Composers & WorksKate Milligan

Lux Levis
for violin, piano & electronics
Composed for Josef Hanna
First performance: 14 May 2022

Performed at the ANAM Set Festival by
Josef Hanna (violin) and Aidan Boase (piano)

The ANAM Set · Kate Milligan's 'Lux Levis' performed by Josef Hanna | The ANAM Set

Program note:
Lux Levis—for violin, piano, and electronics—evokes the fracture of white light into rainbow colours, a resplendent natural phenomenon known as dispersion. As light transitions from one medium to another, different frequencies will bend to varying degrees, fanning out across the rainbow spectrum. In this work, the pure tones of the violin’s open strings splinter into their harmonic components upon the transition from live performance to electronic media. The effect is ephemeral, like the glance of sunlight through a window in the late afternoon.

Lux Levis unites the scientific with the sublime. The texture of this work is metallic and crystalline, making liberal use of natural harmonics and sul ponticello in the violin writing. Moments of improvisation bring levity and spontaneity to the work. A recurrent, shimmering tremolo gesture is passed between the instruments, the piano writing largely concentrated in its percussive upper register. The harmonic content is expansive and warm, built in fifths—a subtle nod to the mutual love of folk music shared by composer Kate Milligan and violinist Josef Hanna.

At once a work of visual art and music, Lux Levis is a graphic score read in the Decibel ScorePlayer application. The work was developed via a cross-country collaboration between Perth and Melbourne.

About the composer:
Kate Milligan is a Perth-born composer, conductor, and researcher. She is currently working with the Perth Symphony Orchestra as the inaugural Conducting Fellow, and is a participant in the West Australian Symphony Orchestra’s Emerging Conductors Program. Kate’s compositional work is experimental and evocative, drawing on influences from diverse genres. In 2021, Kate is a participant in the national Summers Night Project, with a new work due to premiere across the country in June. She has written for the Perth Orchestra Project (Composer in Residence, 2019), Decibel New Music Ensemble (Young and Emerging Composers Commissioning Program, 2019) and the Western Australian Symphony Orchestra (Young and Emerging Artists Composition Project, 2016). She is particularly interested in interdisciplinary art practices and the intersections of music with other art forms. Kate holds a BA(Hons) from The University of Western Australia, having studied composition with James Ledger and Chris Tonkin. She is currently completing a Master of Music by research, also at UWA, under the supervision of Drs Sarah Collins and Cecilia Sun. Kate’s current research examines the representation of women conductors in popular discourse.

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