New music for Gambas is not a thing we much about, but in August 2007 Australian Viol player and the leader of Backgammon Gambas, Brooke Green, premiered Matthew Dewey’s newly commissioned quartet ‘Flight and Reverie’ in two programs of all Australian Music at the ‘Pan-Pacific Gamba Gathering’ in Hawaii.
The performances, which took place at the University of Hawaii at Manoa in Honolulu were very successful with great interest taken in the new work. Other composers featured include Peter Sculthorpe, Elena Kats-Chernin, Ross Edwards and Russell Gilmore although the piece by Matthew Dewey was the only world premiere.
The concerts formed part of the ‘Pan-Pacific Gamba Gathering’, which is a worldwide assembly of enthusiasts coming together to play the viola da gamba and to discuss its historical Western European context, its adoption by other cultures, and its future.
Backgammon Gambas rehearsing ‘Flight and Reverie’
The meeting’s six themes celebrate the six strings of the viol:
1. Opportunities to play at all levels;
2. Sessions for teachers;
3. Talks on the viol’s history, and demonstrations of Eastern & Western, ancient & traditional underhand bowed string instruments;
4. New music for old instruments, particularly with a Pacific Rim influence;
5. A Musical feast —
* Local musicians from various traditions
* Instrument exhibits & workshops
* Concerts, concerts, and more concerts
6. Tours & family relaxation Hawaiian-style.