Alumni led Mirabilis Collective partners with UWA Conservatorium of Music

30/11/2023 | 4 mins

Mirabilis Collective: UWA Alumni Pioneering a New Wave in Music and Mentorship

In the heart of Perth, a musical revolution is taking shape, led by The Univeristy of Western Australia alumni Stephanie Nicholls and Tresna Stampalia. Named Mirabilis Collective — “mirabilis" is a Latin adjective meaning "wondrous and remarkable” — this ensemble is not just about music; it's a movement that aims to empower, include and inspire. Now, with a ground-breaking partnership with UWA Conservatorium of Music, the Collective is set to reach new heights. This is a story of how two UWA graduates are changing the landscape of music and mentorship, one note at a time.

UWA Alumni Shaping Western Australia's Arts Scene

Stephanie and Tresna first crossed paths at UWA, where their friendship and creative collaboration began.

"When Tresna and I left university, we had a lot of opportunities to perform professionally and develop successful freelance careers,” Stephanie says.

Their journey has been marked by performances in orchestras, chamber music ensembles and Australian touring musical theatre productions but what sets them apart is their commitment to mentorship, a value they attribute to their time at UWA and the exceptional musicians who guided them.

“We’ve noticed over the past decade numerous young women leaving the profession because they have decided there’s not a career here. We are losing a lot of talent because of this," Stephanie says.

A Vision Beyond the Music

Mirabilis Collective is not just about performances; it's about creating a dialogue that transcends musical notes.

"We like to think of our organisation as: intergenerational women performing genre-defying music. That’s what I love about it," Stephanie says.

Their commitment to collaboration extends beyond the musical realm, embracing theatre and the visual arts, believing in the power of shared ideas and mutual learning.

What sets Mirabilis Collective apart is its unique approach to concert programming. All the music performed in their concerts is written by women, spanning genres from classical to pop, world, and folk styles.

"We want our concerts to be accessible to all," Tresna says.

The Collective aims for audiences to connect deeply with the music they play.

"People may come for one genre but will hear another, and we hope they enjoy the new experience," Tesna says.

This approach not only broadens the musical horizons of the audience but also serves as a powerful platform for underrepresented female composers and musicians.

The Mirabilis Collective with their instrumentsImage: The Mirabilis Collective is led by two UWA Alumni, and has become a powerful platform for emerging graduates.

Fostering Inclusivity and Community Engagement

The Collective is committed to diversity and inclusion, striving to create an environment where women artists from all disciplines and backgrounds can flourish.

"We’re putting the spotlight on the often underrepresented work by women," Tresna says.

They engage the community through workshops, open rehearsals, and discussions, providing opportunities for deeper engagement with their music and themes.
A Partnership Rooted in Shared Values

Mirabilis Collective recently announced a partnership with the UWA Conservatorium of Music.

"This collaboration with UWA Conservatorium of Music symbolises a meeting of minds and a confluence of musical visions," Stephanie says.

The partnership will provide venue support for concerts and creative development workshops and integrate participation in Mirabilis projects into undergraduate and postgraduate studies at the Conservatorium.

Professor Alan Lourens, Head of the Conservatorium of Music, says UWA are pleased to be supporting such a fantastic initiative that is giving emerging artists opportunities to refine their craft under the mentorship of respected and established musicians.

"The values and aims of Mirabilis Collective create wonderful musical experiences while building a robust and connected community in Western Australia,” Alan says.

Spotlight on Emerging UWA Talent: Verses in Velvet

The partnership was inaugurated with the Verses in Velvet concert, part of the Her Voice Resounds series. The concert featured UWA Conservatorium students Bridget Hutchinson and Shirley Ng. Bridget, a third-year student, delivered a moving rendition of Che si può fare by Baroque-era composer Barbara Strozzi, and seamlessly transitioned to a chamber music arrangement of Taylor Swift's Begin Again. Shirley, a first-year student, captivated the audience with Could Love by Mirabilis Collective artist and UWA alumna, Julia Nicholls.

Both students reflected on their experiences saying the invaluable learning and growth we achieved, especially in performing pieces by a diverse group of female composers, was remarkable.

The Remarkables: A Network of Sponsors

Mirabilis Collective is taking a significant step by setting up a network of sponsors called "The Remarkables", aimed at commissioning and funding new works by local female composers. This initiative not only supports the Collective but also serves as a catalyst for the creation of new compositions.

Inspiring the Next Generation

The vision of Mirabilis Collective is not confined to the present; it aims to leave a lasting impact.

"We’re learning as much from the young women we are working with as I hope they are from us, which I think is wonderful. We get their perspective on style and programming," Stephanie says.

They are dedicated to inspiring future musicians and music lovers, contributing to the vibrant cultural landscape of WA and beyond.

A Legacy in Every Note

Mirabilis Collective is more than an ensemble; it's a catalyst for change in the arts. It's a space where women musicians find their voice, where their talents are not just acknowledged but celebrated. It's a living, breathing example of the profound effects of mentorship, the beauty of collaboration, and the strength of community. So, when the final bow is taken and the applause subsides, the impact of Mirabilis Collective lingers on, leaving an indelible mark on the hearts and minds of all who have been touched by their work. That is a legacy that transcends the stage.

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