A Luta Continua [1]

for baritone, girls choir and orchestra [2005]

by Peter Wesley-Smith (text) and Martin Wesley-Smith (music)


first performance:

April 2 2005 at the Ten Days on the Island festival, Federation Concert Hall, Hobart, Tasmania (see here for info)

the performers:

Andrew Collis, baritone; Pip Monk, soprano; the Ogilvie High School Concert Choir (Joan Wright, musical director; Elizabeth Rockliff, accompanist; and Helen Todd, vocal coach); and the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra conducted by Richard Mills

see below for performers' bios, photos etc [Collis, Mills, Monk, Ogilvie Choir, Rockliff, Todd, Wright]

for recent news about East Timor, click here

for a report on and review of the first performance, click here


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Xanana's defence speech | the cuckoo and the cockatoo | scale-bird, wailing | santa cruz | climbing Mount Ramelau | the cuckoo comes | kyrie | the past is gone | out of the dark | poor cockatoo | the fighters who fell | ina lou | how can I love? | ita timur | the bird has flown

authors' notes

bios: Andrew Collis | Richard Mills | Philippa Monk | Ogilvie Choir | Elizabeth Rockliff | Helen Todd | Martin Wesley-Smith | Peter Wesley-Smith | Joan Wright

Xanana's defence speech [2]

I am Xanana Gusmão, leader of the Maubere [3] resistance.

I reject the jurisdiction of this court, imposed by force of arms and crimes against my homeland, East Timor.

the cuckoo and the cockatoo

the cockatoo espied [4]
the treacherous cuckoo
who laid a trap and tried
to kill the cockatoo

who preached and screeched and sorrowed and sighed
who warned and mourned and struggled and cried
the cuckoo took an arrow and tried
to kill the cockatoo

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Xanana's defence continues:

East Timor is a case of the flagrant violation of the universal pattern of law, peace and justice.

The ones who should be standing before an international court include the Indonesian government for crimes in East Timor, the US administration for military aid and political support for Indonesia's genocide in East Timor, and the government of Australia for its complicity with Indonesia.

cuckoo ...

The UN does not recognise a sovereignty imposed by force, or the practice of violence, or systematic violation of fundamental human rights.

The Balibo statement was signed with the blood of five journalists murdered by troops in the attack on Balibo.

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scale-bird, wailing

Brian Peters, Malcolm Rennie, Tony Stewart, Gary Cunningham, Greg Shackleton: they sought the truth at Balibo, but truth and justice were denied them. [5]

They were reporting the invasion of East Timor, at Balibo.

On Ramelau the scale bird is ailing, wailing. She's heard the sad news: she knows that the newsmen were sacrificed at Balibo.

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Xanana's defence continues:

The so-called provisional government was formed over the corpses of Timorese - my people.

santa cruz

Dili, 1975 [6]
Quelicai, 1978
Lacluta: more than 400 people, mostly women and children, killed in 1981
Kraras: more than one thousand, in 1983
Santa Cruz, Dili: more than four hundred massacred in 1991

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Xanana's defence continues:

I appeal to the new generation of Indonesians to understand that the people of Timor attach more value to freedom, justice and peace than to development.

I appeal to the international community, and to all the friends of East Timor, to continue to press for change to the double standards where systematic violations of UN resolutions occur.

I appeal to the Portuguese government never to abandon East Timor.

I appeal to the UN to ensure the solution is on universal principles and international law.

Finally, I appeal to the cuckoo to realise that the moment has come to understand the essence of the struggle in East Timor.

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climbing Mount Ramelau [7]

kole lele mai rade koko dele kole le mai [8]

the cuckoo comes

independence or death! [10]
viva o povo Maubere! [11]
kole lele mai!
no blood for oil, no blood for oil! [12]
Aussie Aussie Aussie, oil oil oil! Aussie Aussie Aussie, oil oil oil! [13]
venceremos! venceremos!
viva o povo Maubere!

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Christe eleison

the choir sings from the back of the hall:

Kyrie, Kyrie eleison [14]
Christe eleison
Kyrie eleison

the past is gone

a luta continua
courageous fighters
resistance led to victory
I know, but the past is gone
and Timor marches on
remember but then forgive
and reconcile the while
we learn to live

and suffering
old men and women
more than two hundred thousand victims

can there be justice?
must we reconcile?
feed the crocodile?

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out of the dark

I am here
for my people
the choir walks to the stage, singing:

after so many years
so fast we've come to freedom!
who knew we'd win our freedom?
how great the joys of freedom!
at last the past has gone
embrace the fearful future
face to face with pride
and stateliness and grace
freedom is ours at last
visions of love pursue
hard times and joy await
freedom is ours
commander Xanana
commander Xanana
commander Xanana was arrested
tried for treason
sentenced to twenty years in jail [15]
he's become President of Timor Lorosa'e [16] now
but the fighters who fell remain
did they fall in vain?

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poor cockatoo

abused and bruised [17]
the poor cockatoo
detained and chained
yet steadfast and true
dispossessed, depressed
left for dead, what to do
but dream there'd be
a free East Timor
abused and bruised
the poor cockatoo
detained and chained
yet steadfast and true
then arrested
the poor cockatoo
confidently, eloquently
calls intently for freedom
Timor Lorosa'e

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the fighters who fell

remember Timor Lorosa'e
cock-a-doodle-doo [18]
Timor grasses grow
warm the fractured bones
of the fighters who fell

Timor flowers show
beautify the bones
of the fighters who fought for freedom
fought till they fell

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ina lou [19]

Mother dear, Mother dear

ita ema sei moris halo rei nia naran ina lou
ai lai lai lai ina lou
ai ita ema sei moris halo rei nia naran beta na
lai lai lai lai lai lai
ina lou, ina lou
lale kole lale kole bete na
ai lai lai lai ina lou
ai kole lale ona bete na

we people must live for our country's honour, dear Mother
ai lai lai lai, dear Mother
our people must live for our country's honour, dear Mother
Mother dear, Mother dear
don't get tired, our little mother
we all come and sing, Mother
we all come and sing to Mother dear

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how can I love? [20]


Our Father commands us:
have faith and hope
and charity
forgiveness and love
we can all survive
alive and free
but tell me: how can she love

her father?
he never knew
her dear mother's name
he was a soldier, invader
her mother
but she was forgotten


conceived in shame

her neighbour
they helped him at school
who loved him, he was militia
how can she love her neighbour?

Our Father, which art in heaven
hallowed be thy name
thy kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven
but how can she love?

birus kakatua
tur iha uma tutun
nonoi foti fatuk
tuda birus, forgiveness

international relations


with faith and hope
with charity and good will

how can I love?

my father
he never knew
my dear mother's name
he was a soldier, invader
and raped
I was begotten

father, my father
how can I love my father?
conceived in shame
my heart cannot love

my neighbour
he killed my brother
he was militia
how can I love my neighbour?

Jesus, my saviour
who promises life in Heaven
commands I love my God
but how can I love?

letxun, letxun, letxun, lá lá lá [21]
letxun, letxun, letxun, lá lá lá
letxun, letxun, letxun, he tried
to kill the cockatoo


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but we have freedom!
and national sovereignty!
but can we win justice?
reconciliation and truth?
can we control our own resources?
a luta continua
in East Timor

ita timur [22]

though we have liberty
can there be justice for all?

ita Timur oan sira né
laran mecak kmanek kmanek deit
laran mos klamar mos
la'o buka rai seluk seluk

néon nakukun sei oras né
ban bainrua sei nakloke bele
aman ínan boum
néon metin ba'mi tomak mos

but we have
smiling faces wider than the Timor Sea
weary heads held higher than the sky
independence, liberty!
viva Timor Lorosa'e!

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the bird has flown


the bird has flown
his cage is shattered
he's free in the mountains
his spirit soars though his body is battered
the old life nearly over
a new life his gift to you

the cockatoo
bequeaths a fortune
the streams, the sky
and the mountains
and the Timor Sea
it's a legacy, a duty
for a people proud and free

a luta continua
but a phoenix rises from Timor
amidst faith, hope, love
new generation, new nation


bequeaths a fortune
the streams, the sky
and the mountains
and the Timor Sea
it's a legacy, a duty
for a people proud and free

a luta continua
but a phoenix rises from Timor
amidst faith, hope, love
new generation, new nation
a resurrection for you and me
for a people proud and free

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script commissioned by Symphony Australia with financial assistance from the Music Board of The Australia Council, the federal government's arts funding and advisory body; set to music by Martin Wesley-Smith

(c) 2005 Peter Wesley-Smith [e-mail]


[click on the number to go back to the reference in the text]

1 "the struggle continues"
Xanana Gusmão, President of East Timor, often uses this slogan in his speeches and writings.

2 After the 1975 invasion of East Timor by Indonesian troops, Xanana joined Falintil (the military wing of the political party Fretilin), becoming a revered guerilla leader. In 1981 he took over as head of Falintil and of CNRM (Concelho Nacional da Resistancia Maubere, or National Council of Maubere Resistance). In 1992 he was arrested by Indonesian soldiers. The text in italics here comes from an amended and edited version of the defence speech he made at his subsequent trial in an Indonesian court.

3 "Maubere": the term used by Fretilin for the East Timorese people.

4 The music here was transcribed from a recording of Timorese children singing a sweet little song called Birus Kakatua, about a cockatoo. We later discovered that it's actually about killing a cockatoo and that the song is Indonesian.

5 There is no doubt that these brave men (and a sixth, Roger East, subsequently murdered in Dili) were killed (on October 16 1975) in order to stop the truth of Indonesia's military attacks on East Timor from being exposed to the outside world. Australia's ambassador to Indonesia at the time, Richard Woolcott, commented "They shouldn't have been there" (in other words "They shouldn't have been trying to expose the truth and thus embarrass Australia in its appeasement of Indonesian aggression").

6 This section lists just some of the many massacres of East Timorese people by Indonesian soldiers.

7 In 2003 Martin walked up Mount Ramelau, a mountain of mystical and symbolic importance to most Timorese people. On the way he heard the song of the scale bird, which is reproduced here by the orchestra (thanks to Harry Bennetts for his transcription).

8 This is the chorus, made up of nonsense words, of Kolele Mai, a traditional song that became a powerful symbol of resistance to Indonesian rule.

9 During the invasion and subsequent occupation of East Timor, the population's cries for help, many on a clandestine radio link with Australian activists that was shut down by the Fraser government, went unheeded by Western governments.

10 Another slogan frequently used by Xanana.

11 "Long live the Maubere people"

12 A slogan often used at pro-Timor demonstrations and often heard today in relation to the invasion of Iraq and other conflicts.

13 A slogan seen on a placard at a demonstration in Dili against Australia's hard-line stance in its negotiations with East Timor over the exploitation of oil and gas resources in the Timor Sea between the two countries. Many Australians believe that their government is trying to bully East Timor and that its stand is contrary to international law as determined by UNCLOS (United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea). Australia, a signatory to the treaty, in 2002 resiled from the jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice and of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea established under UNCLOS.

14 "Lord have mercy upon us, Christ have mercy upon us, Lord have mercy upon us". Before the 1975 invasion, perhaps 20% of East Timor's population was Catholic. During the occupation, when the Catholic Church provided virtually the only succour and support the people received, this rose to more than 90%.

15 Xanana was actually sentenced to life imprisonment for rebellion, undermining national stability, and masterminding the Santa Cruz demonstration of November 12 1991. His sentence was later commuted, by President Suharto, to 20 years.

16 "Timor Lorosa'e": "East Timor" in Tetum.

17 The music here is based on that of the song Birus Kakatua.

18 The most pervading sound heard in Timor is that of the chooks that run freely wherever one goes. The music here comes from Kolele Mai; the words were originally written by Xanana in Portuguese, were translated by Agio Pereira and Rob Wesley-Smith, and versified by Peter.

19 Traditional song from East Timor. The Tetum words are followed by a rough English translation.

20 This song is concerned with one of the many problems facing the East Timorese people: how to reconcile the need for justice with the need to get on with their powerful neighbour. Many people were massacred, and many women raped, by Indonesian soldiers. Many survivors lost friends and relatives to the TNI and its murderous militias during the carnage of 1999. How can they simply forget and forgive? [Xanana and Foreign Minister (and Nobel Peace Laureate) José Ramos Horta are keen on establishing a "Truth and Friendship Commission" with Jakarta, but many in Timor, including the Catholic Church, fear that this will allow the perpetrators of horrific crimes to evade justice.]

21 "letxun, letxun, letxun, lá lá lá": nonsense words in Tetum.

22 Many Timorese think that this traditional song should have been chosen as the new nation's national anthem.

authors' notes

The illegal Indonesian occupation of East Timor 1975-99 resulted in the deaths of over one third of the population. To us the fundamental issue was the denial, with the support of the Australian and other governments, of the people's UN-mandated right to self-determination. That right was finally granted in 1999, and though it was followed by acts of vengeance by departing Indonesian troops and their puppet militia, East Timor eventually became free. But the struggle of its people continues: for daily survival, for physical and psychological good health, and for justice and reconciliation.

Martin has composed over a dozen multimedia pieces about the plight of the people of East Timor, the first being Kdadalak (for the children of Timor) (photography by Penny Tweedie) in 1978. In 1994, we wrote Quito, which The Song Company has performed widely in Europe, Asia, and Australia. In 2002 we both travelled around East Timor and were struck by the beauty of its landscape and people. But we also saw the destruction and the poverty and the immense challenges. The East Timorese government favours good relations with Indonesia over punishment for war crimes and crimes against the peace, and Indonesian trials of persons accused of human rights abuses in Timor have proved a sad farce. The massive resources in the Timor Sea have been largely commandeered by Australia, which refuses to allow conflicting claims to be dealt with by international tribunals in accordance with international law. The East Timorese people remain the victims of the aspirations of more powerful neighbours.

In A Luta Continua we pay tribute to the charismatic Xanana Gusmão - poet, painter, resistance leader and President - by setting to music one of his poems and excerpts from one of his speeches; to the traditional songs of East Timor, by including excerpts as well as two whole songs; and to the so-called Balibo Five, murdered at Balibo in East Timor in 1975 as they tried to alert the world to Indonesian military incursions. We dedicate the piece to the memory of author and activist Michele Turner - grand-daughter of an Australian commando who served in East Timor during World War II - who interviewed hundreds of Timorese refugees and recorded some of their harrowing stories for her 1992 book Telling. The East Timor support movement in Australia suffered a severe blow in 1995 when she committed suicide in Hobart.

Activist Shirley Shackleton tells of going to Balibo in 1989 to plant a tree in memory of the Balibo Five (which included her husband Greg) and Roger East (an Australian journalist murdered by Indonesian troops during the full-scale invasion of December 7 1975). The Indonesian soldiers there at first refused her permission, but she insisted so vehemently that eventually they told her to plant the tree there and then. "No," she said. "You've argued for so long that it's now getting dark. Too much has happened in Timor in the dark - I'll come back in the morning." The soldiers reluctantly agreed but told her that no Timorese would be allowed to attend the ceremony. As she was lowering the tree into the ground next morning, she suddenly heard a Catholic mass being sung. It transpired that the locals had gathered in the bush to watch; as soon as they saw the tree being planted they innocently started "choir practice" for next Sunday's service. This was the inspiration for the Kyrie in our piece.

Many thanks to many people, especially Harry Bennetts, Sister Susan Connolly, Ros Dunlop, members of the Kangaroo Valley-Remexio Partnership, Antonio de Padua, Shirley Shackleton and Rob Wesley-Smith. Our grateful thanks, too, to the performers this evening: it takes great courage to commission and agree to perform a new work! Special thanks to Richard Mills, who initiated the project. Finally, our thanks to the people of East Timor, who have taught us a lot about courage, determination, forgiveness and hope. Xanana says that "the people of Timor attach more value to freedom, justice and peace than to development." Their struggle has brought them, at last, political independence, freedom and peace. May it now bring them justice, inner peace, prosperity and happiness.

Two main themes are seen in the work of Martin Wesley-Smith: the life, work and ideas of Lewis Carroll and the plight of the people of East Timor. An eclectic composer, his output ranges from children's songs (such as I'm Walking in the City) to large-scale environmental events, encompassing many different idioms. Multimedia is a specialty, particularly pieces for instrument(s) and computer about humanitarian and ethical issues - Weapons of Mass Distortion, for example, which is about official propaganda, doublespeak, spin, lies etc. These are regularly presented in concert by the group Charisma (Ros Dunlop, clarinet, and Julia Ryder, cello) and others. His most-performed works include the choral conservation piece Who Killed Cock Robin? and the chamber pieces White Knight & Beaver and For Marimba & Tape. In 1998 he was awarded an AM for services to Australian music.

see http://www.shoalhaven.net.au/~mwsmith

Peter Wesley-Smith is the author of verses for children (e.g. The Ombley-Gombley, Hocus Pocus) and lyrics and libretti for works with music by Martin (Boojum!, Quito). He resigned from a Chair in Constitutional Law at the University of Hong Kong in 1999 and has since lived in Kangaroo Valley, New South Wales. He currently lectures in international law at the University of Macau each October and still occasionally prepares papers on constitutional law topics. Recent commissioned texts for Martin's music include Thank Evans (Australian Boys Choral Institute, 2001), Black Ribbon (Canberra Choral Society, 2001), True (Canberra Gay and Lesbian Qwire, 2002), and Doublethink (The Song Company, 2005).

see http://www.shoalhaven.net.au/~peterws

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andrew collis Andrew Collis

"Andrew Collis was in impressively resonant voice, bringing a sense of occasion to everything he sang."

Neville Cohn, "The West Australian" November 2003
[Beethoven's 9th Symphony, West Australian Symphony Orchestra]

Australian bass-baritone Andrew Collis was a member of the Cologne Opera from 1993, beginning in the Opera Studio and then joining the ensemble as a full soloist in 1995, where, among many other roles, he has sung the title part in Le Nozze di Figaro, Schaunard and Colline in La Bohème, Hobson in Peter Grimes, Mr Flint in Billy Budd, Dr Kolenaty in The Makropulos Case, Tchelio in The Love of Three Oranges, Leporello in Don Giovanni, Don Magnifico in Cenerentola, the Marquis in Dialogue of the Carmelites and Dr Falke in Fledermaus.

Outside Cologne, he has performed with the opera companies in Berlin, Frankfurt, Essen, Mannheim, Dortmund, Wiesbaden and Düsseldorf and has sung in concerts in Strasbourg, Stuttgart and Bonn. He has performed often with distinguished conductor James Conlon in the Cologne Philharmonie in various operatic concerts from Wagner to Stravinsky and Ravel and most notably in the award-winning recording of Zemlinsky's Der Zwerg for EMI.

In Australia, Andrew has performed with Opera Australia in the 1999 production of Roméo et Juliette in Melbourne and Sydney and with Opera Queensland in La Bohème, Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Giulio Cesare, Carmen and the title role in Don Pasquale. He has also sung for the West Australia Opera's production of Roméo et Juliette and appeared with Victoria State Opera in Otello in 1993. In 1994 he sang Fasolt in Das Rheingold for State Opera of South Australia's Ring production.

Other international experience has included two appearances at the Hong Kong Festival in Tosca and Un Ballo in Maschera and in the Lyric Opera of Singapore's production of The Magic Flute. In 2000 he went to the Canary Islands for the St John Passion; in 2001 he appeared at the Vienna Festival in the Cologne Opera's acclaimed production of Luigi Nono's Intolleranza; and in 1997 he appeared at the Perth Festival as a visiting soloist with the Prague Chamber Orchestra.

In addition to his operatic repertoire, Andrew has an extensive list of concert and oratorio performances to his credit, including Magnificat, Coffee Cantata, and Mass in B minor of Bach, Messiah, Samson and Semele by Händel, Die Schöpfung, Stabat Mater and various Masses of Haydn, Beethoven Missa Solemnis and Mozart Requiem. In 2003 he sang Beethoven's 9th Symphony with both the West Australian and Melbourne Symphony Orchestras.

Apart from the numerous prizes won in Australia, including the Herald-Sun Aria, the German Opera Award and the vocal section of the ABC Young Performers' Awards, Andrew was a prize winner in the 1997 International Wagner Competition held in Bayreuth and Strasbourg. He also attended the Bayreuth Festival as a scholarship holder.

Andrew Collis' 2005 engagements include Sarastro in The Magic Flute and the Bass arias in St. Matthew Passion for Perth Festival, Beethoven 9th Symphony with Adelaide and Melbourne Symphony Orchestras, Colline in La Bohème for San Diego Opera, the title role in The Marriage of Figaro for Opera Queensland and Messiah for Sydney Philharmonia.

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pip monk Pip Monk

Philippa attended Ogilvie High school for four years where she was a member of the Chamber Choir. Between the years 2000 and 2004 she was a member of the National Children's choir Gondwana Voices and participated in the celebrations for the Centenary of Federation in 2001, numerous Australia day ceremonies in Darling Harbour, Choralfest in Queensland, and in 2003 and 2004 travelled to the USA, Mexico and France. She attended Rosny College for two years, where she gained the title role of Kate in Cole Porters' Kiss me Kate and played the role of Joanne in Steven Sondheim's Company. She sang with the Rosny College stage band, and is currently gaining placement as the lead vocalist in the Tasmanian Naval Band. So far in 2005, Philippa has played the role of Fantine in Les Misérables.

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richard mills Richard Mills

Richard Mills (b. 1949) is deservedly one of Australia's most sought after composers and music directors. In recent years he has pursued a diverse career as a composer and a conductor, which has seen him working with a large number of the nation's music organisations.

Mills pursued his advanced musical studies under Edmund Rubbra (composition) and Gilbert Webster (percussion) at the Guildhall School of Music, London, where he won the Saltzman Prize. Throughout his career he has also been recipient of the Maggs Award (1982), the Don Banks Music Fellowship (1995), and in 1999 was awarded an Order of Australia.

Mills made his debut as an opera conductor at Opera Queensland with The Magic Flute. Now, through his work with West Australian Opera, he has a large repertoire of standard works, as well as a reputation for conducting contemporary opera and his own compositions. Victorian State Opera commissioned him to write an opera of Ray Lawler's Summer of the Seventeenth Doll, which premiered in Melbourne in 1996. Opera Australia commissioned his second opera Batavia, which was premiered at the Melbourne Festival in 2001 to great critical acclaim. Batavia consequently received a number of Green Room and Helpmann Awards including Best Opera at both ceremonies and Best New Australian Work.

His own music has found wide acceptance and popularity with musicians and the concert-going public, and his works are regularly performed through out the world. Compositions range from Concerto for Violin and Viola, Flute Concerto commissioned by James Galway, Earth Poem-Sky for Aboriginal dancers, singers, electronic sound and the Darwin Symphony Orchestra, music for the ballet Snugglepot and Cuddlepie premiered by The Australian Ballet, and Fantastic Pantomimes written for the Melbourne Symphony's tour of Japan. Recent commissions for the Sydney Symphony include Tenebrae, Emblems premiered in 2000, and Totemic Journeys to celebrate Australia's Centenary of Federation. Requiem Diptych was commissioned and premiered by the Chicago Chamber Musicians Brass in 2001.

His CD recording Richard Mills Orchestral Works with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra has become a best seller on the ABC Classics label. In 1992 his three volume CD of the film music of Franz Waxman with the same orchestra was awarded a Deutsche Schallplattern Kritiks Preis in 1992.

Richard continues a high level of involvement in the community through such projects as commissions for the 1982 Commonwealth Games, the 2000 Olympic Games, and the Australian Bicentenary re-orchestration of Charles Williams' Majestic Fanfare (the ABC news theme). As an academic he has been Lecturer in Composition and conducting at the Queensland Conservatorium of Music and Visiting Fellow, University of Melbourne School of Music.

Currently, he works as Artistic Director of the West Australian Opera, a post held since 1997, and he has recently taken up the post of Artistic Consultant with Orchestra Victoria. In addition to these jobs, he works as a freelance artist throughout Australian and overseas.

Richard Mills can be contacted by email through his agent.

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Joan Wright

joan wright

Joan Wright was born in Tasmania and educated at Ogilvie High School. On graduating from the Tasmanian Conservatorium of Music she taught music at Fahan Girls' School in Hobart. In 1970 she travelled extensively overseas, studying at the Orff Institut in Salzburg for a year. During the 1980s Joan established the Young Conservatorium of Music and later held the position of Head of Music at Fahan Girls' School. In 1989 Joan accepted an appointment at Ogilvie High School, firstly as Head of Music and then in her final years at the School, as Head of Performing Arts. Together with her staff, Joan undertook a major development programme which included concert bands, an orchestra, rock groups, guitar and percussion ensembles, and several choirs.

Music Festivals represent one of Joan's areas of major achievement with the introduction of the School's Let's Sing choral event, which, in addition to celebrating Ogilvie's choral achievement, has attracted the presence of international children's choirs.

In December 2004, Joan retired from Ogilvie, although she will maintain strong links with the School as Choral Advisor and Conductor of the Senior Concert Choir and the newly established Alumni Association.

Joan has been a member of the well-known a cappella vocal ensemble, The Jane Franklin Consort, for over 15 years and is currently the Tasmanian State President of Australian National Choral Association (ANCA).

Ogilvie High School Concert Choir

ogilvie choir

photo taken at ChoralFest in Adelaide in 2004
[click on either of the above photos for a larger version in colour]

Elizabeth Rockliff

elizabeth rockliff

Elizabeth Rockliff was born on the North West Coast of Tasmania and studied pianoforte and Music Education at the Tasmanian Conservatorium of Music, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Music Education. She also has a Graduate Diploma in Performance and L.MUS.A. and L.T.C.L. in pianoforte.

As an accompanist and repetiteur, Elizabeth has been involved in musical activities around Hobart, officiating at Eisteddfods and working with various choral organisations including the Tasmanian Conservatorium Chorale for many years and more recently the Lyric Singers. She is now Head of Music at Ogilvie Girls High School and is an accompanist for choral and instrumental work. In addition to her classroom teaching role, she is involved with student support services and is a member of a senior team responsible for pastoral care and counselling of the girls.

Helen Todd (vocal coach)

Helen Todd has been associated with Ogilvie as Vocal Coach for the past eight years. She teaches Contemporary Voice in the Bachelor of Performing Arts in Launceston and at the Conservatorium of Music, Hobart. Helen's private practice work covers a wide range of vocal and choral techniques including jazz, rock, music theatre and classical vocal styles, as well as voice rehabilitation in speech and singing. She also tutors in confidence building, voice enhancement and interview techniques for the Beacon Foundation.

A regular presenter at national choral conferences, Helen specialises in the development and training of choral directors in safe vocal practice for choral singers.

Helen is Principal Vocal Coach for IHOS Music Theatre. She is the founder and Music Director of Song Sounds, Launceston's corporate and major functions entertainment troupe, and the co-founder of Song Sounds for Kids, Launceston's community-based choir for youth. In 2003 Helen was the vocal coach for the University of Tasmania's Australian premiere of Hydrogen Jukebox by Philip Glass, choral trainer for Deckchair Theatre's production of Mavis Goes to Timor for 10 Days on the Island and Co-Music Director for the Playhouse production of La Cage aux Folles.

navigation menu top Martin Wesley-Smith Peter Wesley-Smith Quito concerts about East Timor


the struggle continues:

Last Monday, 7 February, the East Timorese newspaper Suara Timor Loro Sa'e reported that at least 53 people had died of starvation in the village of Hatabuiliko since October 2004. "There is absolutely nothing to eat," reported Domingos de Araujo, the sub-district secretary, and "those still alive are looking for wild potatoes in the forest." Reports from the districts continue to filter in: 10,000 people are starving in Cova Lima; 10,000 households are going hungry in Suai; and Los Palos, Baucau, and Manufahi districts are all reporting a food crisis.

from East Timor: a tiny half island of surplus humanity by Ben Moxham in ZNet, Feb 15 2005


The first performance of A Luta Continua was a great success! We were delighted with the quality of the performance and with the audience response. Email responses to the live ABC-FM broadcast included the following (excerpts):
"I think it's fabulous - always completely engaging and alive - all the allusions/folk material so cleverly, seamlessly integrated - love the cuckoo - the deft, imaginative orchestration always lets the text through (well it certainly did over the radio). Gusmao's words beautifully enunciated - excellent soloist. And the optimism of the children and the gospel-style interaction with Gusmao a brilliant idea. Hope you're both really pleased with yourselves - you oughta be! Sounded like an excellent performance too - which you'd expect with Richard conducting."


"I LOVED the work! I have recorded and played it several times today. I love the sounds, the emotional intensity, the sound of the children singing, the percussive quality, the contemporary living history aspect - I thought it was wonderful. Well done you - I will never believe you again when you tell me how hard it is to do such a thing. It all sounded as if it was a piece of cake!"

Review by Lee Christofis in The Australian, April 5 2005:

There was no doubting the local importance of the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, threatened with the loss of nine of its 47 players in last month's federal orchestras review, on Saturday night.

The audience erupted into noisy accolades after the premiere of Martin Wesley-Smith's A luta continua (The Struggle Continues) and a performance of Peter Sculthorpe's Requiem (2004). Peter Wesley-Smith, Martin's brother, wrote the libretto of A luta continua, a lament for the many thousands who died in East Timor's struggle for independence, based on future president Xanana Gusmao's defence in the Indonesian courts after his capture in 1992. Sung soberly by bass Andrew Collis and the Ogilvie High School Concert Choir of girls, it incorporated charming Timorese folk songs and dances. Despite its seriousness, it's a lively work that seems to want to go in many directions, as if nothing of its sorrows and dazzling blocks of syncopated sound could settle for long. It was, perhaps, too earnest at this premiere, but the audience welcomed its intentions and emotional scope.

In contrast, Requiem, with the lauded didgeridoo player William Barton and the TSO Chorale under conductor Richard Mills, built its walls and interweaving layers of sound with Latin text and a Maranoa lullaby into an almost hypnotic mediation [sic]. It was a luminous performance.

Review by Peter Donnelly in The Mercury, April 7 2005:

Inspired by spirit of East Timor's struggle

Martin Wesley-Smith's A luta continua is a half-hour work relating East Timor's struggle for independence.

The piece offers declamatory-style music densely orchestrated in a manner reminiscent of American composer Charles Ives, contrasted with more reflective sections utilising East Timorese songs.

The text, by Peter Wesley-Smith, includes excerpts from a speech by President Xanana Gusmao.

The work, which was having its world premiere, conveys a powerful message and was excellently performed, with particularly fine singing by the Ogilvie choir.

Peter Sculthorpe's Requiem formed the other part of the concert.

I was fortunate enough to attend the first performance of Requiem at last year's Adelaide Festival.

Sculthorpe's sometimes deceptively simple style hides real depths of emotion. His music has become increasingly recognised for its unique quality in conveying the vastness and spirit of the Australian landscape.

Sculthorpe has always sought inspiration from the Pacific rim cultures and latterly from indigenous Australian music. His collaboration with William Barton has also led him to incorporate didgeridoo into some of his earlier orchestral works.

The Requiem is a masterwork which blends the various elements of his distinctive style with a return to European roots in the use of the Latin text and plainchant.

This performance was very moving and achieved a better balance between orchestra, choir and didgeridoo than was the case in Adelaide.

A memorable evening, enthusiastically received by the large audience.

Our gratitude and congratulations to all those who worked so hard, and with such skill, to bring this piece to life!

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