Raffaele Marcellino on Being an Australian Composer – In Conversation With…

I consider myself an Australian composer.
It’s important in the sense that it explains my position in relationship to music and to
the world- having now travelled and lived overseas and worked with a lot of other people,
we are distinct. we didn’t realise it…as much as we should,
we are distinctive in the way we approach things, and it is influenced by our environment,
it’s influenced by the way we are raised, our relationship to space, is very different
to a lot of other peoples, our relationship to challenges I think, and the way we address
challenges is very different – like all cultures, the uh pluses and minuses, at our best we’re
resilient and challenging and can sort of get on with the job, at our worst we can
be complacent and philistine. So it’s this sort of really interesting mix. and being
an artist in Australia, finding where your place is is always difficult, and you know,
and can be fraught. Where I grew up, Peter Sculthorpe was talking
about place and the significance of place, Australia was trying to find its sense of
where it is, what are we. Um, I was young enough to remember when the UK joined the
EU, ironically now they’re thinking of leaving, but what that meant for Australia, our leaders
saying let’s turn to Asia, and like… I didn’t feel Asian, like a lot of Australians,
so it made me reassess what place was. Then I turned to my roots, looking at what is my
background, and discovered a very curious and mixed bag with our place that my family
came from in Calabria, which is the toe peninsula of Italy, and the mixture of Saracen, Greek,
Spanish, French, um, whatever, who knows, and so this idea of pure race is nonsense.
So the idea of place is important, but it’s a sense of inner place, so here in Australia
I suppose also being immigrants, history is less significant than say for other people.
We’re very much a pioneer people I think, and so we search, we search a lot, and the
debates we all have about what is place is important to us and it’s important to me
too, so, geographical location is not the issue, place is where …I suppose …your
heart is, we talk about your soul, being – that’s where your place is.