Sarah Hopkins

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Born in New Zealand in 1958, noted performer and composer Sarah Hopkins moved to Sydney in 1964 to study music at the Sydney Conservatorium. She eventually received a composition degree from the Victorian…
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Born in New Zealand in 1958, noted performer and composer Sarah Hopkins moved to Sydney in 1964 to study music at the Sydney Conservatorium. She eventually received a composition degree from the Victorian College of the Arts in Melbourne. After her graduation she emerged as one of the most interesting new age/classical hybrids from Australia because of her unique arranging ideas and her incorporation of a wide variety of traditional, ethnic, and newly invented instruments. The effect of her classical education accounts for her considerable amount of work that uses traditional instrumentation like cello, bass, violin, and chorus. What makes her work so interesting however is the highly creative use of overtone and partial singing, an approach to cello playing that results in primitive, non-traditional sounds and drones that are produced by didjeridus and percussion instruments that are swung in a circle overhead to produce drones. She is a notable international performer and clinician, specializing in both composition techniques and overtone singing. Her first recorded releases came in the three-volume Soundworks series which was released in 1985 by Australia's Resource Recordings. The first of the three-part series focused on duets for cello and an assortment of other instruments. The second was a collection of solo and duet work that highlighted her use of droning percussion, didjeridu, and vocals with cello and the final of the triptych was primarily works for ensemble. In 1989 she released Heart Song again on Resource Recordings which used many more bell-type percussion sounds in addition to her standard arsenal of instruments. In 1993 she recorded "Sky Song," which was released on Vox Australis, and in 1994 she recorded and released Reclaiming the Spirit, a collection of works that are scored for larger ensemble. Her "Sky Song," which was co-composed with Alan Lamb, was featured on Australia's Olympic 2000 bid CD. She continues to write and record music in addition to teaching and currently lives in Brisbane, Australia.