Dr Nicholas Ng1
1Western Sydney University, Parramatta, Australia
In September 2019, a group of five hundred spectators flocked to Ashfield Town Hall in celebration of the Moon Festival. For the first time in local history, members of the Asian Australian community came together in mutual celebration of what is often known as the Chinese ‘Mid-Autumn Festival’ through an eclectic program of music, dance, story-telling and visual art. The program avoided the China-centric focus often assumed at similar events still produced by the City of Sydney, in light of the Korean, Vietnamese (and to a certain extent, Japanese) observation of the festival. Specially curated as part of the 9th Sydney Sacred Music Festival, much emphasis was placed on the creation of new intercultural sounds through music, particularly through a commissioned work for traditional Asian instruments, 18 cellos and a live DJ. This paper examines the intricate processes involved in the creation of this unique program supported by Inner West Council and Western Sydney University. My analysis reflects on the overall success of the festival in representing the various performers engaged, many of whom who are neither ‘here’ nor ‘there’ in the ongoing negotiation of their respective identities as Asian Australian artists.
Dr Nicholas Ng is composer/performer/researcher specialising in Australia-China musical exchange. Published by Orpheus Music, he has toured to prestigious festivals around Australia, New Zealand, North America, Canada and Europe. His life as a researching artist has been documented on SBS Mandarin Radio, ABC Music Show, and in the ABC Compass TV program, ‘Divine Rhythms’ (2018).