Pandemic life has not made things any easier for freelancers in the cultural sector––especially those of us relying on gatherings for our craft!
It’s no secret that a lot of orchestral musicians are struggling at the moment due to cancelled seasons, closed venues and reduced orchestra numbers.
As the Artistic Director of my own chamber orchestra, I have the unique ability to create work for my members to help relieve the financial and emotional strain of our time––and hopefully produce some exquisite sensory fodder in the process!
Many of you have followed the progress of Ruthless Jabiru since our launch in 2011: my dear London chamber orchestra centred around Activism-inspired music of our own time. We are a conducted ensemble of professional Australian musicians in the UK who aspire to bring visibility and compassion to vital social justice issues in collaboration with our friends in the campaigning sector.
For the past 9 years, Ruthless Jabiru has delivered exclusively live performance to a range of audiences across central London. We are now asking your support as we pivot our practice into the studio in light of Covid-19.
I am so happy to announce that Ruthless Jabiru will be producing our first series of recorded projects in collaboration with East London label Nonclassical. This will comprise the first complete album of music by British Iranian composer+educator Soosan Lolavar ("long overdue" according to Nonclassical's Gabriel Prokofiev!), as well as beautiful works by Eugene Birman and Jessie Montgomery which we'll be releasing as singles in the leadup.
This album will allow us to bring Soosan's beautiful music to an international audience through sales, streaming and broadcast. The visibility we can offer her, through this project and our combined networks, will bring Soosan and her works to the attention of many great orchestras & ensembles worldwide for future programming, commissioning and collaboration.
In total we'll spend 5 days in the rehearsal/recording studios: this being the component of the project which requires the most people together in one room (25 of us for the biggest piece on the album). All sessions will happen within a Covid-secure venue, with players distanced accordingly and extra measures in place to ensure everyone's safety. We'll hold these sessions as soon as we can in the months ahead for the benefit of our players but are prepared to adapt the schedule to the public health situation and UK government advice as needed.
Beyond the studio, I will be further collaborating with several teams of video artists to create short films which bring a selection of these compositions to life even more vividly. This will be a multicultural undertaking, with directorial teams joining the project from around the world.
We're aiming for a release date in Spring 2021 (cautiously ambitious!) to coincide with Ruthless Jabiru's 10th anniversary. As you can see, the project has many moving parts so I'll post in the Updates tab as things continue to develop!
Your donations will allow me to do my own small part in easing the strain on our industry due to Covid-19. Many of Ruthless Jabiru's members have been ineligible for government-sponsored aid for various reasons, myself included. We've also been ineligible for any organisational grants supporting cultural recovery through the pandemic. However, Ruthless Jabiru has always relied on project-to-project funding, so we continue in optimism!
Crowdfunder has generously removed all fees for campaigns responding to the coronavirus, so the orchestra will receive 100% of your pledge.
Donations raised will supplement (hopefully!) grantfunding and our eventual sales+streaming income; to offset the costs of venue hire, production, post-production, PR, marketing, and project fees for 40+ freelance musicians, creatives and staff across the series.
Also the kicker—we're fundraising on an All or nothing basis so your pledges will only be processed if we hit our target!
I really hope you'll join me in advocating for the vital changemaking power of the arts at this unexpected moment in contemporary life.
The Rewards [Our rewards campaign has now ended but our page remains open for donations]
As a gesture of thanks I've curated this collection of rewards which I hope has something to suit everyone's taste! If you'd like to contribute to the costs of posting your item internationally, you'll have the option to add an additional donation at checkout.
I know this is a weird time and not everyone is in a position to give a cash donation. If you'd like to support us by donating something we can add to our rewards marketplace, get in touch!
These beautiful books look back on some of the issues I've centred Ruthless Jabiru's musical programmes around in recent years:
See+hear our friends Chineke! Orchestra, Europe’s first majority Black, Asian and ethnically diverse orchestra in a future dress rehearsal:
A 12-month digital subscription to one of Australia's finest, Limelight Magazine:
An exclusive multipass to the remaining performances in the Barbican's first ever Livestream season:
Plus holiday shows added:
Face time with composer+educator Soosan Lolavar, who will join us herself on experimental santoor for our beautiful album together:
A private video masterclass with the indomitable Bindi McFarlane, long-serving fixture in the London Symphony Orchestra, Australian World Orchestra and Ruthless Jabiru:
Also some new rewards just added!
Considering the situation.. #MasksforMusic:
History lesson of dreams from our friends at Nonclassical: