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Sarah Hopkins

The Austral Voices compilation, produced by Stephen Scott, is a collection that seeks to highlight the Australian avant-garde. It includes pieces for telegraph wires, tuning forks, computer-driven piano, whirly, cello, and ruined piano. In Sarah Hopkins's "Cello Chi," excerpted here, she incorporates harmonic singing, bowed harmonics, and circular didgeridoo bowing in a piece that is inspired by the Tai Chi. In many ways, it is the subtleties of Hopkins's wide range of instruments that augments her pieces and makes them truly spectacular. She often uses didgeridoo or whirly instruments -- pieces of corrugated tubing -- in her works. She notes the additional influence of the "natural, unhurried rhythms of the environment of the Northern Territory." The resonant strains of her cello reflect Australia's vast landscape in delicately shaded emotional layers.

Hopkins was born in New Zealand in 1958 and moved to Sydney in 1964. She studied at Sydney Conservatorium and received a degree from the Victorian College of the Arts in Melbourne. "As a composer-performer," she says, "my desire is to create music which resonates with the space and energy of the Australian landscape as well as the inner landscape of the human psyche." Hopkins's "Sky Song" music, which she co-composed with Alan Lamb, was featured on Australia's 2000 Olympics bid CD.