Our guest artist for Passport Down Under, William Barton, was recently named Queensland Australian of the Year and was a finalist for Australian of the Year!
According to ABC News in Australia, the indigenous musician was unable to accept the Queensland award in person because he was in Melbourne receiving two awards from the Australian Guild of Screen Composers. He won the Best Soundtrack Album for the movie River, as well as Best Original Song Composed for the Screen.
William, who is of Kalkadunga heritage, grew up in the Mount Isa region of north-west Queensland. He told ABC News, "That region, in all its rugged beauty, and pink and red hues that light up the evening sky, has been the inspiration for my compositions. It is about honesty and truth with the music of the land." His uncle, an Aboriginal elder, inspired him to learn the didgeridoo. William said, “"I wanted to be a part of that mystery and that magic I felt when he played the didgeridoo."
William was the first person to integrate the soulful sounds of the didgeridoo with orchestras. He was recognized with the Queensland Australian of the Year award for his tireless commitment and compassion in his pursuits. And he was part of the nationwide Australian of the Year Awards in January.
William told ABC News that there were times when he could not believe where his career had taken him, saying, "Sometimes you have to pinch yourself, like when you're backstage at Carnegie Hall."
William Barton will join the Cape Symphony for Passport Down Under on Saturday, April 1 at 7:30 PM and Sunday, April 2, 2023 at 3:00 PM at the Barnstable Performing Arts Center, 744 West Main Street, Hyannis MA 02601. He'll bring the extraordinary authenticity and musicianship that are the hallmarks of our Passport series.