Sound of Picture Books – September 2018

In September 2018 The Literature Centre, WASO and Yamaha undertook the biggest Sound of Picture Books collaboration to date. I had the privilege of four of my musical works, accompanied by my artworks from the books, being performed over a two week period to just under 5,000 students across Western Australia. I was thrilled to work with the author of The Incredible Freedom Machines, Kirli Saunders and the amazing Danny Parker (Tree & Parachute) to bring these picture books to life.

As issues surrounding asylum seekers and refugees continue to be of concern, it was wonderful to have the opportunity to perform Home & Away (written by John Marsden) to help create discussion around this complex issue.

The musicians from WASO were outstanding as ever, and Alf Demasi from Yamaha with both his prowess on the piano and his tech abilities, held the productions together. Thank you Alf.

We look forward to the Sound of Picture Books being performed again in 2019, including a new work Dumazi and the Lion, a collaboration between myself an Valanga Khoza. If you or your school would like to see the performances please contact The Literature Centre for details.

History of Harmony - A Devilish Tale

The History of Harmony – A Devilish Tale

In July 2017 we held a special fundraising event for the Uki Refugee Project.

Alf Demasi from Perth (aka “The Monk”) flew in to the Northern Rivers to perform the stage production of the History of Harmony – A Devilish Tale.

The bold performance was followed by a very experimental live improvisation from some of the areas most talented musicians, giving people a greater understanding of experimental composition techniques and some insight into synesthesia (a condition in which one sense-for example, hearing-is simultaneously perceived as if by one or more additional senses such as sight).

Joined by the wonderful Murwillumbah Philharmonic Choir, we were overwhelmed by the audiences response.

Teacup - One Boy's Story

Perth Fringe Festival – Teacup Musical Adaptation Launched

Thank you to everyone who came along and supported the world premier launch of ‘Teacup’– a musical adaptation of the award winning picture book by Rebecca Young. Music Book Stories Inc. performed the 40 minute multi-artform work at the State Library of Western Australia as part of the Perth Fringe Festival.

Click here to purchase the DVD

“Ian and I attended the Friday premiere of, “Teacup – One Boy’s Story” with my son and his family and a friend and her little girls. It was an extraordinarily well attended event with overflow on the balconies and all. Could you pass on to Rebecca and her team and all those involved in the production our congratulations for a wonderful event. The whole production was nigh on perfect, a wonderfully evocative score, beautifully rendered by all those involved, with the screen rendering of the pictures as the story wound on providing the glue which ensured all senses were involved. All should be justly proud. The little ones I was with (except for the 2 year old and he is forgiven) were riveted through the whole event.”

Margaret Nowak – Chair, State Library of Western Australia

…Well done, it was truly beautiful…

Margaret Allen, Chief Executive Officer and State Librarian, State Library of Western Australia


teacup performance help support us

Crowd Funding – Teacup Performances

We would love your support

Music Book and all of the artists involved in the performances of Teacup at the State Library of WA in January 2017 (provided free to the public), would greatly appreciate your support.

The score for Teacup has taken intensive months to write, there are many hours of practice going into the performance of the work by the musicians, not to mention all of the background organisation to get a project like this off the ground.

How you can help

Thanks so much.

Teacup Perth Fringe Festival performance

Teacup – Fringe Festival Free Performance

I am so honoured to have been asked by Music Book to produce a 40 minute multi-model piece for the 2017 Perth Fringe Festival.

Working with some incredibly talented musicians, I have combined an original musical score, recorded sounds, projected images, narration and song to create a 40 minute adaptation of the award winning children’s book Teacup by Rebecca Young.  The original oil paintings that I completed for Teacup are now part of the State Library of WA‘s Peter Williams Collection and will be exhibited to the public from 20th January through to 24th March.

This will be the world premiere production of Teacup – One Boy’s Story, supported by the City of Perth, and it is something I hope will be enjoyed by all ages.  It is free for everyone to attend.

'Faith' by Eve Jeffery, soundtrack by Matt Ottley

‘Faith’ Soundtrack

I had the pleasure of working with Eve Jeffery and David Lowe in the short, gripping documentary ‘Faith’, recently showcased at the St Kilda Short Film Festival.  ‘Faith’ was one of six short films chosen for the Olympus Film-maker Challenge.

It was an incredible experience to write seven pieces of music in just a few days. I also worked with the wonderful cellist Claire Yerbury on the music.

The film is currently doing the national and international circuit and will be available in the next twelve months online.

Matt Ottley composing music on Yamaha piano

Yamaha Endorsed Musician

Yamaha Endorsed Musician Yamaha sponsored artist Matt Ottley

In 2014 I was incredibly honoured to become a Yamaha endorsed musician for Australia.

To date I have written four musical works to accompany some of my children’s books, three of those (TreeParachute and Home & Away) using Yamaha’s extraordinary keyboard technology, in particular the The CVP 609. This exciting multi-modal series of works is known as “The Sound of Picture Books” with the works being performed across Australia.

I am currently working with Alf Demasi from Yamaha on a very exciting performance/film work based on the history of western music. Stay tuned…

For the musicians out there, the quote from me below is about the beautiful piano from Yamaha that I work with.

“Along with Cubase the CVP 609 offers an extraordinarily powerful armory for composers. For work-shopping ideas it is intuitive and there is no disruption to the creative flow. With a few finger taps I can change orchestrations, pushing my ideas to the limit. Mozart would’ve killed for an instrument like this and doubled his output.”