The Idea of North

Great Southern Series Concert 5
Saturday 20 July, 1pm
Music Workshop, Sydney Conservatorium of Music
Tickets $25 – $35

EMMA Rule | Soprano
NAOMI Crellin | Alto
NICK Begbie | Tenor
LUKE Thompson | Bass

‘The Idea of North is a truly outstanding vocal group! Their musical arrangements are spectacular in their conception and delivery, with colours ranging from the purest of unisons to some of the most intricate tensions and counterpoint. This is a wonderful group to watch in performance… truly a sight and sound experience of the highest calibre.’

This generous tribute comes from Don Burrows, an Australian icon, unsurpassed jazz musician and educator, whose lifetime of performing and teaching achievements, including his time as the Director of Jazz Studies at The Sydney Conservatorium, are now legendary.

The members of The Idea of North (TION) have studied in some of Australia’s foremost music schools – the Elder Conservatorium attached to Adelaide University, the Victorian College of the Arts, and the Canberra School of Music attached to the ANU. They have all been involved in performing in and/or directing smaller and larger choral ensembles and a cappella groups, most of which reflect their great love of the jazz idiom. TION became a fulltime, professional ensemble in 1998.

Studying and/or working with some of the truly great contemporary vocal groups and teachers has been an important part of TION’s development. Mentors have included The New York Voices (USA), The Real Group (Sweden), Tuck and Patti (USA), Gene Puerling (The Hi- Lo’s, Singers Unlimited, USA), Take 6 (USA) and The Manhattan Transfer (USA).

TION has developed an enviable reputation and has been described by James Morrison, another great icon of the Australian Jazz scene, as ‘the best contemporary vocal quartet in Australia’. TION has performed often with James Morrison and both he and Don Burrows are featured on a number of TION’s recordings. The group has also established a very significant reputation overseas where they travel frequently for festivals, concerts, workshops and corporate events. Countries regularly visited include the USA and many different countries in both Europe and Asia. They have hosted and/or performed at a number of major festivals in such arenas as The Lincoln Centre in New York, the Kennedy Centre for the Performing Arts in Washington DC and similar venues in Asia.

In 2003 TION won The Harmony Sweepstakes in the USA. This is one of the largest international a cappella competitions in the world, open to any a cappella group of three to seven people singing in any musical style or genre. In its (then) twenty year history, this was the first time that the winner was an ensemble from outside the USA. It is one of many awards for performing, writing, arranging and recording that TION has garnered over the years. They have produced thirteen albums (their seventh, a collaboration with James Morrison, won the 2010 ARIA award for ‘Best Jazz Album’, their eighth was nominated for the same award and also won the Limelight ‘Best Jazz Album’ award, and their tenth won the 2013 ARIA award, again for Best Jazz Album) and a live, in-concert DVD. 2014 saw the group honoured by an induction into the ACT Hall of Fame, and release their eleventh album ‘Anthology’; a best-of collection from their 21-year history.

“A cappella is sometimes thought of as being minimalist, but when you can sing and entertain like The Idea of North, a band would just get in the way…”
– James Morrison

“Weaving pure magic with just four voices, by the encore you’ll forget that’s all they use!”
The Adelaide Review

“Strong, polished voices with a blend to envy – a welcome addition to the tradition of great vocal jazz.”
– Peter Eldridge, New York Voices

’ Impeccable a cappella…they have class stamped over everything they do. Catch them and marvel.’ – The Adelaide Review

“…measured and absorbing. Like ABBA dipped in velvet.” – Sydney Morning Herald

“This a cappella outfit can’t put a foot wrong…” Critic’s rating: 10/10
Sun Herald, Sydney

“A vocal quartet of wit, charm and breathtaking musical virtuosity.”
The Adelaide Advertiser

“The Idea of North swept in and stole every musical plaudit at this year’s Fringe… Australia has not produced a more sophisticated entertaining vocal group than this young quartet.
The Adelaide Review

“…an impeccable standard of musicianship…”
The  Age

“Smooth, sophisticated close-harmony arrangements… A pitch-perfect ensemble. ”
The Courier-Mail Brisbane

“In terms of quality of ensemble and elegance of arrangements, this group’s work is in the same league as that of The Swingle Singers in their heyday. On top of that, they incorporate a wry, deadpan Australian sense of humour that made their performance immensely entertaining.”
David M. Schwartz, Sydney Morning Herald