Fiona Joy Hawkins - Media, Reviews, What the press is saying about Fiona
Review: Into the Mist by Mediaversal (hires reviews)
Fiona Joy - Into the Mist - SACD 2.0 hi-res review by Mediaversal
It is hard to imagine that the path of least resistance is typically the most rewarding, and put in audio terms the least processed music often sounds the best. Yet this is precisely what listeners will experience when hearing Fiona Joy’s latest release "Into the Mist" which has been superbly recorded by producer and engineer Cookie Marenco. Utilizing the high-fidelity format called Direct Stream Digital (DSD), Marenco has employed her proprietary technique called Extended Sound Environment (E.S.E.) by which she has directly recorded each unedited take to Quad DSD256.
Into the Mist is the second album to be released on Blue Coast Records, and we’ll explore the previous album "Signature - Solo" here too. I received both as Hybrid SACD’s which contain a CD layer and of course a SACD stereo DSD layer which is what I’ll write about here. These are both solo piano releases, performed on a seven foot 1885 Steinway grand piano. Much of the secret sauce to the sound quality can be attributed to both microphone selection and placement, but surely the signal path and ESE proprietary process adds the magic that defines these incredible audiophile recordings.
I was first introduced to Fiona Joy Hawkins when she released “Blue Dream” back in 2009 and subsequently her 2013 album titled “600 Years in a Moment” both produced by Windham Hill Records founder William Ackerman. It is no wonder how she came to work with Blue Coast Records as founder Marenco had been part of the production team at Windham Hill back in the 80’s. Continuing the neo-classical genre, also known by some as New Age, Fiona Joy has written ten delightful pieces for her 2017 release Into the Mist.
Unlike many of the discs I have, there is plenty of headroom, allowing me to push the amp further without the possibility of maxing out at the top of the dynamic range. I think we can safely say that an acoustic grand piano will not hit the peak of 120db, the technical dynamic range of an SACD. Of course as you know it is the sum of all of the parts, which include the levels set at the time of recording, plus any adjustments made during mixdown and mastering. I found a level that approximated what I felt an actual live piano in my listening room would sound like based on my previous experiences as an audio engineer, and sat down for a listening session.
The piano spreads across the stereo channels, staying comfortably within the limits of the image, not being narrow, but not being excessively wide either. The lower octaves are weighted toward the left channel, while the upper octaves are weighted towards the right. For recording novices, the acoustic piano is one of the most difficult instruments to successfully capture, as it often yields imbalances across the range due to microphone placement which cause phasing problems and issues related to microphone sensitivity. You won’t hear that when listening to all of the tracks on Into the Mist. Instead I literally felt as though Fiona Joy had brought her Steinway and incredible talents right into my home and provided a personal performance for me.
Do I need to even mention how transparent, open and well defined these pieces sound? The top range glistens while the mids and lows warmly draw out the picturesque movement of these emotional songs. Fans of George Winston should instantly love the music of Fiona Joy, which by no means is a direct copy of his talents. Rather Joy’s music goes into a new dimension which is akin to classical and evidenced by the three part Opus which starts with the album theme.
I sense the piano is turned slightly allowing me to see across the keyboard and feel the depth especially as the harmonics shimmer after each note is struck. I can’t say enough about the immediacy to the top end as Joy elevates to the upper octaves. The brilliance of the keys strikes so perfectly and with such clarity it is difficult to admit that she is not right in front of me. I don’t think I have ever said this, but there is absolutely nothing I would change about this recording, meaning it is perfect from my perspective. This is a five star release, and deserves every accolade for sound quality, performance, and composition. Musically it is her most accomplished work, guiding you across landscapes and interweaved with emotions. There are delicate moments and playful sections as she cascades across the keyboard. Pieces flow and ripple with a modern voice that gives classical music a new touch.
Joy’s first release on Blue Coast Records in 2015 titled "Signature - Solo" also contains ten solo piano recordings. However, this album was recorded to analog tape, and Marenco used the ESE process to mix direct to stereo DSD, which yields a different aural quality. The overall stereo image is wider and there is a distinct use of room ambience layered into the mix which places the piano in a much larger space. This doesn’t detract from the overall enjoyment of Signature, but it feels a little less intimate. I have now been transported to a hall where she is performing these uplifting pieces, and it is easy to close my eyes and envision her on a stage. The upper range is angelic and I feel a greater roundness to the low end. Unlike her latest release, the piano appears flat across the speakers, minimizing the depth. An occasionally characteristic aspect to Joy’s pieces are her vocal additions that soar among the duet “Once Upon Impossible” featuring guitarist Lawrence Blatt.
Blue Coast Records has done an excellent job at making various formats available to satisfy every listener, including CD’s, SACD’s, DSD, FLAC or WAVE downloads in various resolutions. Yet it is their continued push forward through the use of new recording technologies which makes them a pioneer and role model for other audiophile releases.
A must have for fans of Fiona Joy, listeners who enjoy engaging with elegant acoustic music, and purists that seek the best audiophile recordings in the world. I advise opting for the highest quality DSD download your system can handle before considering the SACD or PCM file formats. Regardless of the format you select, it will be an amazing listen, as these are by far the highest quality releases recorded with the best quality equipment known to human kind.
- Stereo DSD, WAVE, FLAC downloads, or on Hybrid SACD.
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REVIEWS on iTunes: Signature Synchronicity
Read the reveiws of this 5 star rated album on Apple i-Tunes: READ REVIEWS & LISTEN - iTunes
“One of the brightest lights in the New Age genre, Fiona Joy is poised to move into stardom."
-Will Ackerman, Founder of Windham Records & Imaginary Road
"Fiona Joy is a TRUE artist, constantly growing, signature - Synchronicity is the latest expression of her prodigious talent, I urge you to check it out."- Bog Ludwig, Gateway Mastering, 16x Grammy Winner
“Fiona Joy takes over from where George Winston left off…Her music is a cross of George Winston's simple melodies and Ludovico Einaudi's musical sophistication."
– Cookie Marenco, 5xGrammy®-nominated Producer, Blue Coast Records
“Fiona Joy pours her heart and soul into playing these compositions and adds her soft, sultry vocal talents as well (on selected tracks). Songs range from somber and pensive to rollicking and energizing, held together by superb production, engineering and mixing/mastering. Chalk up another tour de force for the talented and gorgeous Aussie pianist, as well as the crew and players at IR Studios.” - Bill Binkelman, Editor, WindAndWire.com
“What I appreciated most was being able to listen and watch Fiona at the piano. The passion and elegance in her performance was breathtaking, as her flawless technique combined with pure emotional expression.”
- Michael Diamond, Music & Media Focus
Thematically, Signature – Synchronicity combines mystery, magic, musical surrealism and cutting edge technology to fulfill Fiona Joy’s brave intellectual approach to what are essentially fairy tale themes. Combining a childhood fantasy with stories of the Little Red Caboose, castles, princesses, stories from well-known tales and real life experiences helps paint deep heartfelt images to flesh out the compelling and sweeping instrumental melodies and her beautifully transporting vocalizations.– Jonathan Widran (Music Connection, All Music Guide, Jazziz)
Brilliant! laugh one minute, cry the next, dance in your seat with music that touches every sense..." -Jordan Rich, KWBZ Radio Boston
“To say Fiona Joy has a real talent would be grossly understating the obvious, but I cannot over emphasise enough, that here is a woman who not only knows her abilities and skills on the piano, but also has that amazing ability to paint lyrical pictures from her own musical imagination and carry you along on that journey with ease and confidence.” - Steve Sheppard, One World Music UK
“Fiona Joy enters the realm of masterful.” Sandy Shore, SmoothJazz.com
“My spiritual teacher would often use the term “self-transcendence” to describe the path & practice of going beyond one’s previous achievements and my dear friend, you have done just that!” – Premik Tubbs, NY musician
Christmas Joy Review
Published on November 16, 2011
It’s that time of year again and the Christmas discs are crossing my desk, whether requested on not. Here’s our annual survey of what we auditioned, and it will start off with two SACDs:
Fiona Joy Hawkins – Christmas Joy – Little Hartley Music multichannel SACD FJH013 *****:
This excellent disc—more than your usual Christmas album—is identified as in the New Age genre, but actually partakes of many world music influences, including Gaelic, Digeridoo, Paraquayan harp, and a variety of ethnic rhythms. Soprano sax and strings are also part of the backing of the piano of Fiona Joy Hawkins. Her SACD was produced by Corin Nelsen and Will Ackerman, who did many Windham Hill albums and also Hawkins’ previous Blue Dream SACD.
Starting out as a classically-trained pianist, Hawkins likes to create music evoking images, and mixes world influences with classical and jazz, and New Age mysticism. Among the backing musicians on the date are Will Ackerman on guitar, Eugene Friesen on cello, Tony Levin on bass guitar, and Philip Aaberg did the orchestral arrangements.
The disc opens with “Walking in the Air,” a striking tune by Howard Blake which is far from hackneyed and whose haunting melody will take your breath away. The second verse has Hawkin’s singing in Gaelic, though most of the tracks are instrumental. “Gliding on a Sleigh” features a violin and soprano sax duo, and you haven’t lived if you have never heard “Jingle Bells” played on a digeridoo! Some of the 11 tunes are done a bit slower than we normally hear them, but with the lovely arrangements tempi seem just right. “Christmas Joy” cuts loose with many different instruments, and the closing “Away in a Manger” is done as a tender lullaby.
Fiona Joy Media
DON'T try to pigeonhole composer, pianist and singer Fiona Joy's style.
Take her song Grace, for example.
The song has an Indian flavour on the Grammy award winning album Winds of Samara, flautist Sherry Finzer's version is slow and ambient, there is Fiona's slow vocal romantic style and the Kendall songstress and her son Nick Hawkins combined to create a yet to be released chilled beat box rendition.
"I love to explore the options with music and different directions," Fiona says.
Life was busy with parenthood but Fiona Joy, previously known as Fiona Joy Hawkins, never gave up on her childhood dream of becoming a concert pianist and composer.
Fiona already had a body of work when, at the insistence of her mother, she first stepped into a recording studio at age 38.
She has been making up for lost time ever since.
Fiona, with her independent indie label, set her own career direction until six months ago.
She recently signed with Blue Coast Records, a content partner with Sony, and aligned herself with the audio file market which she believes is the future direction of the music industry.
Fiona's latest CD, Signature Solo, comes out in April, and she is recording Signature Synchronicity and writing a new album.
Signature Synchronicity is a Port Macquarie collaboration bringing together music, art and video in an art gallery installation.
Fiona is teaming up with video company The BIG Movie Company and artist Leanne Prussing.
"I just love the collaboration of music and art," she says. "We all work together and feed off each other."
Fiona hit the headlines when Winds of Samara, a collaborative album with Wouter Kellerman and Ricky Kej on which she wrote the song Grace, took out the Best New Age Album at the 2015 Grammy Awards earlier this month.
There have been five offers for concerts in the past week alone.
Fiona is based in Kendall and she wouldn't have it any other way.
"All I need is a piano, the internet and an airport," says the performer for whom overseas travel is a regular feature.
"I feel incredibly blessed to live in Kendall."
The Camden Haven town is a beautiful place with great weather and great people, she says.
A passion for music fuels Fiona's career.
"I've never been seeking fame or fortune," she says.
"It's the passion for music and enough success that I can remain in the industry in a viable way."
Fiona has played more than 140 concerts in entertainment centres and theatres across the USA, Australia and Canada with venues spanning the Sydney Opera House to the Halifax Entertainment Centre and The Duplex in New York.
"For me, it has just been a smile a minute," she says.
Review - 600 Years in a Moment
It’s A Small World After All
The term "globalization" came into use around 1830, but its meaning has never been more clear than in 2013. With the advent of the internet, satellites, social media and cell phones, the world has shrunk to the size of a planetary village. There is no doubt that the diaspora of the Celts reached all the around the globe, at some time turned southeast at the pacific, and touched down in Australia. With a bit of nuance and a lot of style, the Land of Oz’ favorite daughter, pianist Fiona Joy Hawkins proves it on her tour de force release, 600 Years in a Moment. This is Fiona's answer to globalization. The provenance of this album is as old as the world and as new as the rising sun. Hawkins proves once and for all that she belongs on the short list of New Age composers that can delight and enchant with every performance. The album is 12 tracks of slightly Celtic/contemporary/New Age piano and light ensemble played on old world instruments and a hand made piano by the renowned Stuart & Sons. You are in for a treat. This is, and please pardon the oxymoronic concept, modern history in musical terms.
Fiona's hushed voice begins the title track, 600 Years proclaiming, "The end is the beginning, 600 years and I will be home." Suddenly I was treated to the sparkling notes of the piano and the delightful voice of Heather Rankin. It is a promise of a return and that a life has come full circle.
Naked Love tended to be a rather complex song, but that is as it should be. What is love but the act of total surrender, the opening of your heart completely and admitting to your emotional vulnerability. It is as naked as you can get. And then there is the other side, the giving of yourself, the promise of faithfulness and music made by the sound of two hearts beating as one.
One of my favorites on the album is The Journey. Too many artists use the term journey as a metaphor for the time spent searching for the right chord or the right audience. In many instances this in measured in days in the cellar by the untalented or unknowing. In this case it is Fiona's physical journey across the globe, playing, composing and hoping. And all along the way finding her particular sound of beauty.
Gliding reminds me of New Age music from the eighties. It was a time when Windham Hills and Narada vied for the most serene recordings they could find. It was the birth of a new age in music. The tune is pastoral with a lightness that is the standard of the genre offering wings to explore beyond the physical.
Any day is a good day for a dance, but Fiona's moody piece Tango on Wednesday seems to exude anticipation in a dramatic way. It is something to look forward to. It is not just the swaying, the spinning or the jaunty steps that will take place. It is the caress of the flesh, the warmth and the contact.
Like the continent it is named after, there is nothing cold or vacant in Fiona's rendition of Antarctica. Instead she finds the vast, frosty land a place of consolation. Perhaps it is the clarity of the starlight there or the beauty of the Aurora Australis made by the passing of souls in the southern sky.
My favorite on the album, however, is Forgiveness featuring Fiona's euphonic piano and the haunting Chinese bawu, a wind instrument that sounds surprisingly like a clarinet. It made me think of Richard Stolzman's sound. The bawu in this piece is played superbly by Paul Jarman. I know I have mentioned it before, but I am big on forgiveness. There are so many wrongs being wrought in the world and the only way to handle them is with forgiveness. The song is a sweet testament to the power one can garner when a burden of resentment is lifted from one’s shoulders.
There are many talented artists on this album and they are literally, too many to mention as well as a quick nod to producers Will Ackerman and Corin Nelsen. This is Fiona Joy Hawkins best album to date and I believe I've said that before. She has hit all the right buttons, or piano keys on this one. The combination of ancient instruments and contemporary compositions mesh seamlessly to give an amazing performance.
- reviewed by RJ Lannan on 8/2/2013
Review '600 Years in a Moment'
Although I haven’t met award-winning composer/pianist/vocalist Fiona Joy Hawkins in person, she feels like an old friend, with this being the fourth album of hers that I’ve had the pleasure to write about. The previous recordings include Sensual Journeys, Blue Dream, and Christmas Joy. With the press release for her latest album, 600 Years In A Moment, heralding it as “her most epic and significant album,” I was of course very much looking forward to it. And after hearing it in detail, I have to say that it definitely lives up to that lofty accolade.
Listening to a recording is somewhat akin to enjoying (hopefully) the fruits of the composer’s musical tree. In addition to focusing on the fruits, I sometimes find it fascinating to explore the seed from which the tree grew. In the case of Fiona’s new album, it has had an interesting genesis. It seems that the inspiration for this work evolved from a discussion she had about globalization. Fiona goes on to explain: “I have often wondered how globalisation affects music and how history changes our perception of instruments and the musical culture of our ancestors.” This sparked my curiosity and I felt compelled to ask her to expound on it. Here is her reply: “It inspired me to think about this in a musical sense and how the whole issue of cultures disappearing and the world becoming one big melting pot of genetics and cultures that are replaced by something more generic that represents the world as its becoming today. So after some thought I believe that our musical past is safe and sound and still vibrant. The instruments and ‘sounds’ that define each culture are still well defined and although music has its own evolution and there are always modern elements, we seem to allow history to co-exist with our modern approach because we still celebrate the various musical periods in history and the instruments of the time. I think we get a little caught up with past composers and forget to celebrate new music – I find it interesting that this has always been so, and even the composers of the past had this problem.”
I also had to ask her about the unusual title for the album, to which she replied: “600 Years in a Momentcame about as the perfect title when a friend’s life was resolved in an instant after 6 years of searching. I expanded that to 600 Years (although some of my instruments are much older). She gave me the idea that things can come together in an instant as her past problems had resolved and her present and future were determined by one small moment (that I was part of).” 600 Years in a Momentwas recorded using a unique contemporary piano crafted in Australia along with ancient instruments from around the world. Fiona’s concept is to bring instruments and their distinctive sounds from villages across the globe to explore the hidden musical treasures of cultures in a modern musical setting. The album is eclectic, acoustic, beautifully produced, and spans genres with influences of new age, jazz, classical, and world music. It explores time and history, bringing the past to the present, joining old with new and finding origins while looking into the future. 600 Years in a Moment is a journey from Fiona’s native Australia that travels sonically around the world with the distinctly Celtic flavour of her ancestors while combining sounds from other ancient cultures. In addition to piano, Fiona also adds vocals on the album and has often been told that she sounds like an “Australian Enya.”
“The end is the beginning…” These spoken words open the album as the title track unfolds. In a soft voice Fiona continues: “Far from the shore, the winds will whisper, 600 years and I’ll be home...” From this enigmatic entrance, the journey begins, as her haunting piano melody sets the stage with a spacious and cinematic air as strings provide subtle accompaniment. An Irish whistle adds a Celtic flavor to the mix while sparse vocals by Heather Rankin in Gaelic and English drift in and out as if in a dream. I particularly liked the interplay between the vocals and the accompanying instruments, which often come in seamlessly at the end of a phrase on the same note. A track entitled “Naked Love,” opens with a motif that bears a slight resemblance to the jazz piano classic “Take Five” by Dave Brubeck, although with a slower tempo and different vibe, before morphing into other movements. A variety of Asian instruments and Mongolian throat singing bring an international flavor to the track. In fact, as I read the liner notes I was amazed at the huge variety of exotic musical instruments from around the world, which appear throughout the album. Equally impressive is the list of accompanying musicians, which include Eugene Friesen (Paul Winter Consort) on cello, bassist Tony Levin (Paul McCartney and Peter Gabriel), Jeff Haynes (Pat Metheney) on drums and percussion, violinist Charlie Bisharat (Yanni), violinist/vocalist Rebecca Daniel (Australian Chamber Orchestra), guitarists Will Ackerman and Todd Boston, and many others. Grammy winners Will Ackerman and Corin Nelsen also shared producer’s credits with Fiona. Truly an all-star cast.
While just about all the songs feature diverse collections of instruments and musicians, the album does include a lovely and sensitive piano solo by Fiona entitled “Earthbound.” The sweetly introspective mood continues on “Gliding,” which opens with a piano intro leading into ensemble interplay. Reading the list of accompanists and instruments on the various songs, it might seem like the tracks could be rather busy, but everything is expertly mixed with just the right amount of subtlety to allow Fiona’s graceful piano to shine, while still providing melodic and textural support. A touch of her Australian homeland is heard in “Running On Joy,” as a didgeridoo adds its earthy ambience to this lighthearted tune. A very different part of the globe is referenced on a track called “Antarctica,” which sparkles with glacial beauty. As I neared the end of the album on an interestingly titled piece called “Captured Freedom,” I was aware of how a number of the songs begin with solo piano before being joined by other instruments. I appreciated that it provided a contrast and an opportunity to experience Fiona’s playing and melodic sensibilities on their own before flowing into a collective musical pool. One exception, however, is the final track, which opens with the haunting sound of a Chinese reed instrument called the Bawu played by Paul Jarman. The understated alchemy of this instrument and the piano evokes a Zen-like ambience and is a perfectly peaceful way to bring the album to a close.
Like her music with its global spectrum, Fiona herself is a world citizen and travels far and wide for her performances. As I write this article she has just returned from a regional tour of Australia, and is preparing to leave soon for a European tour. Fans in the US won’t have long to wait either, as she will be in America this September – November 2013. One supporter is well-known LA music publicist Beth Ann Hilton who said of Fiona: “I really appreciate that Fiona likes to push boundaries with her music, her image AND her approach to marketing. She works very hard for excellence at every level, seeking out opportunities and trying innovative tactics; she’s both talented and brave!” And speaking of innovative marketing, in addition to CD’s and downloads the album is also available in SACD and vinyl for audio connoisseurs. 600 Years In A Moment is a masterful mélange of superlative musical performance, stunning contemporary composition, and widely diversified cultural influences. Preceded by a string of award winning and critically acclaimed recordings, Fiona Joy Hawkins has outdone herself with this release and continues to set the bar ever higher in the unfolding of her creative potential.
Review by Michael Diamond – Music and Media Focus
Review Kathy Parsons - Mainly Piano Oct 2011
Fiona Joy Hawkins
2011 / Little Hartley Music
Christmas Joy is Fiona Joy Hawkins’ beautiful contribution to the world of Christmas and holiday music. She co-produced the album with Grammy Award winner Corin Nelsen, with Will Ackerman acting as production advisor. Hawkins appears on piano and some of the vocals, backed by a very impressive list of musicians and singers that include Philip Aaberg, Will Ackerman, Heather Rankin, Charlie Bisharat, and Eugene Friesen. The eleven tracks include four originals and seven familiar and traditional Christmas pieces, but even the traditional songs are given a brand new feel with improvisation and original interpretations. Until you’ve heard “Jingle Bells” with didgeridoo in the background, you haven’t really heard it! It is interesting to note that Fiona recorded this album on a Stuart and Son’s piano, a relatively new Australian piano that is hand-made and getting rave reviews all over the world. This really isn’t just another Christmas album - it is more of a musical event that follows up Hawkins’ multi-award winning 2008 album Blue Dream.
Christmas Joy opens with one of my favorite songs - “Walking In the Air” from The Snowman. It begins as a piano solo with light string washes in the background, emphasizing the haunting melody. On the second verse, Heather Rankin sings a counter-melody with Gaelic lyrics. This piece is so beautiful that it takes your breath away. I will probably have that track worn out before Christmas! “Still Still Still” is light, playful, and completely charming. Paraguayan harp adds some unusual touches and gives this arrangement a world music feeling. “Silent Night” is very slow and conveys a sense of deep peace and calm. “Gliding On a Sleigh” brings in Charlie Bisharat on violin and Premik Russell Tubbs on soprano sax. Also very slow and serene, it paints a gorgeous portrait of a peaceful winter scene. “Christmas Wedding” shimmers and sparkles with bright white bliss. “O Come O Come Emmanuel” is another favorite song of mine and is one of the earliest carols. This arrangement is unusual in that Friesen adds “God Rest Ye Gentlemen” as a counter-melody for one of the verses - and it works incredibly well. “Flight of the Snowbird” is a lovely new arrangement of one of Hawkins’ signature pieces, “Flight of the Albatross.” A string trio joins the piano, adding a richness and fullness to the already gorgeous piece. Love it! Piano, cello, and violin perform an elegant and graceful “The Holly and the Ivy” that is somewhat slower than you usually hear it, but is perfect at this leisurely pace. “Christmas Joy” picks up the tempo and dances for - you guessed it! A full ensemble joins in on this one, conveying unbridled happiness and warm contentment. “Away In a Manger” brings us back to “the reason for the season” with a sweet and tender lullaby for piano, violin, and cello - a touching and fitting conclusion to a fantastic album.
Christmas Joy is an album I’ve been looking forward to, and it was well-worth the wait. It is available from www.littlehartleymusic.com, Amazon, iTunes, and CD Baby. I highly recommend it!
FIONA JOY HAWKINS RECEIVES ARIA NOMINATION AND IS ON THE GRAMMY BALLOT PAPERS
FOR IMMEDIATE DISTRIBUTION
15th October 2009
FIONA JOY HAWKINS RECEIVES ARIA NOMINATION AND IS ON THE GRAMMY BALLOT PAPERS
Australian musician Fiona Joy Hawkins is a star on the rise with a nomination for Best Album (Blue Dream) in the World Music category in this year’s ARIA Awards plus the album and songs from it are on the Grammy Ballot papers in five categories: Best Instrumental Composition, Best Surround Sound, Best New Age Album, Best Pop Instrumental and Best Engineer.
Blue Dream was released by ABC Music in April and features a guest performance from Luka Bloom. This is Fiona’s fourth album. It was upon hearing her earlier music that legendary Grammy Award winning musician Will Ackerman contacted Fiona and asked if she’d like to record her next album at his studio in Vermont. The result has been a phenomenally successful album that just continues to receive high praise.
Fiona is a classically trained pianist who draws upon a number of styles and influences from classical to world rhythms, jazz and New Age to create her own musical tapestry that is spiritually evocative and intimate.
Fiona will be making a rare concert appearance at the Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre, Penrith, at 7.30pm, Friday November 20th. The concert will include a talk from Robin Howat a music therapist from Nordoff-Robbins about the power of music and its healing and health benefits.
This is fantastic opportunity to catch Fiona in concert and hear what all the excitement is about. Fiona will be joined on stage by Rebecca Daniel on violin, Patricia McMeekin on cello, Andy Busuttil on clarinet, saxillo and percussion.
Fiona received the 2008 MusicOz winner for Best Classical/Jazz Artist. She released her first independent album Portrait Of A Waterfall in 2005. Veteran New Age Music critic Bill Binkelman said of her latest album Blue Dream “[for] devotees of contemporary piano and ensemble recordings [Blue Dream] sets a new standard of emotional depth, production quality, and musical variety.”
All of Fiona’s albums have received critical acclaim with numerous awards and nominations including two for the 2007 LA Music Awards.
CONCERT AND BOOKING DETAILS
Fiona Joy Hawkins, Power of Music, A Concert for Wellbeing
Friday 20 November, 7.30pm
Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre
597 High Street, Penrith
Ticket prices: $22; $18 conc.
Bookings:- Box Office Ph: 4723-7600 or online at: www.jspac.com.au
For more information contact:
PR Manager The Music Sales Group 8252 6207
Insight Magazine did a front cover feature and interview for August 2009
Insight Magazine did a front cover feature and interview for August, I must say it does feel odd to see my face in a newsagency!!
[Click on image above for a larger view]
FIONA JOY HAWKINS - LIVING HER DREAM
This year is shaping up to be a big one for multi-award winning contemporary classical composer and performer Fiona Joy Hawkins. Fiona's fourth album Blue Dream, that was produced by Grammy Award winner Will Ackerman and features guest performances from Luka Bloom and T-Bone Wolk (Hall & Oates), has just been released by ABC Music; she has signed a publishing deal with The Music Sales Group; and Japanese record label Domo Records, home to the legendary Kitaro, has invited her to join them. It is going to be a hectic year.
Fiona a classically trained pianist and 2008 MusicOz winner for Best Jazz or Classical Artist released her first album Portrait of A Waterfall in 2005. All of her albums have been critically acclaimed with numerous awards and nominations including two for the 2007 LA Music Awards. However, despite her international standing Fiona's profile has remained relatively low key in her own country - for now.
Fiona first began playing and writing music as a child and cites Ravel's Bolero as a very early influence. "I played this over and over and deconstructed every part, I absolutely loved it," said Fiona. Other musical influences include: George Winston, Michael Nyman, Chopin and Mendelssohn.
Fiona's home was also filled with the sound of the Andrew Lloyd Webber musicals.
"My father played Jesus in the Tamworth Musical Society production of Jesus Christ Superstar so Andrew Lloyd Webber's music was always in our home."
In her free time Fiona confesses to be a bit of a "folkie" at heart listening to the likes of Dido, Janis Ian and Luka Bloom.
"My all time favourite musician however is Luka Bloom. I have been a major fan for years so when he approached me directly through my website to ask if he could work with me I was over the moon," said Fiona.
Luka Bloom features on Fiona's new album Blue Dream a 68 minute suite of music she wrote and recorded at Will Ackerman's Imaginary Road Studios in Vermont, on a Steinway.
"I wrote the music for this album in six months. It was a very emotionally turbulent time in my life and the music reflects how I felt as I was looking backwards and looking forward," said Fiona.
The album goes from quiet contemplative piano to full orchestral, to world sounds, rhythms, jazz influences and back again to the perfect "Bach" moment - all in a breath. The album was produced in surround sound and will be available in SACD format later this year for the purists, as well as traditional CD format.
Will Ackerman, Founder of Windham Hill Records, said, "Blue Dream began as the most ambitious project of my entire career and resulted in one of the most remarkable collaborations this genre has ever known. The scope of what we contemplated in the beginning was so vast as to be nearly paralyzing, but with Fiona's talent, both as a composer and player, and a group of musicians of world-class calibre, a 68 minute suite of music resulted. The music itself spans a broad range of styles and ethnicities and yet (though we didn't know whether we'd succeed until the very end) is magically cohesive. It works! Never has faith been more rewarded. Blue Dream is unique and I'm as proud of it (and Fiona) as anything I've ever worked on in my 35 year career of Grammy Awards and Gold and Platinum records."
In addition to composing Fiona is also a prolific painter who has been exhibiting since 1997. Fiona incorporates original manuscripts of her music on the canvas to create bold colourful mixed media abstracts so you can hear and see her music.
"The idea of synchronicity has always intrigued me, colours, ideas and emotions all have corresponding sounds," said Fiona.
"I believe in the power of music as a source of inspiration and a way of reaching people, and I can transfer a musical quality through my art to the canvas."
In addition to her four albums Fiona has released three albums specifically for the burgeoning itunes market: Music for Funerals, Music For Weddings and Music For Sex.
"I started to notice that specific tracks kept getting downloaded, in particular Ciney's Theme (Wedding March) and realised that people are after purposeful music whether this is for a wedding or funeral. The albums are doing extremely well and Ciney's Theme is now my #1 downloaded itunes track."
Now with Blue Dream out, performance commitments, international interest and a growing internet market Fiona's future is truly looking like a dream run!
Blue Dream is out now on ABC Music. For more information on Fiona go to: www.fionajoyhawkins.com.au