Hong Kong Literature Festival

Performance of Teacup by composer Matt Ottley

In October I attended the Hong Kong International Literary Festival where pianist Alf Demasi and I performed the music I composed for “The Incredible Freedom Machines” (written by Kirli Saunders) and “Tree” (written by Danny Parker).

We also performed “Teacup” at the Asia Society, working with some very talented local musicians. I enjoyed making new connections and catching up with  friends in the world of literature.

A huge thank you to Jennie Orchard, friend and colleague, for helping to make this happen.

South Korea Tour

Nami Island_MattOttley

In November I was invited to showcase my musical works for some of my picture books in South Korea.

The trip included performances at the Suncheon Picture Book Library in Suncheon, Gususan Library in Daegu, and a collaborative musical workshop with the South Korean Picturebook Association in Seoul. I was also fortunate to present a workshop for families and future teachers in Seoul as part of the South Korea Teacher’s College.

The trip was rewarding in so many ways, in particular having the opportunity to collaborate with other multi-modal artists in South Korea, Hyunjung Jang & Yumi Shin as well as many other musicians who accompanied me in my performances. I was inspired by the creativity, artistry and sophistication of picture books being created in South Korea.

I also had the opportunity to spend a relaxing day with our incredible host and organiser, Bomsan, on Nami Island – where I had performed previously in 2013 as part of the Nami Island International Children’s Festival. The island was as stunning as I had remembered it with all of the trees in full autumn splendor.

A huge thank you to Bomsan, and each of the organisations and individuals who helped make this tour so special for me.


The Czech Republic – Orchestral Score

Recording at Besedni Dum with the Brno Philharmonic Orchestra

In October 2019 my partner, Tina, and I had the privilege to travel to Brno in the Czech Republic to record my 50 minute orchestral score with the Brno Philharmonic Orchestra and the Czech Philharmonic Choir, Brno.

The recording will accompany my upcoming project: The Tree of Ecstasy and Unbearable Sadness, to be published by Dirt Lane Press.

It was an extraordinary honour to work with the orchestra and choir, under the superb conductorship of Mikel Toms, and to hear the music performed live for the first time.

I was joined by guest-composer Alf Demasi (Yamaha) and Ben Reynolds (Tenor), and was privileged to work with Jaroslav, the engineer.

This was all made possible through the generous support of the Gabby Arts Legacy Trust.

History of Harmony & The Shape of Music

As part of the Murwillumbah Arts Trail, we performed my stage show The History of Harmony, A Devilish Tale, (featuring Alf Demasi as the Mad Monk) followed by The Shape of Music; a directed improvisation of music from shape/image.

The live improvisation featured the superb musicianship of: Martha Baartz on saxophone, Marc Mittag on guitar, Alf Demasi (Yamaha) on keyboard, Ben Reynolds tenor voice, Julia Hill on violin, Sophie Ellis on viola (both from the QLD Conservatorium) and me conducting. A huge thanks to Yamaha for organising the keyboard and Christina Kay.

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.

The History of Harmony – A Devilish Tale

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.

Perth Fringe Festival – Teacup Musical Adaptation Launched

Teacup - One Boy's Story

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

Crowd Funding – Teacup Performances

teacup performance help support us

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 – Fringe Festival Free Performance

Teacup Perth Fringe Festival 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’ Soundtrack

'Faith' by Eve Jeffery, soundtrack by Matt Ottley

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.

Yamaha Endorsed Musician

Matt Ottley composing music on Yamaha piano

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.”