Bronze Age musical instruments and Australia's catastrophic bushfires have inspired Professor Andrew Schultz's dramatic composition for the Sydney Symphony Orchestra's tour of China.

One of Australia's foremost contemporary classical composers, Professor Schultz – Head of UNSW’s School of Arts and Media – told Uniken he discovered the inspirational collection of Bronze Age instruments on a trip to Munich.

“Four years ago I came across a wonderful collection of ancient musical instruments in the Deutsches Museum,” says Schultz.

“They included a Lur from the Bronze Age and some more recent Serpents.

“These old brass instruments have extraordinary primal shapes drawing on the horns of great beasts and the curves of snakes. While at the Museum I wrote a short poem in my sketchbook:

Sound lur and serpent. Strike drum and gong. Run! Fire breathes to swallow. Flee, while flee you can.

“A few months before that, the weather bureau issued Australia’s first ‘catastrophic’ bushfire rating. The two things – the presence of fire and the signalling power of brass and percussion – merged in my mind. The result is my most recent composition Sound Lur and Serpent, for brass and percussion, Opus 98 (2014).

The Sydney Symphony Orchestra, conducted by new Chief Conductor, David Robertson, will present the first performance of Sound Lur and Serpent in Shanghai this week as part of the Orchestra's month-long tour of China.

Read the article in The Sydney Morning Herald.

Media contact: Fran Strachan, UNSW Media Office, 9385 8732, 0429 416 070

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