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Composer Jon Rose hits out at Gallipoli centenary flag-waving

Jon Rose Credit:
Graham Strahle
| April 27, 2015

Experimental violinist composer Jon Rose has stood out against much of the flag waving that has accompanied this year’s centenary of the Gallipoli campaign, and has questioned the way Australia celebrates its identity through such a battle against a people who posed no threat to this country.

He says in the program notes accompanying his newest composition, Picnic at Broken Hill for detuned piano and video: “I would argue that sending 60,000 young men (8,000 of whom would die) to the other side of the world to invade a country that had never done any harm to any Australian state, and then to turn the resulting defeat and fiasco into an annual “nation building” celebration, is not just bizarre, it’s hideous.”

Picnic at Broken Hill was premiered in a concert entitled Silence Augmenteth Grief by pianist and artistic director Gabriella Smart of Adelaide’s Soundstream Collective. The work is a MIDI programmed musical transcription of two suicide letters left by protesting former cameleers who opened fire on a picnic train travelling near Broken Hill in 1915 – the so-called Battle of Broken Hill in which six people died.

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