about Nova Ensemble

Nova Ensemble is a West Australian contemporary music ensemble consisting of six of WA's leading composer/performers. Formed by David Pye in 1983, Nova's range of activities has grown to encompass composition, commissioning, performance, touring, recording original Australian music, running workshops and building instruments. Through its annual program of events, Nova reaches out to people of all ages and backgrounds. In particular, its informal concert performances, work with school children, collaborative improvisation and exploration of the music of other cultures ensures that the ensemble appeals to a wide audience. The performance program in itself is far reaching, incorporating not only formal concerts but also contemporary music-theatre and dance-theatre collaborations which are presented for festivals and concert organisations throughout Australia and Asia.

Over the past thirteen years, Nova has become an important musical resource for many West Australian arts organisations, enabling them to enhance their program by incorporating in it original, and often live, West Australian music. Prominent amongst these organisations have been Chrissie Parrott Dance Company, West Australian Opera, Buzz Dance Theatre (formerly 2 Dance Plus), Festival of Perth, Musica Viva and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

For over ten years the members of Nova have been designing and building new instruments from a range of scrap plastic and metals. Nova's early work in the area of creative instrument design and performance was with the PVC instruments developed by AC\PVC in the late 1980's. A project exploring the use of scrap metal led to Junkelan and critical acclaim. Recent work has seen the development and refinement of the instruments built during the early1990's, and a gradual realisation of the potential of the instruments in works written for the collection.

The music composed for these instruments includes Boxes, Trash and Pockets (written for Musica Viva), Junkelan (written as part of a creative development grant from the West Australian Department for the Arts (ArtsWA)), Inventions and Etchings (commissioned by 2 Dance Plus), and Ritual Fragments and The Lament of Gilgamesh(commissioned by the Festival of Perth). Nova has performed this repertoire in the Festival of Perth, the Artrage Festival, Festival Fremantle, the Fairbridge Festival, Nova's Subscription series, many community concerts and over 300 primary schools throughout Western Australia, Northern Territory and Singapore. Most of the repertoire has been recorded and a CD Junkelan was released in 1998, with Pockets being released in November 2000.

Wherever the music has been performed it has proved accessible to the general public, sparking imaginations and an enthusiasm for creative music making.