Sally Whitwell

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Sally Whitwell
Born 1974 (age 42–43)
Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia
Genres Classical
Occupation(s) Musician, composer, conductor, arranger, teacher
Instruments Piano, accordion, toy piano, melodica, harpsichord
Years active 1992–present
Labels ABC Classics, Universal
Website sillywhatwell.weebly.com

Sally Whitwell (born 1974) is an Australian classical music pianist, composer, arranger, conductor and teacher. She has released four solo albums, Mad Rush: Piano Music of Philip Glass (3 June 2011), The Good, the Bad and the Awkward (18 May 2012), All Imperfect Things: The Piano Music of Michael Nyman (6 September 2013) and "I Was Flying" (5 June 2015) all on the ABC Classics record label. All three albums have peaked in the top 5 on the ARIA Charts' Classical Albums.

At the ARIA Music Awards of 2011 Whitwell won the Best Classical Album award for Mad Rush: Piano Music of Philip Glass. In 2012 she was nominated in the same category for The Good, the Bad and the Awkward. She won the same category in 2013 for All Imperfect Things: Solo Piano Music of Michael Nyman. Virginia Read won Engineer of the Year for that album and was also nominated for Producer of the Year.

Biography[edit]

Sally Whitwell was born in 1974 and grew up in Canberra. She learned to play the piano on her grandmother's "imposing beast of an instrument", including "Cockles and Mussels" and "Wedding of the Painted Doll".[1] In the 1980s she had piano lessons where "a classical tuition is what you would receive".[1] She also studied bassoon but from the age of 16, she concentrated on the piano.[2]

Whitwell attended Canberra Girls' Grammar School,[2] then the Australian National University's School of Music and completed a Bachelor of Music with Honours in 1997.[3][4] She completed further studies at Sydney Conservatorium of Music for a graduate diploma in accompaniment.[2] During her time at university she also worked part-time, both as a solo performer on the cabaret circuit and as part of ensembles.[5][6]

During the 2000s Whitwell provided session work for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), whenever they wanted "something slightly left-field, or crossover, or contemporary".[1] By 2004 Whitwell provided piano for The Elizabethan Sydney Orchestra and their performance was included on an album by Various Artists for ABC Classics, Felix and Me: Musical Highlights from ABC Classic FM Breakfast.[7] In the following year she was one of the contributors to The Classic 100 Piano, a set of 8× CDs, with piano-based tracks selected by listeners to ABC Classic FM.[8] She has also been involved closely with Gondwana Choirs as an accompanist for over ten years.

In 2009 she contributed Spiegel im Spiegel, with Sally Maer on cello, for the soundtrack to ABC-TV documentary special, Bombora — The Story of Australian Surfing, which describes a history of the sport and the 1963 instrumental single "Bombora", by The Atlantics.[9] In 2010 Whitwell released "Roadtrip", a self-composed score for flute and piano.[10] She was inspired by "the train commute I make weekly from Sydney to a university teaching job in Newcastle".[10]

For three days in November 2010, Whitwell worked at the ABC's studios to record her debut solo album, Mad Rush: Piano Music of Philip Glass, which was issued on 3 June 2011 by ABC Classics.[1][11] For the album she utilised a 102-note piano crafted by Australian company, Stuart & Sons.[1][12] Melissa Lesnie of Limelight noted in August that the album of works written by minimalist composer, Philip Glass, had become a "surprise hit, not least thanks to Glass's broad appeal across genre and age divides".[13] Whitwell told Lesnie that the Stuart & Sons piano "allows so many colours, such subtle gradations of dynamics, that you can't get on another instrument in my experience. A Stuart sound is like crystal, yet it's very flexible".[13]

At the ARIA Music Awards of 2011 Whitwell won the Best Classical Album award for her debut album.[14] In December The Australian's Mark Coughlan described her interpretation as "excellent throughout this disc, going beyond mere notational accuracy to breathe life and shape into the music".[15] Stephen Eddins writing for Allmusic declared "[her] disregard for conventionality bubbles through just about every aspect of her recording ... surprising rhythmic emphases may make anyone familiar with the piece sit up and do a double-take, and her tempo is about 25% faster than Glass' version ... [s]he brings acute intelligence and sensitive musicality to each of the pieces, most of which have a delicately melancholy tone".[12]

On her second album, The Good, the Bad and the Awkward (18 May 2012), Whitwell played piano, toy piano, harpsichord, recorder, and melodica.[16] Its theme was cinema-based music from various feature films including The Hunger (1983), The Portrait of a Lady (1996), Amélie (2001), The Hours (2002), and Twilight (2008).[17] The Canberra Times' Ron Cerabona summarised her selection "[s]ome are pieces of classical music; others are from original film scores and she associates each of them with a particular character".[2] At the ARIA Music Awards of 2012 she was nominated for The Good, the Bad and the Awkward as Best Classical Album.[18]

Whitwell has worked with Nadia Piave on vocals (soprano) as the duo une fois seule! and they performed on the Musica Viva series of concerts.[19] In February 2013 Glass performed the world premiere of his Complete Piano Etudes at the Perth Concert Hall.[20] Whitwell joined Glass and Japanese pianist, Maki Namekawa, on stage to present the 20 etudes.[20] Whitwell played seven of the etudes and according to Elizabeth Howard at theMusic.com.au "[she] surprised classical dilettantes with her serene style and humble manner. Her interpretation exhibited a softness that suggested an introspective exploration of Glass’s compositions" .[21] Coughlan described her style "[p]erforming from memory, she brought a fluid, organic approach to the musical structures, crafting the repetitive note patterns into elegant phrases that subverted the music's mechanical drive. With excellent control of tone colour, she played with warmth, brilliance and delicacy".[20]

On 6 September 2013 Whitwell issued her third solo album, All Imperfect Things: The Piano Music of Michael Nyman, which was engineered and produced by Virginia Read. At the ARIA Music Awards of 2013 she won another Best Classical Music category; Read won Engineer of the Year and was also nominated for Producer of the Year.[22]

Personal life[edit]

As of October 2008 Sally Whitwell lived with her domestic and business partner, United Kingdom-born Glennda Blyth, a visual artist.[1][23] They ran a multi-art space in Sydney, The Sal-On, for lesbian artists.[23] In August 2011 Whitwell described Blyth as her "[g]irlfriend, or if you want to get technical about it, 'Fiancée'" and indicated they were due to seek a civil union.[1] Whitwell described her tattoos, which "have very personal meanings for me, but I also love them purely for aesthetic reasons".[24]

Discography[edit]

List of studio albums, with selected chart positions.
Title Album details Peak chart positions
AUS
Classical
[25]
AUS
Heatseekers
[25]
AUS
Australian Artists
[25]
Mad Rush 2 3 17
The Good, the Bad and the Awkward
  • Released: 18 May 2012
  • Label: ABC Classics
  • Formats: CD
3 15
All Imperfect Things: Solo Piano Music of Michael Nyman
  • Released: 6 September 2013
  • Label: ABC Classics
  • Formats: CD
5 19

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g Thatcher, Alex (August–September 2011). "Interview: Sally Whitwell". Fuse Magazine. Lithium Innovation (Alexander Thatcher) (24): 10–11 (cover story). ISSN 1836-8387. Retrieved 21 October 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c d Cerabona, Ron (3 July 2012). "Alive with the Sound of Movies". The Canberra Times. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 23 October 2013. 
  3. ^ Westwood, Matthew (29 January 2013). "Breaking the Glass Mystique". The Australian. Retrieved 22 October 2013. 
  4. ^ "Alumni Achievements & News: 29 January 2013". 15 October 2013. Retrieved 22 October 2013. ARIA award winner Sally Whitwell BMus (Hons) '97 is profiled on her career since her solo album Mad Rush .
  5. ^ Hoffmann, W. L. (3 November 1993). "Magical Start to Choral Evening". The Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 - 1995). National Library of Australia. p. 25. Retrieved 22 October 2013. With piano and organ accompaniment by Sally Whitwell and Les Davey, and with mezzo Kathryn Taylor as the soloist, it was an equally delightful realisation of these charming – and so-very English songs .
  6. ^ Kingma, Jennifer (10 January 1994). "Dance: Tap Number a Highlight of Musical". The Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 - 1995). National Library of Australia. p. 16. Retrieved 22 October 2013. at the Ausdance Summer School of Dance ... The pianist for classical ballet will be Sally Whitwell .
  7. ^ Robertson, Clive; Hayman, Felix; ABC Radio (Australia) (2004). "Felix and Me: Musical highlights from ABC Classic FM Breakfast". ABC Classics. National Library of Australia. Retrieved 22 October 2013. Performer: ... Elizabethan Sydney Orchestra, Richard Bonynge, conductor; Sally Whitwell, piano; Paul McMahon, tenor; ... .
  8. ^ "The Classic 100 Piano". ABC Classics. National Library of Australia. 2005. Retrieved 22 October 2013. Notes: Your 100 favourite piano masterpieces as voted by listeners of ABC classic FM .
  9. ^ "Bombora the soundtrack to Australian Surfing". Australian Broadcasting Corporation: Universal Music [distributor]. National Library of Australia. 2009. Retrieved 22 October 2013. 
  10. ^ a b Whitwell, Sally (2010). "Composer: Sally Whitwell". Reed Music. Retrieved 22 October 2013. 
  11. ^ Whitwell, Sally; Glass, Philip (2011), Mad Rush Solo Piano Music of Philip Glass, Australian Broadcasting Corporation: Universal Music Group [distributor]. National Library of Australia, retrieved 23 October 2013 
  12. ^ a b Eddins, Stephen. "Mad Rush: Solo Piano Music of Philip Glass – Sally Whitwell". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 22 October 2013. 
  13. ^ a b Lesnie, Melissa (7 August 2011). "Mad minimalist: Philip Glass — Sally Whitwell on why the American iconoclast's solo piano music has 'heart'". Limelight. Haymarket Media Group. Retrieved 23 October 2013. 
  14. ^ "2011 ARIA Awards Winners By Year". Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA). Retrieved 13 June 2012. 
  15. ^ Coughlan, Mark (17 December 2011). "Mad Rush: Solo Piano Music of Philip Glass (Sally Whitwell)". The Australian. Retrieved 23 October 2013. 
  16. ^ Whitwell, Sally (2012). The Good, the Bad and the Awkward (PDF) (booklet). Sally Whitwell. ABC Classics (Australian Broadcasting Corporation). pp. 1–12. 476 4898. Retrieved 22 October 2013. 
  17. ^ Whitwell, Sally (2012), The Good, the Bad and the Awkward, Australian Broadcasting Corporation: Universal Music Group [distributor]. National Library of Australia, retrieved 23 October 2013 
  18. ^ White, Niki; McEwan, Danielle (24 September 2012). "ARIA Announces the Fine Arts and Artisan Nominees for 2012" (PDF). Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA). Retrieved 29 September 2012. 
  19. ^ "Sally Whitwell". ABC Music (Australian Broadcasting Corporation). Retrieved 22 October 2013. 
  20. ^ a b c Coughlan, Mark (18 February 2013). "Craftsmanship of refined Philip Glass brings audience to its feet". The Australian. Retrieved 23 October 2013. 
  21. ^ Howard, Elizabeth (16 February 2013). "Philip Glass, Perth Concert Hall". theMusic (Street Press Australia). Retrieved 23 October 2013. 
  22. ^ "ARIA Noms + Fine Arts & Artisan Winners". Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA). 14 October 2012. Retrieved 21 October 2013. 
  23. ^ a b "Linear as Bent: Lesbian Spaces for Creativity". Evecho. Retrieved 22 October 2013. 
  24. ^ Timms, Cecilia. "Sally Whitwell Talks About Inspiration, Creativity and Her Personal Style". classikON. Retrieved 23 October 2013. 
  25. ^ a b c Australian charting: