Celebration of Youth and Music

Date: 29/08/2002

The work of a University of Western Sydney poet and author has been adapted to music, in a Centenary of Federation gift to the public.

Peter Skrzynecki is a Senior Lecturer in Humanities at UWS Bankstown campus, and has published 14 books, on themes as varied as the immigration experience, spirituality, youth and the working class.

In 1998, Western Sydney-based charity ARS Musica Australis applied for a Centenary of Federation grant to produce a work of music, based on five of Mr Skrzynecki's texts, celebrating the characters of Australia, past and present.

The resulting 80-minute performance has been four years in the making.

It involves six young composers (including the University's Steve Watson), and more than 200 teenage musicians, choirs and soloists from two schools, MLC Burwood and Trinity Grammar at Summer Hill.

Mr Skrzynecki says it's a great honour. "It's not every day an academic work is transformed into such an impressive musical score. I'm pleased with the dedication not only of the schoolchildren involved, but also the conductor Richard Gill in keeping it all together."

"I think those attending will enjoy themselves immensely," he says.

NSW Governor, Her Excellency Marie Bashir, attended last night's opening event at Blacktown's Bowman Hall. Tonight, the performance moves to Parramatta's Riverside Theatre, where the special guest of honour will be the city's Lord Mayor, John Haines.

"The performances are a Centenary of Federation gift to the people of Western Sydney, and a chance to showcase the talents of some of our future musical stars," Mr Skrzynecki says.

Another of Mr Skrzynecki's works, "Immigrant Chronicle", has been included as a set text for the HSC. Mr Skrzynecki was also recognised in this year's Queens Birthday Honours, receiving an Order of Australia for his service to Australian multi-cultural literature.

For more information or requests for interviews:
Angela McIntyre
Senior Media Officer
Phone: 02-9678 7424
0419 244 595
Email: a.mcintyre@uws.edu.au