Bachelor of Music graduate (Hons 1999) Natalie Williams was recently commissioned to compose a new symphonic work honouring the life and achievements of Australian icon, Sir Donald Bradman AC.
Presented by the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra (ASO) on 14 August, the multi-media orchestral tribute, Our Don was interwoven with stunning archival video, and words by Bradman biographer, Peter Allen.
Natalie’s specially commissioned score was conducted by fellow graduate Luke Dollman (BMus (Hons) 1996) and included a performance of Golijov’s Songs by another distinguished music graduate, Greta Bradman (BMus 2002, BA (Hons) 2004), acclaimed soprano and grand-daughter of the cricketing legend.
Natalie’s relationship with the ASO has been a long and fruitful one, having written five new orchestral pieces for them since 1999.
“As a South Australian composer and artist, I am thrilled and humbled to be chosen to create this new multi-media orchestral work,” says Natalie.
“The opportunity to celebrate the life of a truly great Australian (and South Australian resident), Sir Donald Bradman, has been a wonderful experience.
“His life and achievements meant so much to the nation and I am honoured to have this chance to tell his story through musical means.”
Natalie hopes that this piece becomes a part of South Australian history itself and the first of more orchestral works that celebrate the lives of great Australians.
Currently based in the United States, Natalie is working as a visiting Assistant Professor in Music Composition and Theory on the faculty of the Hugh Hodgson School of Music, at the University of Georgia.
Following her undergraduate degrees at the University of Adelaide and graduate study at the University of Melbourne, Natalie sought further graduate training (international) in composition. She was accepted into the doctoral degree at the Jacobs School of Music, Indiana University in 2006 and has lived between the USA and Australia since then.
Natalie has been privileged to work with the Omaha Symphony orchestra and the Atlanta Opera and is currently serving as the National Student Chapters coordinator for the Society of Composers, Inc., overseeing the activities of student composers across the country.
Along with this, Natalie teaches graduate and undergraduate music theory classes, counterpoint, harmony, composition and also assistant-directs the new music ensemble at the University of Georgia.
Reflecting upon her studies, Natalie says that it was at the University of Adelaide’s Elder Conservatorium of Music where she established foundational skills and techniques for her future career.
“It was here that I was first exposed to the plethora of sounds from the twentieth-century musical literature, and encouraged to listen and explore widely,” she says.
“My teachers were inspiring mentors who taught me to have an open mind, listen to everything, read everything, assess everything and ultimately make my own artistic decisions from a wide aesthetic basis.
“Their guidance and expertise remained influential steps in my development as a composer and I am indebted to them for their mentorship during my undergraduate years.”