Elizabeth Sheppard
Composer
Name
Elizabeth Sheppard
Biography
Elizabeth Sheppard’s music combines ancient Noongar Aboriginal musical traditions with contemporary themes, using expressive, culturally infused motifs and textures. Through this fusion of old and new, she strengthens ties to country and kin, and educates community groups. Her extended family, dispersed across Australia, keep music, story and gardening traditions alive, that connect them to the ancient songlines that crisscross Australia. Elizabeth also explores contemporary and historical Australian cultural, governance and religious scenarios in her music. Her Kooranginy Suite on invasion, mourning and the hope of peace through truth telling, was premiered by Ensemble Offspring in November 2017. In 2018 Elizabeth, who is a professionally trained Cathedral Cantor and theologian, mentored Dharawal soprano Sonya Holowell to perform her pieces Kaya Mary, Warangka Makialo, Wonthaggi and Burradowi with Ensemble Offspring at Eugene Goossens Hall, Sydney, singing alto with Sonya in Kaya Mary, and playing clapsticks for Wonthaggi. Following her 2019 Sydney Living Museums “Songs of Home” commission for the Royal Australian Navy Band, that produced Karlinkiri Hearth, her commissioned piano work, Kalgoorli Silky Pear, was recorded and broadcast for Scott Davie’s Henrion Project. Her SATB choral / piano elegy, Gandangarragal, honouring Blue Mountains Country (for River City Voices Choir), will be perfomed in August 2021. On 9 Nov 2020 she recorded her cycle of six Noongar language songs, accompanied by pianist Kimberley Steele, at ANU Music Studio, and her album of ten new Australian Christmas Carols will soon be released. Accompanied by pianist Alan Hicks, in 2020 and 2021 also Elizabeth premiered three of her Noongar language compositions (Ngalak Noonook Balga, Mary Moorditj Ngaangk, and the Noongar Prayer) at Sydney Conservatorium. She is an Associate Composer of the Australian Music Centre, and a Ngarra-Burria First Peoples Composers Alumna, and is currently studying Postgraduate composition at the Australian National University School of Music.