Brenda Gifford: Our Inaugural First Nations Composer in Residence

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During NAIDOC week, we were proud to announce Brenda Gifford as our inaugural ‘First Nations Composer in Residence’ for 2020.  

This brand new position will involve working with the virtuosic instrumentalists of Ensemble Offspring throughout the year in one-on-one sessions, involvement in local and regional touring programs and workshops on a new commission.

About Brenda

Brenda Gifford is a proud Yuin woman from the region of Wreck Bay. She wrote her 2018 ABC Classic Kids children’s show ‘Music for the Dreaming’ drawing inspiration from that area, her traditional culture and the seasons.

It’s worth mentioning that Brenda is a talented saxophone player who used to be part of the band ‘Mixed Relations’, fronted by Rock/Reggae legend Bart Willoughby.

She has since gone on to establish herself as an incredibly talented contemporary classical composer. Her most recent release can be heard in ABC’s release, Women of Note: A Century Of Australian Composers.

When quizzed by Limelight about her musical influences, she cites artists such as Japanese Jazz pianist, Toshiko Akiyoshi and American Jazz Singer Billie Holidays. But most interestingly, Gifford puts her family connections first:

“My mother inspires me. She showed me unconditional love and taught me how to be a good person, i.e. be kind and treat others how you would like to be treated. She always supported me with my music. Strong independent women who think outside the box inspire me.”

If you’d like to learn a little more about Brenda, make sure you listen to this interview with ABC that was recorded at last year’s NAIDOC week.

We can’t wait to keep developing our strong musical and friendship bond with Brenda throughout 2020.

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Photo Credit: Alex Dick, ABC Classic.