Permafrost                  Duration 9’45”

Composition for Recorder and Fixed Electronics

Composer: Dr Donna Hewitt

Performer: Dr Alana Blackburn

The work is composed specifically for Blackburn and is the first composer-performer collaboration between these two artists. The work is for recorders and fixed electronics. It is inspired by Alana’s comprehensive musical vocabulary with the recorder family and highlights her extensive performance experience with the instruments.

The work utilises both natural and synthesised sounds, including some recordings of Antarctic wildlife. The work aims to entwine the textures, timbres and spatial characters of the live and pre-recorded sounds. The work is inspired by the concept of ‘Permafrost’, the ‘permanently’ frozen earth found in colder climates. The predicted thawing of the permafrost is accompanied by some ominous scientific predictions for the future of our climate, ecosystems and health and was at the forefront of Hewitt’s mind as she composed this work.

The work was premiered at the Tilde~ Music Festival in Melbourne in January 2019

Subsequent performances:

  • TENOR/ACMC 2019 Australasian Computer Music Conference 25 July 2019 6.30pm Drama Theatre, Monash
  • The Armidale PlayHouse,16th December 2021 6.30pm
  • Newcastle Fringe Festival,  Royal Exchange, Thurs 17 March 2022, 6pm
  • Newcastle Fringe Festival,  Royal Exchange, Fri 18 March 2022, 6pm
  • Newcastle Fringe Festival,  Royal Exchange, Sat 19 March 2022, 6pm
  • Earthbound – Backstage – Thursday 25 August  2022 7.30pm at Nauti Studios, Hazelbrook
  • Earthbound – Backstage – Friday 26 August 7.30pm 2022 at Woodburn Creatives, Waterloo.
Permafrost Performed by Alana Blackburn
Alana Blackburn performing ‘Permafrost’ at the Tilde~ New Music Festival Melbourne January 19, 2019

Listen to the recording here


Performer Alana Blackburn took the stage next in performance of Donna Hewitt’s ‘Permafrost’ on solo recorder. The space turned cold. Hewitt had created an icy, sparkling sound art foundation from recordings made prior with Blackburn. It played with extremes over the top – the guts and strength of the contrabass, the airy grace of the sopranino.  The vitality of Blackburn as a lone performer became a sign of life amongst Hewitt’s desolate backdrop as the heart of a delicately-crafted, stunning work. Maddy Briggs – Guest reviewer for Classikon Full event review here:

Alana Blackburn playing Permafrost at Earthbound Concert – Photo by Connor Malanos