the electric viola da gamba, and we are thrilled to be able debut Elysian Fields to Border audiences.”

Ms Kernaghan paid tribute to regional audiences for supporting Murray River Fine Music’s mission to provide top quality, accessible live music on the border.

“The Bonegilla Migrant Experience proved to be a fantastic venue with everyone who attended the preconcert tours enjoying learning about the rich and varied history of the centre,” she said.

“Murray River Fine Music is now planning our 2023 concert series with plenty of surprises in store and some of the finest musical talent from across the country.”

The Elysian Fields concert starts at 7pm on June 18 and tickets can be purchased online here.

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