Musician Jonathon Heilbron was supported in 2018 to undergo a four-week intensive mentorship, research, study and networking period in Oslo, Trondheim and Berlin. Here he reflects on the experience and the creative partnerships that have flourished from it.
How would you describe your artistic practice?
I am fortunate to maintain a diverse musical practice spanning various forms of creative activity, including working as a double bassist in chamber ensembles, bands and solo contexts. I work with orchestras, new music ensembles and in various experimental projects, through which I have presented work at arts and music festivals both in Australia and overseas. I also compose music for my own groups, which integrates extended durational, improvisational and site-specific approaches.
How has your Cultural Trust grant led to further professional and creative opportunities?
Through my Cultural Trust grant, I was able to make new connections with leaders in my field whilst deepening pre-existing artistic relationships. My work with Werner Dafeldecker in Berlin has already led to Werner expressing interest in assisting me with various recording and performance projects. My work with Håkon Thelin in Oslo has resulted in the production of a CD featuring Håkon, several Norwegian musicians and myself performing my compositions, planned for release in September.
Did your own understanding of your practice grow through placing it in an international context? If so, how?
Through my funded activities, I developed a deeper understanding of the similarities and differences between the local and international context of my work. I also learned that a diverse practice with an international reach that combines composition, performance and research is possible and worth striving for.
You planned to collaborate with the three mentors you worked with while overseas, has this developed? What do you see as the value of collaborating with other artists?
Collaborating with other artists situates my work in close dialogue with that of another, which has been an illuminating experience that offered me the opportunity to reflect on my own artistic concerns and practices. All three mentors have expressed their desire to continue collaborating in the future, which has given me a renewed confidence in my work and reinforced my desire to engage artistically not only with these individuals but also with the broader creative community.
Has your artistic practice evolved since receiving a Cultural Trust grant? Has the focus of your work shifted?
I am constantly looking to develop my understanding of my own work and that of those around me through forging connections with other artists. Coming into contact with these three musicians have impacted my own work in many ways, and their influence is reflected in my work in more and less subtle forms. It is my hope that this continues to occur with the widening of the creative and professional community of which I am a part.
What are you currently working on?
Together with my mentor, Werner Dafeldecker, I am in the final stages of producing a CD featuring my own compositions. The CD will feature the playing of another of my mentors, Håkon Thelin, and will be released commercially in September.
In addition to this, I am preparing for several performance engagements with various solo and ensemble projects over the coming months in Australia, Germany, Russia and France.