Dr Corrina Bonshek is an Australian composer whose music draws on her love of nature and birdsong. Her music has been described as ‘beautifully shaped and contemplative’ (Clare MacClean, 2013) and ‘deeply spiritual in intent’ (Anne Boyd, 2002). She graduated with a PhD in Contemporary Arts in 2007 from University of Western Sydney, where she was the first music postgraduate to divide her submission equally between a composition portfolio and musicological thesis. She studied composition with Dr Bruce Crossman, and has since received mentoring from Grawemeyer award-winning composer Professor Chinary Ung, who describes her music as ‘connecting to the essence of South-East Asian music – timelessness’.
Her recent compositions include Blossoming for Susan Ung (viola) and Cambodian Traditional Instrumentalists Ip Theary and Yim Chanthy, Nature Spirit for Alex Raineri (piano), Cicada Song for Angus Wilson (percussion), Desert Time for Yu Rong Chen (pipa), and Journey to the Centre for string orchestra and recorded birdsong for Ady Ensemble.
Corrina has a strong interest in the music and aesthetics of South East Asia. She was a resident composer at 2015 Experimental Thai Music Laboratory at Burapha University in Thailand, and inaugural visiting scholar at Nirmita Composers Institute in Cambodia in 2016. She recently curated Amazing Women 5: New Music from the Asia-Pacific for QLD Conservatorium and Colouring Space and Time: New Music-Art-Film from the Asia-Pacific for the Gold Coast Arts Centre in August 2016.
Corrina has created several music-art collaborative works sometimes in unconventional settings. The most recent of these is Journey to the Centre for Centennial Park Sydney’s new public labyrinth. This audio work (featuring nature sounds by Wild Ambience) is permanently installed and can be heard by streaming or downloading the audio onto your mobile phone. There were 5,000 downloads of this piece in the first year, and was featured on ABC TV The Compass Program, ABC Radio National Off Track and is the subject of a 30-minute radio feature for ABC Radio National’s The Rhythm Divine called The Labyrinth meditation (available as a download).
Other music-art events include: As Small Birds Play cinematic installation (film by Rachael Jones, clarinet by Sue Newsome – pictured) for Centennial Park’s 125 years anniversary event ‘The Light Garden’ (2013), which was attended by over 29,000 people; Shadows and Dreams at the Female Orphan School, a 60 minute music-art tour through a treasured heritage building, presented in a ten-show season as part of the 2005 National Trust Heritage Festival; Project Reverie (2011-12) audio-visual installation series with visual artist Anna Bonshek. Project Reverie was exhibited at the India Habitat Centre (Delhi), the DakshinaChitra Centre (Tamil Naidoo), and screened in New York, London, Sydney and Gold Coast.
Corrina has been the receipt of numerous grants and awards including Australia Council for the Arts – Skills Grant, University Western Sydney Community Development Grant, Parramatta City Council Heritage Grant, Parramatta City Council Arts & Culture Grant, Australian Postgraduate Award, Marieanne Rosenberg Musicology Prize, Shane Simpson Composition Prize, Guitar Factory and Sound Devices Scholarship.
Between 2000-2007, Corrina was a sessional lecturer/tutor in musicology at University Western Sydney. During this time she presented numerous papers on experimental music-theatre (including her own creative practice) at conferences including National Conference of Musicology Society of Australia, Symposium of the International Society of Musicology, Graduate Music Symposia of the Sydney Chapter of the Musicological Society, and the annual symposia of University of Western Sydney School of Arts. Corrina has written articles for Australian Music Centre’s Resonate Magazine, Cut Common, Body Space and Technology, Contemporary Music Review and published a chapter in The Big Fish: Consciousness as Structure, Body and Space (Rodolphi).
Since 2008, Corrina has worked in online marketing and is the cofounder of Australian natural health business Better Earthing.
For her musings on composing and creativity visit her blog