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Exploring Tasmania's History and Landscape in music for children's Performance: Don Kay’s There Is an Island (1977)


Caldwell, H and Philpott, C and Grenfell, M, Exploring Tasmania's History and Landscape in music for children's Performance: Don Kay's There Is an Island (1977) , Context, 48 pp. 1-20. ISSN 1038-4006 (2022) [Refereed Article]

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DOI: doi:10.46580/cx46584


Tasmanian composer Don Kay (b. 1933) has made a significant contribution to music in his island state and in Australia more broadly in a career spanning over six decades. Many of his works explore aspects of Tasmania’s landscape and history, especially its Indigenous past, and of his 300 works, approximately ten percent are designed specifically for children to perform. Through these latter works, Kay has made a substantial contribution to educating children about locally relevant topics, a practice often overlooked within the context of art music and education. Kay’s works are regularly performed and held in high regard, particularly in Tasmania; however, his music has rarely been discussed in detail in the literature before now.

In this article, we begin to address this gap by examining one of Kay’s most successful works for children to perform, There is an Island (1977), within the context of his work as a composer and educator. Drawing on primary data collected from the composer via interviews and surveys, relevant existing literature and our analyses of the score and recording of There is an Island,the article aims to illuminate the processes Kay has employed to write music for children that connects them with Tasmania’s landscape and history; and to demonstrate the ongoing relevance and significance of such work within Australian music.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:music, Tasmania, Don Kay, composition, children's Performance
Research Division:Creative Arts and Writing
Research Group:Music
Research Field:Musicology and ethnomusicology
Objective Division:Culture and Society
Objective Group:Arts
Objective Field:Music
UTAS Author:Caldwell, H (Ms Holly Caldwell)
UTAS Author:Philpott, C (Dr Carolyn Philpott)
UTAS Author:Grenfell, M (Associate Professor Maria Grenfell)
ID Code:155364
Year Published:2022
Deposited By:Office of the School of Creative Arts and Media
Deposited On:2023-02-16
Last Modified:2023-02-16

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