Kate Moore wins prestigious Dutch composition prize for CIMF commissioned work “The Dam”

Dutch-Australian composer Kate Moore (1979) has been named the winner of the biennial Matthijs Vermeulen Prize for her work The Dam, awarded by the Netherlands Foundation for Stage Arts. She is the first female composer in the history of the award to receive this honour.

Acclaimed composer Kate Moore. Photo by Johan Niewenhuize.

Acclaimed composer Kate Moore. Photo by Johan Niewenhuize.

Kate Moore (1979) was born in Oxford UK and grew up in Sydney. She is an alumna of the ANU School of Music and the Sydney Conservatorium. She appeared as composer-in-residence at the 2015 Canberra International Music Festival. The Dam was commissioned by the Festival with the assistance of long-time supporter Betty Beaver, and given its premiere at the Opening Gala of the 2015 Festival, conducted by Artistic Director Roland Peelman. The work featured both baroque and modern instruments including saxophone, electric guitar and didgeridoo. One of the most memorable Beaver Blazes of recent festivals, the work is inspired by the natural sounds of cicadas, frogs, birds and insects in the bush in the vicinity of a dam in regional NSW. The work has since been adapted and performed in UK and Holland where the composer has spent most of her time during the last 15 years.

"The Dam is based on the rhythms of the sounds made by cicadas, crickets, frogs, birds, flies, spiders and other creatures that inhabit a waterhole in the bush," says Moore in her program notes about the composition. "Far away from human intervention, their evening song becomes a great choir joyously singing out into the vast universe. It is possible from far away to hear where the waterhole is without being able to see it and it is also possible to hear the shape of the landscape around it as many tiny creatures create a sonic pointillistic landscape. I am attracted to the almost but not quite polyrhythmic tapestry of sound they create."

The biennially-awarded Matthijs Vermeulen Award is the most prestigious award in Dutch music composition. Past recipients include Louis Andriessen, Otto Ketting, Micha Mengelberg and Michel van der Aa. Moore is currently in Holland for the premiere of a major new oratorium 'Sacred Environment' as part of the Holland Festival. She will be presented with the 20,000 Euro prize in December during the “Dag in de Branding” Festival in The Hague.

Canberra International Music Festival herewith extends warmest congratulations to the composer, a rising star in the international music world.