Anne Norman Profile

Breath-130406-07mediumFor a brief bio, go to: Anne Norman's 2016 bio

Anne works in a diverse range of music creation as a shakuhachi (bamboo flute) performer, improviser and composer. Originally trained on flute (BMus, Melb Uni), Anne took up the shakuhachi in 1986 while a member of the Kobe Philharmonic Orchestra. Forming the ensemble “Kansai Wagakki Players” with members from eight different nationalities, Anne wrote arrangements of classical and folk Japanese music. In 1990, following a Masters in Ethnomusicology at Monash University, Anne received a two year grant from the Japanese Government to continue her studies of shakuhachi performance at the Tokyo University of the Arts. Anne has studied three lineages of shakuhachi music from Nakamura Shindo, Tajima Tadashi and Yamaguchi Goro. Anne also took master clases with Yokoyama Katsuya. In 1992 Anne was awarded first prize in the `Overseas Students Music Contest of Japan' (Japan International Cultural Exchange Foundation.) Anne’s performances in Japan include recitals of her own compositions for Japanese instruments and collaborations with dancers and calligraphy artists, actors and musicians.

Anne performed two concerts in a WWII Oil Storage tunnel under Darwin in August 2015 as a pilot project to test the acoustics and viability of the tunnel as a live music venue. These concerts were well received and resulted in the CD "Beneath the Surface," leading to the creation of Tunnel Number Five: A Festival of Underground Music in August 2016. As Artistic Director, Anne drew together a diverse range of artists for a series of five resonant subterranean concerts. For more information and reviews:

Anne's recent compositions for solo shakuhachi include Rain Now and Then, and Whispered Shadows - featuring simultaneously sung vocal lines in polyphony with the shakuhachi; a duo for one. Composition commissions include: ‘Life’ a shakuhachi sextet premiered in 2004 in Japan by the International Shakuhachi Research Centre; 'We Lose Things’ for shakuhachi, double bass and power-pole bells (Australia Asia Foundation AAF) performed in Japan and Australia and in a live broadcast on ABC FM; ‘Sylvia’s Chalice’ for the Federation Bells at Birrarung Marr (Melbourne Festival & State Government of Victoria); ‘Inner States’ for solo koto (published by the AMC and used as a teaching resource in schools); 'Heat Wave' for massed shakuhachi (Shakuhachi Festival, Melbourne); ‘Deep Sea Divers’ for shakuhachi and pre-recorded material, and an electro-acoustic piece ‘Ask Not ~ Fear Not’ for clarinet, shakuhachi and power pole bells in collaboration with Brigid Burke (AAF). 'Dance in Our Memory' for choir & strings commissioned by Woodleigh School; Anne's composition 'Spaces' for recorder was performed by Rachel Cogan at the First Composing Women's Festival in Melbourne, & was later recorded by Greg Dikmans and performed in Europe by Jeanette Hajncl.

Anne has performed with a wide range of performance artists including musicians trained in traditional and contemporary Japanese music, European art music, jazz, free-form impro and musicians of various cultural heritages. Anne has composed, improvised and performed music in collaboration with visual artists, dancers, actors and poets, and has performed in a number of collaborations in Australia, Japan, America and Europe. From 1993 to 1999 Anne was Artistic Coordinator of the group Nadoya, working on dance theatre productions involving fusions of music and movement art (neo-butoh). Her duo Questing Spirit (with harpsichordist Peter Hagen) performed for Prime Minister Koizumi in Sydney in 2002. In 2012 she performed with Fine Blue Thread in Quartetthaus, and in Province, France with bassist Barre Philips and the ensemble EMIR.

Anne also performs for children in primary and secondary schools, touring all states of Australia through “Nexus Arts”, both as a solist and with Toshinori Sakamoto (taiko drums). In 2012 she was en board musician for the Japanese cruise company Pacific Venus. Anne also dabbles in instrument construction using found objects and is a sculptor of works made from wood. In response to research trips throughout Asia, Anne wrote, illustrated and self published her first book Curiosi-tea in 2009. A second edition is being developed as an e-book. See for info on her book Curiosi-tea. This project has lead to numerous performances in the role of Tea Raconteur, and the elusive Camellia Cha – Avatar of Tea, incorporating music performance on Japanese, Chinese and Indian flutes as well as kalimba and song. The current incarnation of her tea raconteur work is a theatrical presentation Nonchalant Bombasi-tea with Adam Wojcinski.

Anne has worked with other composers, premiering their works for shakuhachi. These include: Callings by Tokyo composer Sato Yoko for shakuhachi and 21 string koto; Doug Gibson's work Essence with the Silo string quartet (winning audience choice) in the World Shakuhachi Chamber Music Composition Competition, 2008; and several works by Melbourne composers for shakuhachi and harpsichord. Anne has also collaborated with David Pye, the Pi Ensemble and Alan Lamb in WA in several projects involving scored and improvised elements. Flautist Kathryn Moorhead and Anne recorded the duo Acadia by New York composer Elizabeth Brown; Anne is performing Becoming by Joanna Selleck in 2013 at the Melbourne Recital centre with Merlyn Quaife, Jerzy Koslovski, Dean Sky-Lucas and the Silo quartet. Anne is featured on many CDs and her music is broadcast on national and local radio including live broadcasts for the ABC.

Theatre credits include: the Melbourne University Theatre production: Zero Sum 1993; Zen Cowboys in the Sydney & Melbourne International Festivals with 'The Men Who Knew Too Much' 1994; several contemporary movement theatre pieces directed by Greg Dyson such as Atsumori performed in Melbourne and Sydney 1995; Nadoya Music and Dance Company in the outdoor program of the Melbourne International Festival for 5 years 1993 to 1999 and their music-dance theatre show Kagome performed in theatres in Melbourne and Sydney; Chika – a documentary performance by Mayu Kanamori in the Malthouse (Melbourne) and the Performance Space (Sydney); An Afternoon Absurdi-tea at the OzAsia Festival 2010 – written and directed by Anne with nine supporting musicians including Tenzin Choegyal, Wang Zheng-Ting, Josh Bennett and Jay Dabgar.

Festivals include: Adelaide Festival of the Arts, Melbourne International Arts Festival / Melbourne Festival, Sydney Festival, Canberra Chamber Music Festival, Trondheim Festival (Norway), Tallinn Festival and Parnu Festivals (Estonia), International Shakuhachi Festival (New York), Bisei International Shakuhachi Festival (Japan), Sydney World Shakuhachi Festival, Sounds Outback WA, Shinju Matsuri Pearl Festival (Broome), OzAsia Festival (Adelaide), Port Fairy Spring Music festival, the Eel Festival (Lake Bolac); the Sea Festival (Frankston); Composing Women’s Festival (Melbourne).