Dance of the Bee is a creative collaboration between the composer/ beekeeper Martin Friedel and pianist Michael Kieran Harvey, drawing in three other pianists and choral voices – and joined by a transparent bee-hive, containing a colony of bees, which engages with the human performers through video and audio; an attempt at an interspecies collaboration ; a meditation on the complex and fragile relationship between us, Homo Sapiens and Apis Mellifera, the European honey bee.
Martin Friedel originally studied science before turning to music and has composed widely across many genres including theatre and film. He is unique among Australian composers in his series of works exploring and exploiting scientific material and history, composed since 1990, and premiered in the Astra series. The Dance of the Bee draws on science and the composer’s longtime pursuit of bee-keeping. Two colonies of bees live next to his work studio in Brunswick.
sample of work https://soundcloud.com/user-179487598
Michael Kieran Harvey was born in Sydney and studied piano with Alan Jenkins, Gordon Watson, and at the Liszt Academy, Budapest, under Sándor Falvai. His career has been notable for its diversity and wide repertoire and his own compositional practice. He has especially promoted the works of Australian and contemporary composers and recorded many CDs on various labels. https://www.australianmusiccentre.com.au/artist/harvey-michael-kieran.
Astra Music was founded in 1951 as a string orchestra of women musicians conducted by the immigrant Lithuanian violinist, Asta Flack. Under the musical direction of John McCaughey since 1978. Astra concerts are centred on the work of the Astra Choir and consistently involve new, original and unusual work. This work has extended from the media of choir and contemporary chamber music to other modes of performance, including, at different times, electro-acoustics, theatre and dance, film and video. Astra audiences have come to expect, in each program, a special mixture of works they have not heard before –embracing both the forefront of contemporary music-making and little-known repertoire from the past. Australian composers with diverse approaches are strongly represented. http://www.astramusic.org.au/.
The Astra Improvising Choir, directed by Joan Pollock, is a group within the Astra Choir that explores vocal materials and continuities from many sources.
Also performing in Dance of the Bee alongside Michael Kieran Harvey are regular contributors to Astra concerts, pianists Joy Lee, Peter Dumsday and Kim Bastin, Astra’s regular accompanist.