Choral adventurer Paul Hillier brings Australian music to international attention.

Anne Boyd:  As I crossed a bridge of dreams(excerpt).
Paul Hillier, Ars Nova Copenhagen


In the 1970s, when Australian composer Anne Boyd began exploring traditional Japanese music as a source of inspiration in her work, her ideas were met with skepticism and even ridicule. “People were highly critical and suspicious,” she says. “They thought a Japanese influence would breed weak music – the proper grafting for a young Australian composer should have been onto European modernism.”

But in 1975, during a concert at London’s Wigmore Hall, the Eastern flavour in Anne’s vocal work As I crossed a bridge of dreamscame as a revelation for one young singer in the audience. “It does stick in my mind very clearly as a special moment of recognition,” Paul Hillier recalls. “It wasn’t exotic or strange or weird, but at the same time it was definitely fresh and had the sense of coming from somewhere else.”

The English baritone has founded and directed some of the most celebrated vocal groups to emerge in the past 40 years, including The Hilliard Ensemble (touring Australia...