Nigel Westlake’s symphonic song cycle with Lior,  Compassion, premiered in 2013 and has enjoyed a rich performance history since, with performances coming up at WOMADelaide and the Four Winds Easter Festival. The composer speaks to Limelight about how the work was created and why its message is still relevant today.

Lior and Nigel Westlake perform Compassion Lior and Nigel Westlake performing Compassionwith Sydney Symphony Orchestra. Photo © Ken Butti

Before we talk about Compassion, can I ask the inevitable question: what was your 2020 experience like?

It was quite challenging, there were a lot of postponements and cancellations. I was due to spend a lot of the year working on a film that wasn’t made, but I believe is hopefully going to be made this year.

Is that the Tim Winton film you’re recording the soundtrack for with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra?

That’s correct,  Blueback. I believe it’s in shooting progress at the moment in Western Australia – fingers crossed for that. There were a number of conducting engagements that were cancelled. I tried to use the time to revise some earlier works and...