Creating stronger ties with music

November 3, 2020

Rachel Tantular is passionate about creating stronger ties between Australia and our Southeast Asian neighbours. As a result of this passion, Rachel will be hosting a concert featuring music by Asian and/or Asian-Australian composers, and traditional music from around the Indo-Pacific region, along with a gamelan workshop.

“Music has been a big part of my life since I was a child. I have performed across Europe and continue to perform with the Western Australian Wind Symphony,” Rachel said.

“This concert and workshop will engage attendees in experiencing and learning about the rich and diverse cultural heritage of traditional music and instruments from around Asia. It will also provide performers and composers of Asian descent a platform to share their craft, promoting cross-cultural understanding and people-to-people connections.”

“My hope is that this will inspire musicians and composers to perform and write music featuring elements of traditional music or instruments from around their region,” she said.

Rachel is a UWA Fogarty Scholar, studying Asian Studies and Music under a Bachelor of Philosophy (Honours), and 2020 recipient of the Fogarty Foundation’s Jeremy Cheang Award. Awarded in memory of Jeremy Cheang, former UWA Fogarty Scholar, the prize was presented to Rachel for the contribution she has made to her community through building greater knowledge of other cultures and stronger links with Asian communities. Rachel is currently leading the conceptualisation and delivery of the inaugural Indo-Pacific Future Leaders Programme, convened from July to November 2020 in Western Australia.

Rachel is the inaugural Perth Hub Manager of the ASEAN-Australian Strategic Youth Partnership (AASYP), President of the St Catherine’s College Golden Zonta Club, providing birthing kits for women in disadvantaged communities, and Secretary of the Australia-China Youth Association (UWA).

“Uniting my two areas of study, Music and Asian Studies, this project stems from the observation that the music I have studied and performed is primarily Western Art Music of European composers, and that having moved to Australia from a very young age myself, I have had limited opportunities to engage with the music of my own cultural heritage,” Rachel said.

“Only 6% of professional orchestral programming features work by composers of underrepresented racial, ethnic and cultural heritages. While there has been a growing focus on works by Australian composers, music written by composers of Asian descent is rarely programmed, despite a growing population of second and third-generation Asian-Australians and over 3 million Asian-born people in Australia.”

“This initiative is also inspired by my work with the ASEAN-Australia Strategic Youth Partnership (AASYP) and I plan to collaborate with AASYP, the UWA Conservatorium of Music, UWA Music Students’ Society and Australia-China Youth Association, to present these events in 2021.”

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