AJ is a performer, conductor and creative producer. She grew up in Sydney as a member of the Sydney Children’s Choir and Gondwana Voices and has toured nationally as well as across the USA, Canada, China and New Zealand. AJ has recorded for a number of Australian film soundtracks, including as a soloist for PJ Hogan’s Mental and Baz Luhrman’s Australia. In 2012, both her vocal performances and choral composition were nominated for Encore. In 2017, AJ completed her PhB with Honours in History.
AJ performs regularly as a soloist and a consort singer in Sydney and Canberra, and has conducted multiple high-achieving community choirs. She performs regularly with the Luminescence Chamber Singers, the Choir of St James King St, and has appeared as a member of Pinchgut Opera, as well as national ensembles such as Gondwana Chorale and the Australian Voices.
AJ is the Artistic Director and founder of the Luminescence Children's Choir, and is currently Director of Choirs at Radford College. In recent years, AJ has served as the Musical Director of Canberra Community Chorale and the ANU School of Music H-Course Vocal Ensemble.
YUGEN: PROFOUND GRACE
AMPLEYA @ ARTNOTAPART
SATURDAY 16 MARCH, 1pm - 7pm, NISHI MOSAIC ROOM
Yūgen is a Japanese term referring to the beauty of human suffering beyond that which can be described. Informed by the structural use of repetition, cycles and static harmony found in traditions of Indonesian gamelan and Japanese gagaku, this live musical performance explores concepts of “profound grace” through traditional Asian musical aesthetics and concepts of timelessness, stillness and being. Accompanied by a multichannel video installation documenting vulnerability, ritual and loss within the social, urban and domestic spheres, at its core Yūgen, Profound Grace, is sensitive to its historical moment, its audience and its environment.
AMPLEYA is the artistic collaboration between composer and pianist Rasa Daukus, mezzo-soprano AJ America and photomedia artist Genevieve Swifte. Transcending the limitations of their respective art forms, Ampleya brings together new compositions for piano and voice with multichannel video installations to produce exquisite experiences of musical performance and moving imagery. Intimate, yet immersive, Ampleya explores sublime moments of the everyday and redefines the relationships between audience, performer, composer and photographer.
LAST VERSES: LUMINESCENCE CHAMBER SINGERS//CANBERRA SINFONIA
SUNDAY 23 March, 7.30pm, Wesley Uniting Church Canberra
Luminescence Chamber Singers and Canberra Sinfonia perform Arvo Pärt’s Adam’s Lament and Dan Walker’s Last Verses.
Book tickets here.
CAPTIVITY AND FREEDOM
Saturday 6 April, 5pm, St James’ Church, Sydney
The Choir of St James’ performs music for Lent, and explores themes of captivity and freedom, personal struggle and renewal, with music by William Byrd, Philip Moore, and many others. Dietrich Bonhoeffer was executed in a Nazi concentration camp in April 1945, only weeks before the camp was liberated. Philip Moore’s sensitive settings of excerpts from Bonhoeffer’s Letters and Papers from Prison capture the author’s faith and doubt, hope and despair. Similarly, the whole gamut of human emotion is on display in Byrd’s setting of Savonarola’s meditation on Psalm 51, Infelix ego, as the Italian priest endured horrific torture and faced imminent death.
Book tickets here.
LUMINESCENCE @ CANBERRA INTERNATIONAL MUSIC FESTVAL
SUNDAY 12 MAY, 6.30pm, Fitter’s Workshop
Bach’s final choral variation on “Before your throne I now appear” is steeped in myth and mystery. According to the legend, the ailing and, by then, blind composer dictated the work from his deathbed. The end of his final fugue in ‘The Art of Fugue’, is even more contested. On this occasion it will be performed in the edition of his son Carl Philipp Emanuel, with voices and left unfinished after the entry of the third subject, his name’s musical signature: B-A-C-H. These final moments bring back the memories of happier times. Bach Akademie Australia and Korneel Bernolet return to the stage for Kantatas 202 and 147, some of Bach’s most joyful and life-affirming statements.
LUMINESCENCE CHILDREN’S CHOIR: IN CONCERT
Friday 12 July, 6pm, Drill Hall Gallery, Canberra
AJ conducts the Luminescence Children’s Choir in a recital ranging from Lassus, to Mendelssohn, to contemporary Australian Art music, and Swedish folk song.
A CHORUS OF WOMEN: A PASSION FOR PEACE
Friday 28 June (7.30pm); Sunday 30 June (3pm), Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture
AJ appears as a soloist in a Chorus of Women's contemporary oratorio, a Passion for Peace. Passion for Peace is a musical retelling of the neglected histories of the 1915 International Congress of Women and the founding of Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom. This iteration of A Passion for Peace explores the Armistice and the 2nd International Congress of Women, which was held in 1919 as the Treaty of Versailles was being negotiated.
SCHUBERT AND LISZT: SIMONE YOUNG’S VISIONS OF VIENNA
Thursday 22 August, 1.30pm, Sydney Opera House
Friday 23 August, 8:00pm, Sydney Opera House
Saturday 24 August, 2:00pm, Sydney Opera House
AJ appears as a member of Cantillation to join the Sydney Symphony in their performance of Liszt’s Dante Symphony. The vividly infernal, voluptuous and heavenly music of Liszt’s symphony leads us through Hell and Purgatory and on to an angelic song of faith. Along the way we visit famous characters like the tragic Francesca di Rimini. A heavenly choir makes for a truly celestial finale.
CHRISTMAS WITH LUMINESCENCE
Friday 14 December, 7pm, All Saints Anglican Church, Ainslie
Saturday 15 December, 7pm, All Saints Anglican Church, Ainslie
Herald in the festive season with Luminescence's annual Christmas concert, featuring Luminescence Chamber Singers, Luminescence Children's Choir and Little Lumi
Ampleya is the artistic collaboration between composer and pianist Rasa Daukus, mezzo-soprano AJ America and photographic artist Genevieve Swifte. Transcending the limitations of their respective art forms, Ampleya brings together new compositions for piano and voice with multichannel video installations to produce exquisite experiences of musical performance and moving imagery. Intimate, yet immersive, Ampleya explores sublime moments of the everyday and redefines the relationships between audience, performer, composer and photographer.
"America was engaging and charming from the first song" [...] "Throughout the whole program, America revealed a rich but unweighted mezzo tone. To the often highly complex tonal language, she brought near-perfect intonation and nuanced timbres"
“Poems and Prayers”, at ANU Drill Hall Gallery, 1 July 2018. Reviewed by JUDITH CRISPIN.
An Electic Tribute to Music, Canberra CityNews
"AJ America immediately catches people’s attention with her quality and tone. Her singing is exceptional."
“Stabat Mater” by Giovanni Pergolesi. Wayfarers Australia. At St Alban’s Church, Lyons, 29 March 2018. Reviewed by ROB KENNEDY
Wayfarers Bring Home A Wonderful Concert, Canberra CityNews
"Her stunning voice in its range and power made this song the best of the night."
“Americans in Paris”, Luminescence Chamber Singers. At the Drill Hall Gallery, Sunday, February 25. Reviewed by ROB KENNEDY
An Uplifting Concert of Luminescence, Canberra CityNews
"Mezzo AJ America also put in a fine, clear-toned turn as Penelope’s nurse Ericlea."
"Ulysses Now", Canberra International Music Festival, Fitter's Workshop, 2 May 2018, Reviewed by ANGUS MCPHERSON
Ulysses Now, Limelight
Alice Chance and AJ America Talk Wild Women, CutCommon, 17 September 2016
Luminescence: Harmony for Women in Music, CutCommon, 22 March 2016