Hidden Thoughts 1 (Resources)

Some of you generously contributed your hidden thoughts to Hidden Thoughts: reality's near edge.  It is now complete.

Following a rehearsal and recording at UKARIA Cultural Centre and ABC FM Adelaide in February 2018, the work has been recorded with amazing Song Company and Syzygy Ensemble.

A podcast of the (almost complete) recording is done and includes an interview with me by Stephen Adams from ABC FM's New Waves Podcast.  You can download the episode from the New Waves Podcast or listen here: http://www.abc.net.au/classic/new-waves/katy-abbott-hidden-thoughts/9773070

A score is available here through The Australian Music Centre.

Finally, Hidden Thoughts 2 and 3 are in train and more details on the way…

Introduced Species resources

Introduced Species (2013) commissioned by Melbourne Symphony Orchestra has had a variety of resources developed which I will list here for teachers, students and those interested.


Score and Parts

Composition Analysis and Teacher Resource: prepared by the composer.

  • includes analysis and discussion of writing process
  • Composition exercises for the classroom
  • 30-page document with musical examples
  • Available on this site

4-minute animation by 3 animators responding to the music of Introduced Species: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-xl2eXzkE3A

Archival Recording: https://soundcloud.com/sydney-symphony/introduced-species-archival-rec-luke-dollman-melbourne-symphony-orchestra

Representing Plastic - Blog Piece by Assoc. Prof Ruth Barcan (Centre for Gender and Cultural studies, Sydney University) about the Vivid Festival / Sydney Symphony event with Introduced Species

More resources are currently being developed for this work and will be added to this page.

Performances of Introduced Species to date:

  • March 2014 (4 performances) Melbourne Symphony Orchestra / Dollman
  • March 2015 (4 performances) Melbourne Symphony Orchestra / Dollman
  • June 2015 (1 performance) Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra / Northey
  • October 2016 (1 performance) Univeristy of Melbourne Symphony Orchestra / Russell
  • May/June 2018 (8 performances) Sydney Symphony Orchestra / Grandage
  • May 2018 (Vivid Festival/Sydney Ideas) Sydney Symphony Orchestra / Grandage


Hidden Thoughts Update

Although this project has taken longer than expected, the music is in its finishing stages.  Using the hidden thoughts of women, collected by anonymous survey, this work will have its first outing in 2018.  More details on this site in time. It's very pleasing to be on this side of the project and I dearly hope the music adds depth to the beautiful and raw words that were given to me.  The Song Company and Syzygy Ensemble will have the music by end of November and lucky us –we are rehearsing at the stunning UKARIA in February.

hidden thoughts Logo small.jpg

ABC FM New Waves Podcast Feature

This link will take you to the ABC FM New Waves Podcast where I was interviewed about my work and the recent International Composer Rostrum.  My 2015 piece for cello and vibraphone Re-echo was selected as one of three works to represent Australia at the 2016 edition of the Rostrum in Poland in May.

Stephen Adams: New Waves PODCAST with Katy Abbott June 2016

More details in the interview which includes the gorgeous recording of Re-echo with Claire Edwardes (vibraphone) and Julian Smiles (cello).

The score for Re-echo can be found at The Australian Music Centre site.

Hidden Thoughts Update

Thank you to those who have participated in the Hidden Thoughts anonymous survey over the past little while.  I've been gobsmacked by your generosity of heart.  I've had a huge amount of responses and the nature of the responses means I have plenty to ponder and reflect and use. The thoughts have been overwhelmingly generous and are all of the following: quirky, hilarious, gut-wrenching, confessional, thoughtful, polite, real, sad, sweet and very corageous. I've literally cried and laughed and wondered about you all.  Thank you.  I feel the weight of responsibility to do a great job representing your thoughts and mostly feel honoured that you shared them.  Lots of big sentiments here today but I do mean it.

I'm writing the piece now.  It is a 1 hr piece for The Song Company and Syzygy Ensemble.  It will be complete by the end of 2016 and we are now looking at performance for 2017.  As I mention this work to the people, I'm asked to keep people up-to-date and so I will include details of performances on this site.

The piece will be titled Hidden Thoughts: Reality's Near Edge.

The survey will remain open for the duration of 2016 until the writing is complete.  Please share it.

New discs

New discs

In the last 4 months, several pieces have been published on disc.  It's always terrific to be included on other people's discs and so I thank all these wonderful ensembles and organisations for commissioning and / or recording these works:

Midnight SongsEnsemble Three (includes my major work as the title track for flugel, trombone and guitar)

Making SignsSyzygy Ensemble (includes Sunburnt Aftertones, one of my very early and favourite pieces)

SoarGondwana Chorale (includes 'Fool' and 'Angry' from Words of Wisdom)

KingfisherHalcyon (includes Follow Me Through The Shadow: text by Jen Storer).

These albums can all be found on the discs page here.

New Year / New Name

This week I have changed my name by adding a significant family name to my last name.  I am now Katy Abbott Kvasnica.  Pronounced Kva–sni–tsa with the emphasis on the 'Kva'.  

Click here to be taken to a Soundcloud recording of the pronunciation.

Many of the necessary changes have already occurred (such as through University of Melbourne and the Australian Music Centre) to reflect my new last name.  I will be slowly making changes to my website and other relevant places over the coming months.  It's probably still worth googling with 'Katy Abbott' though as google gets used to the new name too.

Please ask me about the pronunciation as many times as you need!

November News

Following the premiere of Flying for The Song Company's All Leunig Almanac Tour of NSW and ACT, there are quite a few things happening: 3 new pieces out on disc (watch this space), a new piece for Gondwana Chorale for the National Choral School 2016 where I will be Program Director for the Composition Stream and lots of work being done on my Hidden Thoughts project for The Song Company together with Syzygy Ensemble.


Image: Thom Fraser (2015)

Image: Thom Fraser (2015)

Three animators respond to the music of Katy Abbott’s symphony Introduced Species.  Excerpts from movements 2 and 3 are heard here.  Paul Fletcher, Robert Stephenson and Thom Fraser use different styles of animation to capture the intention of the music.

The music takes its original launching point from a painting by artist Matthew Quick, Intrepid Travellers (2010) which depicts the 1992 event when almost 29,000 bath toys fell from a cargo ship travelling from Hong Kong to USA.

Movement 2 (Plummet) depicts the rubber duck bath toys falling from the ship amidst sun and glistening sea-spray.  

Movement 3 (Trash Vortex) references the ocean garbage patch in the North Pacific Region which is host to an enormous amount of the world’s rubbish / trash.

See animation on YouTube

For more information about the musical work Introduced Species including a free download of the analysis of Introduced Species, please visit ‘Resources’ or 'Introduced Species' at here.

More info about the artists:
https://vimeo.com/digitalcompost (Paul Fletcher)
https://vimeo.com/user4009253 (Robert Stephenson)
http://tomfraser.info/223805/about (Thom Fraser)
http://matthewquick.com.au/intrepid-travellers/ (Matthew Quick)

'Hidden Thoughts' Survey: Participants required

Would you like to hear your thoughts in performance?

I'm exploring the 'hidden thoughts' of women and will feature them in the piece.  The survey is completely anonymous and totally voluntary.  

This project is supported by Melbourne Conservatorium of Music and Australia Council for the Arts.

Begin Survey here

I'll be writing for The Song Company (Syd) and Syzygy Ensemble (Melbourne) and I'm thrilled to bring these to dynamic ensembles together.  

Thanks to Kaz Cooke for help with the survey design!  Please share the survey with your female friends from Australia and overseas.


Introduced Species Cover

I'll be posting some resources on this page occasionally.   To begin, here is a 30+ page analysis and process diary for secondary classroom use to accompany Introduced Species.  It was commissioned by Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.  The teacher resource document, is an in-depth look into the work, the compositional process and provides relevant active listening and composition activities for the classroom.  

The document has a various functions and could be utilised by way of familiarising students with the piece before the performance or as a resource for extended study in analysis and composition following the presentation and performance. The resource can be 'dipped into' as required or used as a whole.  Extra-musical topics include sustainability, creating intention and visual art and its relationship to music. Click HERE to download.

Upcoming performances in schools are with Melbourne Symphony Orchestra in March 2015 and with Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra in Hobart in June 2015.  Details on the Events page.

The score is available for purchase or hire through Australian Music Centre.

Midnight Songs on ABC FM 'Sunday Live'

Ensemble  Three

Ensemble Three

Ensemble Three will present a live broadcast concert on Sunday 23rd November. My major work for flugel horn, trombone and guitar Midnight Songs, will be included in the program. I hope you can join me at the live broadcast or listen in on ABC FM 1pm.  Live audience information can be found here: http://www.abc.net.au/classic/content/2014/11/23/4125158.htm. Also on the program, works by Andrew Ford, Percy Grainger and Christian O'Brian. 

Introduced Species

'Intrepid Travellers' (2010) from Matthew Quick's series  Introduced Species.

'Intrepid Travellers' (2010) from Matthew Quick's series Introduced Species.

Taking inspiration from watching artist Matthew Quick design and paint this work, as well as the story behind it, my orchestral work for Melbourne Symphony Orchestra began to take shape.  Matthew Quick has painted a series of incredible works titled Introduced Species depicting beautiful backgrounds with arresting and juxtaposing 'introduced' images which tell an often complex story. My work, alongside the background story to this painting, explores the Trash Vortex (North Pacific Garbage Patch) in the context of the near 29,000 bath toys that fell from the Ever Laurel cargo ship in 1992.  The piece was premiered this year by the MSO / Dollman and also introduces various 'extra' elements to the music.

The Peasant Prince

Last week I heard that my work The Peasant Prince for narrator and orchestra, will be performed for the first time in my home city of Melbourne in January.  Details and ticketing information here soon.  The Peasant Prince follows the story of Li Cunxin (Mao's Last Dancer) using the text from his children's book The Peasant Prince (Penguin Australia).  

This work was also performed last June by Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra / Northey with guest appearance from Anne Spudvilas who did the gorgeous illustrations for the book which were highlighted on a screen behind the TSO.

Recent Performances

Alison Morgan, soprano and co-director of Halcyon along with Josephine Allen, piano, performed the full cycle of The Domestic Sublime at Bellingen Festival in September. This work also was performed in Perth in August with Lisa Harper-Brown and David Wickham.

Midnight Songs (for flugel, trombone and guitar) has also received a few airings this year when Ensemble Three toured to Sydney International Brass Festival and China.  They have also performed it numerous times in Melbourne including Melbourne Conservatorium of Music Lunch-time Concert Series.  It's recorded and awaiting mastering! 




Welcome to the new Katy Abbott Website.

Thanks to Roundhouse Creative for designing this great new site and also an acknowledgment to Nicholas Purcell Photography for photography. I hope you enjoy exploring and listening to the works on my new site ... Katy Abbott