The University of Melbourne
Singing Stone Booklet 20240425 v1.0.pdf (13.69 MB)

Singing Stone

Download (13.69 MB)
posted on 2024-05-28, 12:19 authored by Ken MurrayKen Murray, Laila Engle, Merinda Dias-Jayasinha, Don ImmelDon Immel, JOEL BRENNANJOEL BRENNAN

Streaming on: Spotify | YouTube | AppleMusic

Leading Australian guitarist Ken Murray performs the music of celebrated Indigenous composer Christopher Sainsbury in this musical journey across the Australian landscape. On this album he is joined by University of Melbourne colleagues Joel Brennan (trumpet) and Don Immel (trombone) Ken Murray has been commissioning and premiering new music for the guitar for decades, bringing his exceptional technique and deep artistic engagement to collaborations with a wide range of contemporary composers, from Australians Matthew Hindson and Stuart Greenbaum to Dai Fujikura in Japan and Hawai'ian Kanaka Maoli sound artist Leilehua Lanzilotti. On this album he celebrates an artistic partnership with Dharug (Eora) composer Christopher Sainsbury that has lasted for twenty years. Sainsbury's extensive portfolio of compositions ranges from the opera The Visitors, for the Victorian Opera Company, and orchestral works for the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and the Australian Chamber Orchestra, to solo and chamber works for flute, oboe, clarinet, piano, harp and carillon, and even an album of ambient surf music, but he has a particular love of the guitar – an instrument he plays himself – and draws on his intimate knowledge of guitar timbres and textures to create intensely beautiful and moving works. At the heart of this album is the song cycle 'Brackish Songs', featuring the ethereal vocals of Merinda Dias-Jayasinha: a reflection on the interrelationships of cultures and heritage, place and song, inspired by the mingling of salt and fresh water in mangroves and estuaries. The title work, 'Singing Stone', brings in trumpet and trombone with amplified guitar to explore the intense connection with Indigenous ceremony and song in the sandstone country of the Dharug people of the northern Sydney basin. 'Pacifica' uses a simple, drifting theme to evoke both the waves of the Pacific Ocean on Australia's east coast and, playing on the meaning of the word 'pacific', a sense of movement both towards and away from peace. 'My Eye Has Seen My Desire' explores the natural poetry of the voices of parishioners at Sainsbury's local church: the music of individuals coming together into community yet never losing their own uniqueness. 'Simple Truths' offers a moment of stillness and mindfulness, with pulsing chords from the guitar ebbing and flowing like waves on sand. And 'North Country Sketches', its title a light-hearted nod to the English composer Delius, paints a series of musical miniatures of Australia's 'top end', the Northern Territory.


Add to Elements

  • Yes

NTRO Output Type

  • Recorded or Rendered Work

NTRO Output Category

  • Recorded or Rendered Work : Audio / visual recording


Melbourne, Australia

NTRO Publisher

ABC Classic


Audio Recording

Research Statement

The album SInging Stone is a major research output and the culmination of twenty years of collaboration with leading Australian composer Christopher Sainsbury. This album is the first commercial recording made of all of these work and fills an important gap in Australian music. This album is a carefully curated program of new music that highlights the breadth and quality of the music of Dharug (Eora) composer Christopher Sainsbury. The recording shines alight on his work and the central role of the guitar in his music. The album SInging Stone has been released on Australia's most significant recording label for classical music, ABC Classic. Tracks from the album have been played multiple times on ABC FM and a very positive review has been published on the Music Trust's E-zine Loudmouth

Size or Duration of Work

65min 04sec


Ken Murray, University of Melbourne

Usage metrics

    Non-Traditional Research Outputs (NTROs)


    Ref. manager