Meet Alice Giles

Canberra musician Alice Giles was awarded an Australian Antarctic Arts Fellowship in summer 2010/11.

First Prize winner of the 8th Israel International Harp Contest, Artistic Director of the World Harp Congress Sydney 2014, Alice Giles has had a wide-ranging solo career, from London’s Wigmore Hall, New York’s Merkin, ‘92nd St Y’ and Carnegie Halls, to Mawson research station in Antarctica. Regarded by Berio as foremost interpreter of his Sequenza II, founding Director of the Seven Harp Ensemble (SHE), she has commissioned and performed many new works.

Guest artist at international festivals, soloist with orchestras, acclaimed recitalist and recording artist, Giles has given Master Classes in most of the major music institutions, and is Lecturer at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. Her annual master courses are held on the NSW South Coast. She was awarded an AM (Member of the Order of Australia) for “Significant service to the performing arts as a harpist, mentor and educator, and through contributions to Australia’s musical landscape”.

Arts Fellowship project

Alice Giles travelled to Antarctica on the Aurora Australis in 2010, visiting both Davis and Mawson research stations.

Giles’s journey to Antarctica followed in the footsteps of her great grandfather, Cecil Madigan, who was a member of Sir Douglas Mawson’s Australasian Antarctic Expedition of 1911–1914.

During her Fellowship, Giles transformed Mawson research station into ‘Mawson Concert Hall’ for a Dawn performance for expeditioners. She performed a range of music, including a number of world premier performances, with spoken interludes taken from her great grandfather’s diaries.

Giles played and recorded musical compositions during the voyage, and at Mawson and Davis research stations. The pieces have been developed into a concert in partnership with the Australian National University.

Find Alice Giles’s work

Alice Giles’s concert ‘Alice in Antarctica’ was performed in Canberra in 2011, incorporating music, film and words, and is available on DVD.

More of Giles’s work can be found on her website, and her Antarctic blog.