Inspired by artist Matthew Quick’s painting Intrepid Travellers, the Sydney Symphony Orchestra with the University of Sydney’s Sydney Ideas program, presents an aural and visual exploration of humanity’s impact on the natural world in Introduced Species – complete with rubber ducks!
In 1992, nearly 29,000 rubber duck toys fell from a ship travelling from Hong Kong to the USA. After floating in their epic ocean bathtub, the first duck beached 1500 kilometres away in Alaska, with more gradually washing up everywhere from Russia to Hawaii. The movement of the ducks across the ocean shed light on water currents, wind patterns and plastic pollution.
Quick responded with his painting of Intrepid Travellers, in turn inspiring Australian composer, Katy Abbott, to write Introduced Species, a composition exploring the environmental issues of the ocean trash vortex.
Join Associate Professor Ruth Barcan (Department of Gender and Cultural Studies, University of Sydney), composer Katy Abbott, conductor Iain Grandage and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra as they explore how rubber ducks helped us to understand global ocean currents and the state of our environment through music and visuals.
Katy Abbott is an Australian composer based in Melbourne. Abbott says of her music: 'In my music, I am trying to capture the little things that make us human or happen to us because we are human. I seek to unpack the human side of life; humour, foibles, quirky things we do and say, beauty, grief and friendship'.
Iain Grandage composes, conducts and performs. He has received the prestigious Sidney Myer Performing Arts Award, the Ian Potter Emerging Composer Fellowship, and has been composer-in-residence with the WA Symphony Orchestra, and musician-in-residence at the UWA School of Music, where he is currently an honorary research fellow.
He has won five Helpmann Awards for his work in the theatre — for best original score (Cloudstreet, The Secret River, When Time Stops), for music direction (Little Match Girl, Secret River), and has receieved six Green Room awards. His concert works are regularly performed in Australia and overseas, and he enjoys longstanding collaborations with The Black Arm Band, Gurrumul, Meow Meow, Tim Minchin and Eddie Perfect.
Sydney Symphony Orchestra
Resident at the Sydney Opera House, touring frequently, performing around 150 concerts a year to a combined annual audience of more than 350,000 — the Sydney Symphony Orchestra (SSO) is an orchestra of world standing. Performing in venues across NSW, the musicians of the SSO perform works from duets to massed Mahler symphonies for over 100 musicians, bringing the thrill of live orchestral music to the people of NSW since 1932!
Associate Professor Ruth Barcan is the author of Academic Life and Labour in the New University: Hope and Other Choices (Ashgate, Dec. 2013); Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Bodies, Therapies, Senses (Berg, 2011), Nudity: A Cultural Anatomy (Berg 2004), and the co-editor of Imagining Australian Space: Cultural Studies and Spatial Inquiry (UWA Press 1999) and Planet Diana: Cultural Studies and Global Mourning (Research Centre in Intercommunal Studies, UWS Nepean, 1997). She is the author of numerous articles in areas such as the body in culture, consumer culture, and teaching.