On the Couch with Irine Vela

Irine VelaWho is Irine Vela?
I am a composer, musician, arts worker and currently working as a creative producer for Outer Urban Projects.

What would you do differently to what you do now?
Work and practice more efficiently, exercise more and take a few more risks….

Who inspires you and why?
My mother and father, brother and sister and closest of friends. Their wisdom, intelligence, humour, patience,  unconditional love,  generosity  and kindness inspire me to try to match their qualities.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
Nothing more than I am doing now.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
Willunga South Australia because I love the countryside and landscape, its beaches, vineyards, olive groves and more importantly because my closest of friends and their family live there.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take then to, and why?
I  would simply take them to Melbourne because  the city of Melbourne is in  itself is a great attraction.

What are you currently reading?
I am reading The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon.

What are you currently listening to?
I am listening to Gill Scott Heron, the album Neology by the Massive Hip Hop Choir and local duo Foxy and Ta who work with outer urban projects.

Happiness is?
Smiling and laughing.

What does the future hold for you?
I don’t know specifically, but I do know that it will hold both sadness and happiness in all areas of my life.

Irine Vela is a composer, music director, librettist, arts writer, community cultural development worker and creative producer. Irine’s work emphasises the validity, necessity and excitement that diverse voices and forms bring to the Australian arts.

She has collaborated with many of Australia’s finest performers, writers, directors and companies. Her work as creative producer for A.R.A.B and now OUP has conceptualized, originated and enabled many fertile collaborations – including Massive Hip Hop Choir, Melbourne Youth Music and The Centre for Poetics and Justice.

She has also secured substantial funding for many projects with outstanding outcomes: Suburban ExChange at the Melbourne Recital Centre in 2011, and Poetic License at Signal 37 in 2013.

Her film and television credits include: Head On (feature film), Remembering Country (documentary drama SBS), and the mini-series The Slap (ABC). She received the 2012 APRA Screen Music Award for Best Sound Track Album for her work on The Slap.

Other notable collaborations and productions include the award winning Who’s Afraid of the Working Class, Do Not Go Gentle and her music drama 1975-A Populist Opera for which she also wrote the libretto.

Her choral opera Little City was acclaimed by both music and theatre critics and garnered her an Award from the Australian Music Centre for Best Composition by an Australian Composer. She is also the recipient of the Tropfest film award for Best Original Score.

She was awarded a 2007 State Library fellowship to research and create the multi-media music drama – Australia in Danger – a slide night. She is founding member of the haBiBis. Their CD Intoxication received an ARIA award for Best World Music Album.

Irine is currently working as Creative Producer and Musical Director on Urban Chamber – Beyond, an Outer Urban Projects collaboration with Barkly Arts Centre MASSIVE Hip Hop Choir at the Melbourne Recital Centre in the 2013 Melbourne Festival.

For more information, visit: www.melbournefestival.com.au for details.

Image: Irine Vela

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