A conversation with the conductor and page turner Kelly Lovelady
Artists have suffered tremendously from the pandemic. Many have lost their income and realized that the safety net protecting them is even more fragile than they had feared. Add to this the underlying socio-economic challenges that the cultural critic William Deresiewicz aptly depicts in his recent book, The Death of the Artist: How Creators Are Struggling to Survive in the Age of Billionaires and Big Tech. At first glance, the democratization of the arts through digital technology might let you conclude that “There’s never been a better time to be an artist.” Many artists, however, feel differently: There’s never been a worse time to be one. Despite (or in fact, because of) the gig economy, as well as the long tail of digital platforms and crowdsourced funding mechanisms, revenue for most creators is falling. They may now have “universal access” to the audience, but “at the price of universal impoverishment,” as Deresiewicz puts it.
As we are all desperately wanting to turn the page and open a new chapter, I spoke with someone who’s not just an artist but also professional page turner: London-based Australian conductor Kelly Lovelady. Lovelady is the founding Artistic Director of Ruthless Jabiru, a chamber orchestra dedicated to exploring humanitarian and social justice stories through new music to promote compassion, sustainability, and social consciousness. Continue reading →
When Eleanor Knight began researching her libretto for Silk Moth, she had to decide how to frame an opera about honour violence. Meeting women whose lives it had ruptured through the Iranian and Kurdish Women’s Rights Organisation, she confronted the usual images that accompany the dozen-or-so honour killings per year in the UK media. Between the ‘old, faded school photos’ that illustrate victimhood and the male perpetrators with ‘blankets over their heads … shoved into waiting police cars’, she saw a gulf of painful complexity. ‘What’, she asks, ‘of the mothers?’.1 Continue reading →
It’s summer opera festival season in the UK—so, are you a Glyndebourne or a Grimeborn person? Country house in Sussex, or a converted factory in east London? Mostly standard repertoire, or an adventurous programme with plenty of contemporary discoveries? Membership advised if you want to attend, or accessible pricing? Picnic on the lawn in the supper interval, or walk round the corner to the finest Turkish kebab joints in town? Continue reading →
Ruthless Jabiru presents Bushra El-Turk’s hard-hitting opera Silk Moth alongside works by Liza Lim and Cassandra Miller at the Arcola Theatre in London’s East End, August 9-11. Composers Edition’s Dan Goren caught up with the pioneering musical director Kelly Lovelady to find out more.
Dan Goren: Tell me how you’ve come to be producing this first fully-staged production of Silk Moth and what drew you to it.
Kelly Lovelady: I had been wanting to programme something of Bushra’s for years so when I had the chance to dream up some new programme ideas I went through her works list with a fine comb. The instrumentation of Silk Moth for a single vocalist and mixed ensemble of four Western and Middle Eastern instrumentalists struck me as an Continue reading →
London chamber orchestra Ruthless Jabiru will deliver Silk Moth, its first fully-staged production for fringe opera stalwart Grimeborn Festival at London’s Arcola Theatre over a five performance season from 09-11 August 2019.
A story of vulnerability and complicity told through the music of Bushra El-Turk, Liza Lim and Cassandra Miller, Ruthless Jabiru’s Silk Moth will examine the complex tragedies of honour crime, family violence and female (dis)empowerment in Britain and beyond. Continue reading →
Ruthless Jabiru is an all-Australian chamber orchestra based in London. It is the brainchild of conductor Kelly Lovelady, who in recent years has geared the ensemble towards political and environmental concerns. Previous projects have highlighted environmental damage in central Australia and the campaign to end sponsorship by oil companies in the arts sector. For Saturday’s concert, Lovelady and her colleagues turned their attentions to the humanitarian crisis of refugees setting out for Australia by sea. Continue reading →
This weekend I will conduct a musical programme in solidarity with our brothers and sisters seeking asylum by sea in the beautiful chapel of King’s College London.
My ensemble Ruthless Jabiru is a London chamber orchestra dedicated to humanitarian stories. A dual advocacy for contemporary composers and Activist narratives reflects our citizen duty as artists to engage ever more deeply with the world around us; giving voice to the truths of our allies, interrogating the accountability of our leaders and championing solidarity in all its forms.
As I collect my thoughts on another International Women’s Day I have been reflecting on the cult of familiarity and how deep it runs. In concert music culture we are dogged by this Continue reading →
London chamber orchestra Ruthless Jabiru will use its forthcoming performance to foster a revival of empathy towards refugees.
Centred around the world premiere of The Drowners, a major new orchestral song cycle by British-Australian composer Andrew Ford, the project will honour tidal forces and the many lives lost seeking asylum by sea. This focal work will be framed by the music of composers Nicole Lizée, Rosalind Page, Wolfgang Rihm and Fausto Romitelli to conjure a muted submarine dreamscape: a dark world of distorted gravity, out of body experience and ominous fantasies of the inner ear.
Ruthless Jabiru is an ensemble uniquely dedicated to exploring humanitarian, sustainability and social justice stories through the music of contemporary composers. Using orchestral Continue reading →