John McCaughey: Musical Director

Helen Gifford at 80

Phoebe Green, solo viola
The Astra Choir with speakers, solo singers and instrumental ensemble
conducted by John McCaughey

Astra celebrates the 80th year of Melbourne composer Helen Gifford with works both new and old from her output. Desperation was composed in 2014 for solo violist Phoebe Green, and is launched as a published score at this concert. Choral Scenes from 1999 is the largest of several works composed for Astra by Helen Gifford over the last 50 years. It is unique in its particular form, creating an environment of choir and an array of instruments, including tuba and percussion, around 17 poems from the Western Front, World War 1. The texts, in English, French and German reflect both the disaster of the experience and the highest quality writing of the era.

Alexander Kastalsky's Requiem for fallen brothers from 1916 also embraces multiple traditions of language, liturgy and style, an idealistic vision of East and West from the former student of Tchaikovsky. It was arranged as a version with string quintet for the Russkaya Cappella choir in Scotland in 2014 by the Australian composer Graham Hair.

Sunday 19 April, 5:00 pm

Church of All Nations, 180 Palmerston St, Carlton

For tickets call Astra on (03) 9326 5424, or

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Read about Astra in Italy and Romania

Read about Astra in Italy and Romania

Choir member Matthew Lorenzon has documented our travels at

Nicholas Tolhurst, another choir member, gives his perspective on the tour in the Weering Review.

Sound in Space: Astra and Architecture

Sound in Space: Astra and Architecture

Music always interacts with the architecture in which it is heard ...

Sound and Space documents with images and recordings how musical and architectural designs have formed an interactive partnership over three decades of Astra events.