Decibel new music ensemble’s Artistic Director gives insight into an electro-acoustic-inspired programme.

Composer and concert pianist Roger Smalley (1943-2015) spent the majority of his adult life in Perth, Western Australia where he taught composition at the University of Western Australia from 1976 on the invitation of Frank Callaway. On his retirement in 2007 he left Western Australia to live in Sydney.

The legacy he left to Australian music is hard to quantify, but it is significant. Smalley came direct from the burgeoning European scene, and made significant contributions to Western Australian musical life through his composing, virtuosic piano performances, concert programming and conducting for ensembles such as the WASO Twentieth Century Ensemble. In many ways, he is the father of late 20th/early 21st-century music composition in Western Australia: the University of Western Australia began its music degree in the 1970s and Smalley developed the composition school within that.

Before he came to live in Perth, Smalley formed part of an important electro-acoustic quartet named Intermodulation,from where this concert borrows its name. Founded in 1967 with Tim Souster (viola) and musicians Peter Britton (percussion) and Robin Thompson (reeds), this was composer-performer group was inspired by the likes of AMM, Soft...