Nothing can stop the music for Brisbane’s Katie Noonan. Not winning five ARIAs or being nominated 27 times, not producing 20 albums, not seven platinum record sale moments, or being named as one the greatest Australian singers of all time.
Because music is in her blood, and her next sound adventure may just be her biggest as she launches AVÉ – Australian Vocal Ensemble – a national first acapella quartet focused on celebrating old and new Australian stories.
AVÉ sees Katie joined by three extraordinary, internationally renowned artists in Mezzo-Soprano Fiona Campbell (Perth), Tenor Andrew Goodwin (Sydney) and Baritone David Greco (Sydney).
“There is nothing like AVÉ in Australia. We plan on being an elite chamber ensemble of international excellence, but one that is warm and welcoming to all,” said Katie, who said creating AVÉ had been a dream of hers for years.
“We will champion new Australian works on every tour, engage with our First Nations Communities at every concert and engage with local communities at every concert.”
“I want to illustrate Queensland’s integrous creative leadership by establishing Australia’s only, professional classical vocal quartet. I believe it is vital to use the human voice to tell the stories of our time and place, and to encourage our audiences to use their voice.”
“Some of the greatest internationally lauded classical voices in the world come from Queensland including singers like Gladys Moncrief OBE, Donald Smith OBE, Margreta Elkins AM and the QLD Conservatorium’s own Lisa Gasteen AO.”
“I want to celebrate that extraordinary tradition and make our mark on the national and international stage, alongside three extraordinary fellow artists,” said Katie.
Katie has proven herself one of Australia’s most hardworking, versatile and prolific artists, spanning diverse genres, leading from the front as an artistic director, from the stage as an acclaimed performer and from behind the scenes, nurturing fellow performers and programmers. She has performed for royalty, national and international leaders, and blazed a trail for young women artists.
Music, for her, is a lifelong lesson and a means to change the world. And so, it begins with AVÉ – a world class vocal quartet combining four of Australia’s finest vocalists. She said AVÉ’s repertoire, like the Australian culture, would be a unique blend of the old and the new.
“The OLD will be represented in the glorious spiritual music of the late Renaissance and the early Baroque – the golden age of vocal polyphonic writing, while the NEW will be the modern music of the 20th and 21st Century, with a particular focus on new Australian music,” said Katie.
She said every performance will feature new Australian works and engagement with our First Nations People. “We aim to create an unparalleled music experience for audience members – a chance to explore new Australian composers, a chance for audiences to find their own voice and a chance to hear Indigenous songs of their own country alongside late Renaissance and Baroque masterpieces and brand new works.”
“Yes, we are dreaming big – starting a new arts organisation in the middle of a global pandemic, but as Uncle Kev Carmody so eloquently said, from little things, big things grow, and we have big and bold dreams,” said Katie.
These dreams include employing singers, commissioning 10+ Australian composers per year, working with some 250 vocal students and 450 community singers each year, mentoring an emerging quartet, performing to 3500 regional audience members across Queensland and to a national metropolitan audience of more than 5000 each year. It will be a full schedule.
Already she has commissioned works from Richard Tognetti, Iain Grandage, Stephen Leek, David Hirschfelder, Connor D’Netto, Thomas Green, Alice Humphries, Zac Hurren, Anne Cawrse, Jessica Wells and Robert Davidson and the proof is in the numbers – 50% are Queensland composers, 30% are female and 100% are Australian.
AVÉ’s debut album release is planned for August this year, AVÉ will tour nationally in September, and on Saturday 10 April at the Queensland Conservatorium Theatre, AVÉ will perform their inaugural launch concert with the Welcome to Country performed by Yuggera, Turrbal, Nunukul, Gorenpul, Yugembir songman Shannon Ruska and Wakka Wakka musician David Williams.
KATIE NOONAN – Soprano and AD
Over the past 20 years, five-time ARIA award-winning artist Katie Noonan has proven herself one of Australia’s most hardworking, versatile and prolific artists. Named one of the greatest Australian singers of all time by the Herald Sun, Katie has produced 20 albums over her career with 7 x platinum record sales under her belt and 27 ARIA award nominations that span diverse genres.
FIONA CAMPBELL – Soprano
Proclaimed “Outstanding” and “Best Mezzo in Australia” by The Australian, this “Diva Extraordinaire” and multi award winning performer Fiona Campbell is one of Australia’s most versatile and beloved singers. A mother, Producer and ABC Presenter, accomplished international performer, recitalist and recording artist, Fiona has consistently entranced audiences and received wide critical acclaim for her powerful performances and exquisite musicianship.
ANDREW GOODWIN – Tenor
Andrew Goodwin was born in Sydney, Australia, and studied singing at the St Petersburg State Conservatory. His career as an operatic tenor has seen him embrace a wide range of roles at some of the world’s greatest opera houses, including La Scala Milan, Gran Theatre Liceu Barcelona, Teatro Real Madrid and the Sydney Opera House. Notably, he is the only westerner to perform the role of Lensky at the Bolshoi Theatre.
DAVID GRECO – Baritone
ARIA Award-nominated baritone David Greco has sung on some of the finest stages across Europe, and has appeared as a principal in the world’s most exciting opera festivals including Festival Aix-en Provence and Glyndebourne Festival Opera. In 2014, he became the first Australian appointed to a position with the Sistine Chapel Choir in the Vatican, Rome. David regularly appears as a soloist with Australia’s finest ensembles, and his solo-albums of Bach and Schubert on ABC Classics label have received critical acclaim.
AVÉ – Australian Vocal Ensemble – Launch Concert
Queensland Conservatorium Theatre, 140 Grey Street, South Brisbane
Performance: Saturday 10 April 10 2021
For more information, visit: www.australianvocalensemble.com for details.
Image: David Greco, Katie Noonan, Fiona Campbell and Andrew Goodwin (supplied)