Composer Cat Hope has been described as “a superstar of Australian new music” best known for her graphic scores and new score-reading technologies.
It’s fascinating to wonder how the daughter of a military family with no especial leaning towards the arts has ended up being an internationally recognised authority on experimental music.
Despite the bass guitar being her first love (instrumentally speaking), Cat Hope began as a flautist - it was the main instrument through which she achieved her undergraduate degree at the University of Western Australia. She has always been a political animal, and described herself in her university days as being, to all intents and purposes - “a punk” - studying classical music by day and attending thrash gigs and engaging in active anarchic action by night.
Yet it was at UWA that Cat's ears were first tuned to new (experimental) music, where she realised that classical and new music are not completely separate…that new classical music is often an outcome of new political happenings and that some of it sounded a lot like the punk music she was already listening to.
A long time spent in Europe, particularly in the heady days of post Wall Berlin, Cat refined her bass playing, learned how to write a solid pop tune and finally settled back in Perth in 1997, continuing to play and compose in her groundbreaking style here despite the creative brain drain and cultural cringe of the time, forming bands including Gata Negra, Lux Mammoth and Decibel.
Two decades later, as an established member of the local, national and international arts community, one (as she says) with “the privilege of a full time job”, Cat Hope has visibly returned to her political roots, taking a stand against the Federal Government’s severe funding cuts to the arts and actively promoting women in the new music arena.
In 2017 Cat takes up a brilliant new appointment as Head of the Sir Zelman Cowan School of Music at Monash University in Melbourne.
Find examples of Cat Hope's music here on her BandCamp page. Three Gates Media thanks Cat immensely for this conversation.
This episode of Rare Air was recorded at the studios of RTRFM 92.1 in Mount Lawley, WA
Mixed by Adrian Sardi of The Vault
Music "The Summit" by Blue Dot Sessions from freemusicarchive.org