‘The Abbotsford Mysteries’ project involves the composition and recording of a new piece of contemporary art music, which will be distributed as a free podcast to help visitors to the Abbotsford Convent gain a deeper understanding of its complex history through music.
Patricia Sykes’ book of poetry ‘The Abbotsford Mysteries’ (2011) is a moving account of life for the various girls and women inhabiting the Convent during its period as a monastic site (1863-1975). These funds will support Patricia and Andrew Aronowicz to complete this commission in 2018, ahead of a live performance in 2019 with leading contralto Liane Keegan, and contemporary ensemble Plexus.
The musical setting of ‘The Abbotsford Mysteries’ will engage audiences with the history of the women and girls who lived and worked at the Abbotsford Convent during its time as a monastic site, sharing this important part of Melbourne’s history through a new musical composition. The unique presentation mode – digital dissemination via a web-hosted podcast – will be an innovative format for audiences to experience the composition in their own time. Patricia Sykes herself was a child at the Convent, and interviewed over seventy ex-residents to research her book of poetry that forms the libretto. Although the project has significant support from Creative Victoria and Abbotsford Convent Foundation, further funds are still needed to support the writing, workshopping and rehearsal process of this work.
We will aim for the work to be recorded in early 2019, alongside capturing audio for the accompanying podcast. The launch of the composition in podcast form will coincide with a public premiere of the work, which will take place at the Abbotsford Convent in mid-2019. Updates will be posted on social media, building an online presence to support the eventual launch of the podcast. Any funds raised will be used to support the commission of this piece. This project is generously supported by the Abbotsford Convent Foundation as a part of their Convent Live program.