OMPHALO CENTRIC LECTURE

Posted By : Jeff Moore
Piece Title : Omphalo Centric Lecture
No. of times Viewed (August 2017) :19
Total No. of times Viewed :1416
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Dificulty Rating :
Level : Senior / Graduate
Composer / Arranger : Westlake, Nigel (1958-)
Composer / Arranger Details:

HOW IT ALL STARTED

 

For more than 3 decades, Nigel Westlake has been a prominent figure in the field of music. Born to parents having professional music careers, Nigel Westlake expressed interest in the same craft.  He left school at the age of 16 to study music. His father, Donald Westlake is a famous Australian musician & principal clarinetist with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra from 1961 to 1979, to whom he studied clarinet with. At the age of 17 (1975), Nigel Westlake made his first professional recording with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra as the group`s bass clariner player in Stravinsky`s Rite of Spring. He also toured around Australia and other parts of the world to play with ballet companies, circus troupes, chamber music groups, fusion bands and orchestras. Music became his passport to key cities such as London, New York, Rome, Washington, Tokyo, Beijing, Paris, Amsterdam, Vancouver, Moscow, Hong Kong, Berlin, New Delhi and Singapore. 


WESTLAKE AS A COMPOSER

 

Westlake`s interest in composition started in the late 1970`s. It was then when he started to form a classical/jazz/world-music fusion band, Magic Puddin` Band, to play original music. Most of his compositions were premiered in his band. It was also then when he started getting composition offers from radio and the Flying Fruit Fly Circus. Offers for TV and film eventually followed. In 1983, he decided to pursue advanced studies in contemporary music in the Netherlands. He became a clarinetist of the Australia Ensemble at the University of New South Wales from 1987 to 1992. In 1992, he became a performer and composer for John Williams`s group, Attacca as they toured United Kingdom and Australia. These opportunities made him decide to focus on composition. Generally, his music encompasses a wide range of genres, including theatre. However, major part of his composing output has been concert hall works for soloist, chamber ensembles and orchestra.


FILM AND TELEVISION CREDITS

Westlake gained a lot of credits as he entered film and television. His music became an important part of movies such as MISS POTTER, BABE, BABE - PIG IN THE CITY, CHILDREN OF THE REVOLUTION, A LITTLE BIT OF SOUL, THE NUGGET and the Imax films ANTARCTICA, IMAGINE, THE EDGE & SOLARMAX. For television, he worked on the music of famous documentaries, telemovies, news programs and station ID`s. Also, some of his compositions were able to penetrate the Sydney Olympics 2000 as these were used in feature international T.V. broadcasts.


AWARDS

Westlake`s music also wowed the entertainment critiques as his creations gain recognition around the world. Most of his creations were used in hit movies such as Babe and Miss Potter. In fact, the world-renowned Beatrix Potter biopic Miss Potter won the "Feature Film Score of the Year" & "Best Soundtrack Album" at the 2007 APRA / AGSC Screen Music Awards. He also won the Gold Medal at the New York International Radio Festival and numerous APRA and Screen Composer Guild Awards. Babe, which became an international hit, won the `Best Feature Musical/Comedy` at the Golden Globe Award in 1996. In 2004, he was awarded the HC Coombs Creative Arts Fellowship at the Australian National University.


WESTLAKE`S CONDUCTING DEBUT

Westlake did not miss the chance to do conducting. It was in 1997 when he started conducting and it was with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra.


LEGACY

Westlake has gotten a long way in his craft. His works, in fact have been performed by:

John Williams, London Symphony Orchestra, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, The Takacs Quartet, The Australia Ensemble, Michael Kieran Harvey, Synergy Percussion, Amsterdam Percussion Ensemble, Trilok Gurtu, New York Percussion Quartet, Craig Ogden, Slava Grigoryan, Leonard Grigoryan, Timothy Kain, Karin Schaupp, , Goldner String Quartet, Elektra String Quartet, Macquarie Trio, Sydney Symphony, Melbourne Symphony, Tasmanian Symphony, The Queensland Orchestra, West Australia Symphony, Australian Chamber Orchestra, Saffire, Guitartrek, Ogden Tanner, The Seymour Group, Australian Virtuosi, The Academy of Melbourne, Simon Tedeschi, Ensemble Aark, Percadu, Rebecca Lagos, & Catherine McCorkill, Schoenberg Ensemble, Berlin Philharmonie, 4-Maility Percussion quartet.

 

and conducted by :

 

Kent Nagano, Paul Daniel, Richard Hickox, Markus Stenz, Ola Rudner, David Porcelijn, Yaron Traub, Jean Louis Forestier, Richard Gill, Brett Kelly, Benjamin Wallfisch, David Stanhope, Vladimir Verbitsky, Andrew Litton, Michael Christie & John Demain, Reinbert de Leeuw

Omphalo Centric Lecture (1984), his opus one for percussion quartet has become one of the most frequently performed and recorded works in the percussion repertoire by groups in the USA, Japan, Europe and Australia.

Recently in 2008, he formed the Smugglers of Light Foundation in memory of his son Eli, which promotes storytelling through film and music in youth and Indigenous communities.

Total Number of Percussionists Required :4 Percussionist(s)
Categories : Percussion Ensemble
Instrument / Discipline : Marimba
Instrumentation : Shaker
Range of Instruments / Number of Drums : 4 1/3 Octave Marimba, 3 Pitches on Log Drums
Written for / Commissioned by : Synergy, an Australian percussion group
Permission given for Youtube video by Copyright holder
and Youtube Channel Owner. Recorded / Provided by:
 Coming Soon - Pending Copyright Authorisation
Accompanied :N/A
Publisher :Rimshot Music
Publishers Website :http://www.rimshot.com.au/
Publisher Details :

Rimshot Music. Publishing and distributing music by Nigel Westlake

Year Composed / Copyright Date :1984 /  1984
Duration :9Minutes
No. of Mallets/Sticks Required :2, 4, Various
Special Needs :None
Sheet Music Available From :www.steveweissmusic.com/product/23761/mallet-ensemble#full-description      Check to see if in stock
Programme Notes / Performance Details :

Originally, Omphalo Centric Lecture was composed for two percussionists and a bass clarinet which is a trio performance. Later on, it was reworked for a quartet and published for four marimbas. But there had been versions wherein the piece is performed using different arrangements of instruments. There were also versions of this piece done for six or more percussionists and even for a duo provided there is an electronic accompaniment.

This piece is composed of eight minutes of 16th notes. The African Balofone (African counterpart of xylophone), being one of the historical origins of marimba, has become one of the influences in some of Westlakes creations including Omphalo Centric Lecture. This is where he got inspiration especially with the pieces rhythmic and melodic structure. This is clearly manifested by the persistent ostinati of various lengths, cross  rhythms and variations on simple melodic fragments. Rhythm, energy and movement are the three key points that made this piece similar to African music.


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Member Reviews / Comments
Posted By : Jeff Moore    Date Posted: 26 February 2009 04:15:00 AM
Omphalo Centric Lecture is strongly influenced by the African Balofon, but might also have roots in funk and progressive rock (which of course have also been influenced by African music). To say that the piece is eight or so minutes of sixteenth notes is only partially accurate. The piece incorporates persistent ostinati, polyrhythm and asymetric meters within a severly tonal harmonic structure -- the result is both interesting and invigorating. Omphalo Centric Lecture was inspired by Paul KLEE
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