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Words & Ideas: The Shortest History of Music

Andrew Ford interviewed by Jacqueline Ogeil

To be released in July, a new book from award-winning composer and broadcaster Andrew Ford, ‘The Shortest History of Music’ is a lively, authoritative tour through several thousand years of music. Packed with colourful characters and surprising details, it sets out to understand what exactly music is – and why humans are irresistibly drawn to making it. 

This is not a traditional chronological account. Instead, Andrew Ford focuses on key themes in the history of music and considers how they have played out across the ages. How has music interacted with other social forces such as religion and the economy? How have technological changes shaped the kinds of music humans make? From lullabies to concert halls, corroborees to streaming services, what has music meant to humans at different times and in different places? Interviewed by our Festival Director Jacky Ogeil, this session is sure to be entertaining and engaging.

Andrew Ford OAM is an award-winning composer, writer and broadcaster. He has been composer-in-residence for the Australian Chamber Orchestra, the Australian National Academy of Music and the Australian Festival of Chamber Music, his music played from Hong Kong to Helsinki, from Bogota to Bradford. He has written widely on all manner of music and published ten books, most recently The Song Remains the Same with Anni Heino. Since 1995 he has presented The Music Show each weekend on ABC’s Radio National.

Dr Jacqueline Ogeil is an internationally respected artistic leader, performer and musicologist. Founder and Executive/Artistic Director of the highly acclaimed Woodend Winter Arts Festival, and Director of the baroque ensemble Accademia Arcadia (finalist for 2007 ARIA award in Classical Music) and is currently Director of Music at Braemar College, Woodend.

Ogeil performs on harpsichord, organ and fortepiano, and has released twelve CDs, including re-releases of Bach’s Goldberg Variations on ABC Classics. Michael Leunig created the cover of her latest CD Il Diavolo. She is broadcast via the European Broadcasting Union, ABC Classic FM (where she has been twice featured as CD of the week) and on 3MBS. Her scholarly articles on Domenico Scarlatti have been published internationally. A copy of a Cristofori piano (c1730) was commissioned by her and supported by Dame Elisabeth Murdoch and is the only one of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere. In 2014 she was a recipient of a Margaret Lawrence Bequest for Women in Arts Leadership, in 2015 was named by Westpac and the Financial Review as one of the 100 Women of Influence and in 2019 awarded an Australia Day Arts Ambassador Award from the Macedon Ranges Shire Council.

“In Dr. Ogeil I believe you have something of a national treasure.” – Edward L. Kottick, Professor Emeritus, School of Music, The University of Iowa.

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