Don Kay – A Musical Celebration

Don Kay – A Musical Celebration

10 July | 2:30pm - 3:45pm  |  Federation Concert Hall  |  All ages  |  $49 / $60

Celebrating the life and work of Tasmanian Composer Don Kay AM

We are honoured to present a very special event, celebrating the life and work of Tasmanian treasure, the composer Donald Henry Kay. A man whose musical language has its roots in Western art music but has been significantly shaped by Tasmania’s environment and history over his 60 year career.

Festival of Voices will present two significant musical compositions; his first publication – Songs of Come and Gone (1965) and his most recent Conflagration; the Tasmanian Bushfires, Summer 2018-2019 (2019)

Songs of Come and Gone (1965)

Composer: Don Kay

Performed by Festival of Voices 2021 Youth Choir
Conductor: Joan Wright
Accompanist: Jennifer Marten- Smith.

  1. Tartary  (Walter de la Mare)
  2. A Song of Enchantment  (Walter de la Mare)
  3. The Night Piece   (Robert Herrick)
  4. The Fiddler of Dooney (W.B. Yeats)
  5. Very Old Are The Woods (Walter de la Mare)
  6. When Icicles Hang (W. Shakespeare)
  7. Autolycus’s Song (W. Shakespeare)
  8. The Lamb  (William Blake)
  9. Here Are The Skies (A. E. Housman)

Conflagration, the Tasmanian bushfires, Summer, 2018-19

Composer: Don Kay

Text: John Honey
Conductor: Simon Reade
Piano: Arabella Teniswood- Harvey and Michael Kieran- Harvey
Soloists: Sharon Prero – Soprano, Rebeka Hren Dragolič – Mezzo-soprano, Christopher Bryg – Tenor and Christopher Richardson – Bass-Baritone
Festival Choir Chorusmaster: June Tyzack

John Honey’s text looks at the effects of climate change from a Tasmanian perspective. From his home south of Hobart, Honey asks whether the 2018-19 bushfires mark a transition into a new era of climate-change driven fire behaviour, threatening the well-being of the benign island we love? In 2020 we saw the disastrous summer fires in south-east Australia and the recent mega-fires in California and the Amazon, all of them exacerbated by climate change, confirming that the issues raised in Conflagration are local, global, and ongoing. These questions and reflections were developed into the major choral work to premier at this year’s festival.

About the Composer

Don Kay was born on January 25th 1933 in Smithton, Tasmania. He was educated at Smithton Primary School, Launceston Church Grammar School and the University of Melbourne where he gained his music degree. He studied composition privately in London with Malcolm Williamson (1959-1964).

He returned to Hobart in 1964 and since then, composed much music for professional individuals, ensembles, young performers, amateur groups, theatre, concert and public occasions. His compositions include two one-act operas, a major two-act opera (The Bushranger’s Lover), seven concertos, four symphonies, vocal, choral and chamber music, including six string quartets. His works have been performed Australia-wide and internationally.

Works to have received special awards include: The Golden Crane (a one-act opera for young people’s theatre with libretto by Gwen Harwood); Tasmania Symphony – the Legend of Moinee (for cello and orchestra); and Dance Concertante (for string orchestra).

In 1990 Don Kay was appointed a Member of the General Division of the Order of Australia for his service to the Arts, particularly in the field of composition. In 2003 he was awarded a Centenary Medal for an outstanding contribution to music, music education and composing in Tasmania. In 2010 he was awarded the Clive Lord Memorial Medal by the Royal Society of Tasmania.

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Contact tracing:

All event patrons will be required to check in at the venue using a provided Check in TAS QR code. A physical sign in sheet will be made available upon request if your device is not QR-code compatible.


Festival of Voices is closely monitoring seating capacity updates regarding this venue. At this stage, the venue capacity is limited to 75%, with the potential for mandatory mask-wearing.

Hygiene and sanitation:

Our Festival venues undergo full sanitation before each show. To maintain our venue hygiene and sanitation practices, please have a spritz of sanitiser on your way in and make use of hand soap in the bathrooms.

Feeling ill?

Please do not attend this event if you are experiencing flu symptoms (fever, cough, runny nose). Similarly, if you feel a cough or a sneeze coming on while in this venue, please use your elbow to cover it!

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