On the Couch with Kate Neal

Kate Neal oncWho is Kate Neal?
I’m a freelance composer, living in Melbourne. I returned from the US in 2013, where I was living for a few years as a graduate fellow at Princeton University. It was a terrific experience and also great now to be back in Australia. I have two great kids and a scientist husband. I’m very lucky to be working on some excellent projects and collaborations that keep me totally engaged. I’ve loved working on this current project (Semaphore) about signaling, traveling around and meeting ANZAC veterans has been a highlight.

What would you do differently to what you do now?
Eat less sugar and follow recipes. 

Who inspires you and why?
My mother – she’s happy and kind.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
Try and be helpful to anyone around me who is suffering.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
Mountains in winter: love walking and skiing.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
ACCA, ACMI – because they always stimulate good conversation.

What are you currently reading?
Medea’s Curse – easy read, violent crime is very relaxing!

What are you currently listening to?
Afel Bocoum, Tinariwen, Boubacar Traore

Happiness is?

What does the future hold for you?
Small steps forward, trying to keep things in balance. New commissions in the coming years for the Song Company; Sound Collectors; INVENIO and Tam Saulwick; Sal Cooper; Lisa Moore.

Kate Neal studied early music at the Victorian College of the Arts, graduating in 1996 with a Bachelor of Performance in Early Music Instruments (recorder).

She received a NUFFIC scholarship from the Dutch Government in 1998 and moved to the Netherlands to study composition with Louis Andriessen at the Koninklijk Conservatory, and Carnatic (South Indian) music studies at the Sweelink Conservatory, Amsterdam. She returned to Australia in 2003, establishing her events company Dead Horse Productions. Other appointments have included the Victorian College of the Arts, and as a Graduate Fellow at Princeton University, where she created a substantial body of work.

Kate is the recipient of various awards, fellowships and scholarships, including the Accademia Musicale Chigiana (Italy), Hephzibah Tintner Fellowship, Albert Maggs Composition Award, the International Young Composers’ Meeting, the Aspen Music Festival. In 2015, she  was awarded a Fellowship from the Australia Council for the Arts, which will enable six new substantial new works and collaborations.

She has enjoyed working as an orchestrator and arranger for many pop and rock bands as well as feature and independent films, choreographers and dance companies. Recent commissions and performances include: Handke (Vanessa Tomlinson, 2014), Permission to Speak (Chamber Made, 2015/16), What Hath I and II (SO Percussion USA 2011/12), This Moment of Inertia (Crash Ensemble, IRE 2013), Piano and Bells (Yarn Wire USA 2013), Three pieces for Animation (JACK Quartet USA 2011), The No. 5 Song (Room Full of Teeth USA 2013), Particle Zoo II (Large Ensemble AUS/USA 2010), Piano Duo (Viney-Grenberg Duo AUS 2012-13-14).

Kate’s large-scale theatrical work, Semaphore will premiere at Arts House – North Melbourne Town Hall from 27 May 2015. For more information, visit: www.artshouse.com.au for details.

Image: Kate Neal