Hush Vol. 18 Collective Wisdom
- the Music
Together, we are better. That simple understanding sits at the heart of the Hush project, which is all about listening and combining the energies and expertise of clinical staff, patients and their families and carers to work towards better health outcomes. Collective Wisdom encapsulates what animates all of us at the Hush Foundation.
For the first time, we cast our net across the nation and sent twelve composers to do residencies and workshops in adolescent health units around Australia. The composers wrote music based on what they saw, heard and learnt. Here you have it performed by the ACO Collective. As always, the music is designed to transform healthcare environments, and to aid patients and those who love and look after them. These works were, in many ways, created jointly by the adolescent patients, the composers and the musicians of ACO Collective. I thank them for their inspiration and artistic generosity. I’m also grateful for so many other contributors who made this Hush album the exquisite offering that it is: the staff and musicians at the hospitals that took part, our sound engineer and producer, the cover artists, designers, and the Hush team. Hush itself is a collective effort, relying on the wisdom and goodwill of so many people. I thank every one of you.
Dr Catherine Crock AM
Producer and Founder, Hush Foundation
Physician, The Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne
Adjunct Professor, Deakin University
Meet the Collective Wisdom Composers
Dancing on Clouds
Paul Stanhope lives in Sydney and works at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. When he’s not working, he is hanging out with his wife Michelle, two kids Evan and Charlotte, their Burmese cat, Sophie and mad spoodle, Teddy.
"In composing a new work for this album, the process of working with young people at the Westmead Children’s Hospital School was inspiring. In our residencies, mentored composer Natalie Nicolas and I garnered responses from the young patients to inform our works. Brilliantly, Natalie engaged them through her great skills as a pianist and singer. Energy, optimism and the idea of overcoming struggle seemed to be key thoughts offered up as musical characteristics we might embrace. I’ve tried to capture these emotions and ideas in Dancing on Clouds, the title of which suggests an escape into fantasy – a place beyond fluorescent lights and hospital smells and even the forces of gravity, where anything is possible".
We Won’t Let You Down
"I got the call from the wonderful Paul Stanhope in late 2016 about being part of this life-changing project. Writing a piece to evoke catharsis perfectly complemented my Masters research at the time. As part of this project, I was
able to spend time understanding what life is like for an adolescent growing up in this hospital space. I bonded with these children – we spoke about life, hardship, art music, pop music and joy. We sang together and talked about what would lift us on our darkest days. I’ve never felt a more natural, rewarding, purposeful process than writing for Hush 18 with ACO Collective".
Natalie Nicolas and Paul Stanhope
Rachel Bruerville and Elena Kats-Chernin
Stuart Greenbaum and Caerwen Martin
Moon Feather Magic
"Composing is something I do each day. It unites me with musicians, listeners and, luckily, one day it led me to work with the Hush team. The Hush projects are proof that composing matters, that music can convey compassion, concern and care as well as aim to be artistically relevant. In Moon Feather Magic I wanted to create an air of lightness and optimism, hence there is much texture with plucked strings. The motifs are short and clear. There is a playful nod to Baroque, a style which I find calming. This piece sits at a time of the day when afternoon is ending and evening is beginning, just when the moon is starting to show its foggy light. And it gently leads into evening".
Dancing on Tiptoes
" ‘It’s like dancing on tiptoes, but knowing you’re never going to fall…’ – a quote from an insightful young person at Adelaide’s Women’s and Children’s Hospital, which sparked the inspiration for my piece, Dancing on Tiptoes. I hope it helps bring a sense of calm and optimism to anyone who is struggling. I am passionate about caring for the planet, and all animals, including people!
Challenging the stigma surrounding mental illness is so important for creating a kinder, more understanding world. Music can help create this world".
James Ledger and Olivia Davies
Katia Beaugeais and Matthew Hindson
The Rotation of the Earth
Stuart loves planet Earth. Mostly gets around by bike. Makes fresh pesto. Likes red wine. Does crosswords. Seeks beauty in music. Married a violinist. Has two kids. Believes in Hush.
"While we don’t directly feel the constant rotation of the Earth, we observe the Sun rising in the east and setting in the west. We synchronise our clocks to this daily cycle and organise our lives accordingly. Each new day brings something new, and this piece is written in the spirit of finding anything good, beautiful, joyous and worthy along the way".
Stars Come Out in a Midnight Sky
"Allow me to introduce myself properly. I am a cellist, composer, a passionate educator, and a mother of two who loves to wear black but owns a white cat. I love skin art and people who see things differently. I love to travel for music. The title Stars Come Out in a Midnight Sky is best referenced to a quote by Martin Luther King: ‘Only in the darkness can you see the stars.’ What I take from this is that during times of great trial and hardship, we reach an understanding of the magnitude of life. What I focused on in my writing was the stars aspect, not the darkness. I wrote for the young people that I met during my time at the hospitals while working on the Hush project, for they are all stars in their own right".
Maria is a composer, wife and mother, whose day job includes teaching composition and running a Conservatorium. She thinks that people should work hard and be kind to each other. Maria’s music is inspired by poetry, literature, art, and folk culture, and has been widely commissioned, performed and recorded by ensembles and orchestras.
"Knitting Unicorns brings together a teenager knitting rainbow-coloured unicorns in her hospital bed, and a little girl who loved to play with toy unicorns after her surgery. Maybe the magic of this mythical yet beautiful creature transports children of all ages to their happy place".
Thomas is a Hobart-based musician often found playing and watching tennis in his spare time.
"Glow refers to a natural phenomenon in Tasmania where water glows from bioluminescent plankton. The piece is composed to instil the sense of optimism that comes from experiencing nature within a pop music structure familiar to adolescents".
Thomas Misson and Maria Grenfell
Nothing Is Forever
Matthew is a composer and academic at the University of Sydney who has two very young children of his own.
"When Katia Beaugeais and I were interacting with our group of young people, there was the obvious contrast between adolescents in the grip of their particular struggles, and the vibrancy and positivity of those who had managed to come out ‘the other side.’ I wanted to capture this sense of optimistic progression in Nothing Is Forever. We must remain hopeful of a brighter future for everyone".
Like Snowdrops You Will Shine
Katia is a Vandoren Paris and Selmer Sax Artist, and apart from composing, her passion is performing new saxophone music by other Australian composers.
"Like Snowdrops You Will Shine refers to the white snowdrop flower that symbolises hope, optimism, courage and new beginnings for young people who are facing a challenging situation in hospital. Delicate ‘snowdrop’ motifs bouncing around the ensemble and calming seagull sounds serve as a distraction to reduce the stress and anxiety during treatment and rehabilitation".
"My introduction to Hush was in 2013 when I visited Cath at The Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne where she was looking after children with leukaemia. Then, in 2017, I found myself jamming with kids in Perth Children’s
Hospital. These experiences were both profound and humbling. My response to this is Daydream – a piece that attempts to be serene yet full of optimism".
"In the workshops at Perth Children's Hospital, we explored how music can represent the visual. Two things that continue to inspire me are natural
light, and sounds themselves. In Crystalline, single sounds emerge and disappear, growing into patterns that reflect the idea of scattering light.
Ultimately, I wanted to create a piece that was calm and that developed these ideas organically".
Meet the ACO Collective Musicians
ACO Collective is the Australian Chamber Orchestra’s critically acclaimed regional touring and education ensemble. Directed by brilliant Finnish violinist Pekka Kuusisto, ACO Collective combines Australia’s most talented emerging string players with the professional musicians of the ACO to create a high-energy 17-piece string orchestra that tours music and education activities to regional locations all over Australia.
These exceptionally talented ACO Collective musicians describe their experience of recording Collective Wisdom.
"Hush is such a worthwhile cause. It was a very busy week getting to know and recording 12 brand new pieces, yet one of the most rewarding projects I have been involved in with ACO Collective. It was an honour to be involved in this project, wonderful to get to know the composers I hadn’t met and to learn a bit more about Catherine’s amazing work with the Foundation. She is an inspiration".
"Why did I say yes to doing this project? I am fascinated by how many varied activities one can undertake as a musician, aside from playing in a concert hall wearing a suit. I have been playing with the ACO since 2015 when I was the Emerging Artist, so I saw this as an opportunity to continue learning from the best! Also, I really wanted to play with my high school friend Jack Ward who was also rostered on. I found the project exhausting but satisfying".
"It was an absolute privilege working with such talented musicians and composers to create something special for this incredible cause".
"Having heard previous Hush projects, and knowing what a huge difference they make, made me really excited to be a part of this recording. Working
alongside much respected and loved colleagues and friends was an awesome and uplifting experience. Music is an incredible communicator and can be so important to all our emotional processes, so to be able to contribute to work which connects in that way is very special".
"Recording this album for the Hush Foundation was very special to me. Throughout my childhood, hospital wards became my second home as my older brother’s health was so poor. To now be able to create something of immense beauty to inspire calmness and uplift the spirit of those suffering is something I hold very dear as a musician".
"As a musician, there is nothing that compares to being able to share our love of music with all types of audiences and to provide them with their own unique experience of varying emotions and feelings. Through Hush, we’ve been given a platform to do this in an accessible and far-reaching way, so that anyone and everyone can have the chance to press pause on their lives for a while and just relax and enjoy the ride that music can take you on".
"I was over the moon when I heard that there was the possibility of the ACO being involved with the Hush Foundation. The transformative nature of the Hush projects and their real-world application is deeply inspiring. This was an intriguing, multi-layered project which saw the ACO Collective collaborate with
six of Australia’s most respected composers, who not only created their own new works for the Hush Foundation but also mentored a stellar group of up-and-coming composers to create works inspired by Hush. Together, all involved worked with great focused intent towards the Hush vision".
"Growing up in a family of doctors, and my father a paediatrician working tirelessly in Queensland hospitals, this project lies close to my heart. Music has been integral to my life in making sense of the world, so the chance to share this with young people in care through Hush and the ACO Collective is something incredibly special".
"Adolescent mental health is a subject that is very close to my heart and it is comforting to know that the arts community are thinking of new and innovative ways to support young people going through a tough time. I particularly enjoyed this project because of the opportunity to showcase not only veteran Australian composers, but emerging young talent also".
"Being a part of the Hush Foundation project for 2018 was a fantastic opportunity to use our experience and expertise to hopefully bring some joy into the lives of some very brave people. To have the opportunity to work with some of Australia’s best composers, both established and up and coming, on new works created expressly for this project, was a once in a lifetime experience. Working with the ACO as well as some of Australia’s brightest young stars was an absolute joy".
"I loved all of the pieces and I really enjoyed playing. Everyone involved for this recording showed great teamwork and I loved sharing these talents to make beautiful music. We were all working in the same direction, very positive and happy, and also we all took this very seriously, playing our best for every piece. I thought often about helping all children in the hospital to have less pain, less fear and less suffering, and a good recovery when they are listening to our recording. When we finished the recording session, I felt so pleased to have been involved".
"Music has the power to transcend one’s mind, soul and imagination into other realms. Hush is instrumental in merging the worlds of medicine and music to alleviate the distress of patients in the hospital environment. I couldn’t say no to raising my instrument to this cause. There are so many layers to this project: helping to ease the minds of those in hospital; collaboration between young Australian composers and their mentors; and of course the beautiful and talented souls of ACO Collective which brought the music to life. All of these combined created such a strong and unified voice".
"It’s not often that my skills as a classical musician can make a real difference in people’s lives – especially those most in need. Hush 2018 was a rare privilege".
"Collaborating with such amazing artists and composers to create something that will go on to help and comfort so many people was an incredible feeling. Working on this album was a total joy and I’m sure that feeling will translate into the music on this album".
"My sister studied music therapy and in talking with her I came to realise the full scope and importance of this therapeutic medium. I was more than happy to donate my time to the HUSH Foundation and it was truly special to go through the recording process with a team of like-minded individuals".
"This was such an awesome opportunity to give back in such a different way. There was a ‘greater-than-the-sum-of-its-parts’ atmosphere and collaborating with so many established and emerging composers was the cherry on top. Bringing to life the stories and ideas from kids – who would directly benefit from this album – really gives insight into being creators of music, not just performers".
"What I loved about the Hush project was that it brought the absolute best out of everyone involved. For the musicians, it was music making with a shared goal, full of passion, to make the best recording we could for something bigger than ourselves. I hope to bring this attitude to everything I do in the future. I would therefore like to sincerely thank the Hush Foundation and ACO for this opportunity".