Emily Williams - It's classical but not as we know it.

When you think 'classical music' you may think of bespectacled fuddy-duddies wearing brown, suede-elbowed jackets. Immovable and disdainful to anything but the purist of musical forms. However, Melbourne based cellist and composer Emily Williams bucks the trend, turning her cello an instrument of torture and delight whilst shining a light on an oft misunderstood and maligned musical world in these trend-jumping times.


Name checking a range of musicians from Alice Coltrane to Shostakovich to Nine Inch Nails, it's clear that Williams is not adverse to a little inter-genre musical relations. Moreover, her compositions reveal a passion and a deep understanding of classical music rules and most importantly a willingness to subvert them to create lush and breathtaking musical landscapes.


\"'Most of our current western musical main stream trends can be traced back through to classical music. It's still around and selling out every season at concert halls around the country and the globe for that matter. I have always known so much classical music, and when I hear it or play it, it's like visiting old friends,\" says Williams.


After starting on violin at the age seven before moving to cello at age nine, Williams rounded out her musical education at VCA Secondary School where she studied jazz and improvisation. It was an environment that provided a pool of talented musicians and a wealth of inspiration.


William's current musical style has come from many 'laneways and avenues.'


\"I've sung folk originals on my acoustic guitar in Europe, worked with acid jazz bands on the Coast, experimental duo's and rock bands,\" she explains.


Moreover, William's willingness to experiment with some definitely non-classical modus operandi, has seen her kick open new doors of musical experimentation.


\"With so many innovative pieces of musical equipment that I've seen heaps of guitarists use I thought to apply these techniques to my Cello. The result (after a year or two) was some astonishing sounds, so I used these tools in my compositions and live shows. [The] Cello is an instrument that can be enjoyed in a pub, club or Concert Hall, electric, acoustic, processed, a 5 or 6 strings or even drummed upon. It's simply an immensely versatile instrument.\"


2006 has been a busy year for Williams with the forthcoming release of her own solo EP which will feature a combination of her cello compositions and works she has been performing with Adam Casey from The Boy Who Spoke Clouds. The release promises to feature a bevvy of guest players on violin, marimba and piano. 2006 will also see the release of another project entitled 'Come On Frank' which Williams describes as an experimental EP.


\"A little left of the middle, but I've attempted to use the Cello acoustically, and effected in a much more unstructured way.\"


William's openness to experimentation is also embodied in her approach to the live situation, as Williams explains;


\"I try to arrange all the shows quite differently. I think it's great to be able to play with an acoustic group then listen to a heavier rock duo and then my set, which is, Cello via amps, effects, loops and vocals, I often incorporate a violinist or a guitarist or pianist, and I always have a big improvisation session with all the musicians at the end of my set. So much fun, and it's great to work off each other musically.\"


Williams also reveals plans for her upcoming production 'Light and Cello' for the Hub Festival which will feature a conglomerate of disparate musicians including members of the Chao Feng Chinese Orchestra and electronic duo Koshowko, joined by dancers and VJ artists.


After the release of both her solo EP and the 'Come On Frank' project, Williams will have little time to sit and ponder. Composing for a number of short films as well as constant performing up until October with a further tour slated for 2007, it is clear that Williams has a lot of inspiration and determination to push musical boundaries as far as they can be pushed. Much to the delight of her diverse audience.


\"A lot of musicians, artists, students, film music lovers, some Manson loving people, hardcore dance music fans, some people who heard me on RRR, other groups who came to see other bands playing on the same night, but liked my show still come to my gigs. All ages though defiantly. There's usually a nice comfy couch to sit in and even a fireplace a few venues, too.\"


You can get cosy at an Emily Williams gig:


The main Hall at the Lithuanian Club in North Melbourne. 29th Sept, 5th Oct, 13th Oct.

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