Federation Bells to ring to a new tune

Federation BellsMelbourne’s Federation Bells will chime a new tune this week when the winning entrant of the Federation Bells Composition Competition echoes throughout Birrarung Marr.

The competition was open to anyone who wanted to create an original piece of music for Melbourne’s iconic Federation Bells with John Coutts taking out first prize for his composition titled Whispers.

Chair of Arts and Culture at the City of Melbourne, Councillor Rohan Leppert, said the creative nature of Melburnians was evident in the quality and range of the compositions submitted.

“We received more than seventy entries in the competition this year, including submissions from Norway, The Netherlands and Romania” Cr Leppert said.

“The Federation Bells are a great attribute of Melbourne. They add a musical dimension to Birrarung Marr and make walking through the park an ever-changing and refreshing experience.

“I congratulate John on his winning entry and encourage people to head to Birrarung Marr to discover this magical instrument for Melbourne,” Cr Leppert concluded.

Writing and dabbling with computer music his whole life, competition winner John Coutts was overjoyed when he heard the announcement.

“It’s been very exciting to take part in this competition and to hear my work played in a public place. The Bells are special and never fail to fascinate passers-by. They are unique in being a large scale public instrument. Anyone with a computer can write and submit compositions. Each bell has its own character and the unusual tuning of the bells adds to their uniqueness,” John said.

Chris O’Neill’s Mantra was awarded runner-up and the judges also commended A Festival Fanfare by Will Larsen.

Located on the Middle Terrace of Birrarung Marr, the 39 bells were created for the centenary of Australia’s federation in 2001. The Federation Bells website allows people to compose music using an intuitive drag ‘n’ drop timeline or their own sequencer. Compositions can be submitted at any time.

A number of artists and organisations have collaborated with the Federation Bells including German producer Pantha Du Prince at last year’s Melbourne Music Week, Indigenous Soprano Deborah Cheetham and Circus Oz.

For more information visit www.federationbells.com.au for details.

Image: courtesy of the City of Melbourne

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