lunes, 3 de diciembre de 2007

Betty and the snakes

Too many things happening lately. The most important was perhaps my first visit to Brisbane, to the Queensland Conservatory of Music. I was invited as a speaker on the panel for the conference about music and its relation to government subsidies and the audience. A classic theme, so to say !
I also gave a solo piano concert there on the 23rd of November , with programs of Australian & Spanish composers : Peter Sculthorpe, Elena Kats Chernin, Betty Beath, Barry Conyngham, Vincent Plush, David del Puerto, Jesus Rueda and Polo Vallejo. The most memorable event is perhaps Betty Beath’s invitation to her beautiful & rustic house at the bank of the river the day after the concert (which also happened to be a historical day for Australia, since the general elections were held and the Labour party won ! Hallelujah ! So, down with the Liberal party after like … what, 20 years or so ?). We had a very nice breakfast in their backgarden before they went to the polls in the afternoon. She lives there with her husband, David Cox, who is an illustrator of children’s books and gave me several books for my daughter. Apparently I am the third Indonesian who visited their house ; the previous two were, (oh, such a small world !) the poets Goenawan Mohamad and Sapardi Djoko Damono ! Betty has set some poems of Goenawan Mohamad to music. She is one of Australia’s prominent composers of today, and I am a huge fan of her music, and have played them in many of my concerts in Europe.

They are beautiful people and such a charming couple, and they love Indonesia. She has written a piece which I played in the concert the previous day, called “Merindu Bali”. Their house is so full of Indonesian things, and they even built a bamboo fence surrounding their house. I felt very much at home there, like in a village in Central Java, you know.
The really scary thing about her house is that it is in the middle of the route for the snakes when they go to the river to have their morning bath. So they receive visits of those beautiful (yikes !) creatures almost every day, and sometimes they even use their bathroom ! It's great to be friendly with nature, but aaaarrghh... imagine entering your bathroom and finding a goddamn SNAKE lying around there !!!