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Acclaimed composer Kevin March awarded 2023 UKARIA residency

Image: supplied by Kevin March
One of Australia’s most sought-after music residencies – the UKARIA residency – has been awarded this year to accomplished composer Kevin March. His work will develop a re-imagined fusion of art song and modern multi-media (photography and video/lighting) evoking the power of individual and collective transformations we have undergone to find meaning.

The UKARIA residency is proudly delivered by the Australia Council in partnership with UKARIA, and this year will support the delivery of March’s The Unknown Swimmer.

The Unknown Swimmer will be a 30-minute multi-media song-cycle/theatrical work for soprano/speaker, chamber ensemble and digital environments, based on selections from soprano/poet Judith Dodsworth’s anthology of the same name.

The deeply moving autobiographical work depicts Dodsworth’s own profound transformation as she ventures into cold-water swimming to recover from a serious mental health crisis experienced during Covid restrictions, and reconnects to her creativity.

March said the mix would be a unique and valuable addition to Australian art music, bringing together Dodsworth, flautist Laila Engle, cellist Campbell Banks and percussionist Dr Louise Devenish, with digital environments by award-winning photographer Jason Reekie, and video/lighting design by Justin Gardam.

“It is both an honour and a privilege to be awarded a UKARIA residency. The Unknown Swimmer is a project that is close to the hearts of the creative team, and I can’t wait for the time we’ll have together at UKARIA to experiment with and refine the piece,” Kevin March said.

“Ideas that result in successful collaborations need time and space to gestate and evolve and be tested, to grow into something beyond what any one of us may have been able to produce alone. The UKARIA residency gives my collaborators and me exactly that: time to think, space to experiment, and room to refine. My fellow artists and I are grateful for the opportunity this residency affords.”

CEO of UKARIA Alison Beare said: “Our partnership with the Australia Council has brought many new artists to UKARIA. It encourages cross-artform collaborations and it’s always exciting to observe the creative process and witness new work being born!”

Australia Council Head of Music Kirsty Rivers said:

“We are delighted to be able to help support, through the UKARIA residency, Australian music artists and composers to develop new, inspiring and evocative works. Through our ongoing partnership with UKARIA – a state-of-the-art music setting in the picturesque Adelaide Hills – artists are given a unique opportunity to immerse themselves in their craft to produce something that will speak to audiences not just in Australia, but likely around the globe.”

Opened in 2015, UKARIA provides a unique regional setting, only 30 minutes from Adelaide, for exceptional musicians and composers to think, develop, collaborate and create.

The opportunity supports residencies of up to ten days at the cultural centre and provides financial support for the creation of new work.

The residency program between the Australia Council and UKARIA is proudly supported by Ulrike Klein AO.

More information about current opportunities and residencies are available here.

Media enquiries:
Sean Brogan
Media Manager
Australia Council for the Arts