Dreams of Immortality Reviewed

The art blog “My View: The Arts at Large” has reviewed Dreams of Immortality, an exhibition of new work by Deborah Bell which is on show at the Everard Read Gallery in Johannesburg, which features music by Philip Miller.

It may be the chord of a single-stringed instrument. Or the voice of a ram’s horn. It may be the sound of a violin or of Xhosa song. Each differs and resonates through your heart and into your soul: it’s like being in the presence of Tibetan bowls being played. It’s a keening resonance that fills you up and gives you goosebumps. Composed by Philip Miller for these works in this context, this coming together of aural, spiritual and sculptural wisdom and beauty is nothing short of overwhelming. It is the kind of keynote experience that will touch you forever and make you feel cleansed and ready to face the crassness of the world. It might also make you feel that looking at art becomes redundant after this experience.

Read the full piece: “Go no further: Deborah Bell’s blithe skirting with gods”.

Debirah Bell’s Dreams of Immortality is currently on show at the Everard Read Gallery in Johannesburg until June 27. She is also showing work at Everard Read in Cape Town: May 14-June 15; and a body of etchings collectively called Renunciation at the David Krut Project space in Parkwood, until June 12.

“Freedom beckons as Bell rings the changes”

Robyn Sassen has written an article which discusses Deborah Bell’s Dreams of Immortality, for which Philip Miller composed the music. Bell’s exhibition will be is at the Everard Read Gallery in Johannesburg until June 27. A smaller version of this exhibition is on show at the Everard Read Gallery in Cape Town from May 14 to June 15 .

Read the full article here.

The music was composed by Philip Miller , with whom Be ll collaborated in the ‘ 80s when she was developing material with William Kentridge and the late Robert Hodgins.

Click here for more on the exhibition here.

Rome ‘River of Art’ outside the MAXXI

A performance of “Live on the Tiber” by William Kentridge and Philip Miller outside the National Museum of the 21st Century Arts in Rome was hailed as a tremendous success by Italian paper Giorno & Notte. The projector and musical performance, which was accompanied by a dinner attended by a selection from Roman high society, was held to raise awareness and funds for a project undertaking the redevelopment of the banks of the Tiber river.

More about the performance:

Read the full article here.

Sheer Publishing get the nod from SAMRO and the Wawela Awards

Philip Miller has been nominated for the 2014 Wawela awards for “Best Soundtrack in a Feature film or Theatrical Doc”. From Sheer’s press release:

Sheer Publishing is very proud to announce the nomination of David Alexander for publisher of the year at this year’s Wawela Awards.

Hosted by SAMRO the Wawela Music Awards are a celebration of South Africa’s composers and publishers who keep the SA musical flag flying! David Alexander has been in the publishing business for well over 20 years and has been instrumental in catapulting the careers of many local artists.

We are inspired to have a leader like David at the helm, and salute him and the entire Sheer Publishing team.

A huge congratulations also goes out to our composer, Philip Miller for his nomination for Best Soundtrack in a feature film or Theatrical Documentary for his work on Martha & Mary and Zahara nominated for Best Female Artist & Composer/Co-composer
The Wawela Music Awards recognise and award SAMRO members – composers, authors, lyricists and publishers – who have lit up international and local stages, screens and airwaves with their dazzling talent.

Variety reviews Of Good Report

Variety magazine has reviewed Jahmil X.T. Qubeka’s Of Good Report, a darkly comic and refreshing South African thriller with music by Philip Miller.

Luridly compelling if never quite surprising, Parker’s descent is realized by Qubeka with unsubtle stylistic aplomb. The heightened noir flourishes are, of course, accentuated by Jonathan Kovel’s black-and-white lensing, even if the slightly washed-out digital finish isn’t always up to the flair of the compositions. The crudely effective poetry of the film’s approach is best represented by a witty, metaphoric montage that portrays the arc of Parker and Nolitha’s queasy relationship in the space of a single tango lesson: Like a warped outtake from “Chicago,” the sequence is one of many distinguished by Joel Kapend’s clever, claustrophobically layered sound design.

Read the full review

SA composer nominated for Emmy

South African composer Philip Miller has been nominated for an Emmy Award for best original dramatic score for a mini-series or movie for his soundtrack to the film The Girl.

The annual Emmy Awards aim to reward excellence in the television industry, and the 2013 awards on 22 September will be the 65th edition of the ceremony.

“Miller is one of South Africa’s pre-eminent composers working in film and television both locally and internationally,” the National Film and Video Foundation said in a statement on Wednesday.

His work in The Girl will be up against documentary film Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence In The House Of God, mini-series Parade’s End – Part 5, Restless – Part 2 and World Without End, as well as television film Ring of Fire.

The Girl, starring Sienna Miller, Imelda Staunton and Toby Jones, is about the turbulent relationship between filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock and actress Tippi Hedren, and has received six nominations for this year’s Emmys, including best director, lead actor and best supporting actress.

Miller studied music composition at the University of Cape Town Music School under composers Jeanne Zaidel Rudolph and Peter Klatzow, and completed his postgraduate studies in Electro-Acoustic music composition for film and television at Bournemouth University in England.

He has composed the soundtracks for numerous productions, including Steven Silver’s The Bang Bang Club – which was nominated for a Genie Award in Canada – and Black Butterflies, which won best film score at the South African Film and Television Awards in 2012.

He has also collaborated with internationally renowned artist William Kentridge, the most recent of which was for Kentridge’s five-screen multimedia installation The Refusal of Time at the Tate Modern Museum in London.

SAinfo reporter

Philip Miller in Hollywood


Philip Miller is to attend the prestigious ceremony as nominee for Outstanding Music Composition. The ceremony will be held at the Nokia Theatre in L.A.

Philip Miller is to attend the prestigious ceremony as nominee for Outstanding Music Composition. The ceremony will be held at the Nokia Theatre in L.A.

Philip Miller has just been nominated for Best Music Composition for a Miniseries, Movie or A Special (Original Dramatic Score) for his soundtrack to the HBO film The Girl. The film has received a total of six nominations for this years Emmys including Best Director, Lead actor and Best supporting actress.

This film is directed by Julian Jarrold (Becoming Jane, Brideshead Revisited); starring Sienna Miller, Imelda Staunton and Toby Jones.

Miller is one of South Africa’s pre-eminent composers working in film and television both locally and internationally. Most recently Miller was the recipient of the Wawela Award; Best Soundtrack for Feature Film for Spier Film’s Black Butterflies.

He has also just completed the soundtrack to the local hit TV series, Isibaya on DSTV’s Mzansi Magic with Bomb Productions.

FILM REVIEW: Of Good Report

Jahmil XT Qubeka's film is a clever and darkly comic take on the serial killer origin genre rather than a comment on sugar daddies or social realities

Jahmil XT Qubeka’s film is a clever and darkly comic take on the serial killer origin genre rather than a comment on sugar daddies or social realities

While it will be hard for many to forget about words like “banned” and the debate over what constitutes child pornography, Jahmil XT Qubeka’s film is best viewed as a daring, refreshing, clever and darkly comic take on the serial killer origin genre rather than a comment on sugar daddies or social realities.

Made on a shoestring, shot in black and white, with excellent performances from its two leads and a perfectly unnerving score by Philip Miller, this is a film that continually surprises and surpasses expectations.

If it says anything about South Africa, it says most about the way in which the gatekeepers of the local film industry have forgotten the magical elements of the art of filmmaking that have kept us enthralled for more than a century.

These gatekeepers seem to be in favour of financial returns and a misguided vision that they are in the business of nation building and the enforcement of morality.

Of Good Report is a unique take on life in the margins of post-apartheid South Africa. With an anarchic energy, Qubeka creates an intensely moody portrayal of the psychological breakdown of quiet teacher Parker Sithole (Mothusi Magano).

After serving in the SADF, Sithole finds himself teaching English at a rural school where he becomes involved with a beautiful, seductive, underage pupil, Nolitha (Petronella Tshuma).

It’s a relationship which will lead him on the road to obsession with tragic results. Jumping liberally from Sithole’s past to present, the film creates a convincing and compelling picture of the worldview of a tortured man whose mute exterior belies the torrid violence of his inner thoughts.

Credit goes to the gripping and silent performance of Magano, who brings an intensity to Parker which draws the audience in from the start. He is complemented by a brave and understated performance from Tshuma and strong support from the rest of the cast, while the beautiful cinematography of Jonathan Kovel wraps up the whole package in aptly noirish shadows of psychological ambiguity.

Yes, there is some brief nudity, there are some uncomfortable and violent scenes, but this is not shock for the sake of shock and is far less horrific or explicit than many of the films from the US or Europe that local audiences have been permitted to see.

Rather it’s one of the most intriguing, surprising and intelligent pieces of cinema to come out of South Africa in decades. Of Good Report shines a ray of hopeful light for filmmakers who feel trapped by the belief that the only way to make films is to conform to the standards and interference of those who hold the purse strings. It is also a reminder that the best people to decide what we should be allowed to see are ourselves.

Director: Jahmil XT Qubeka

Cast: Mothusi Magano, Petronella Tshuma, Tshamano Sebe, Lee-Ann Van Rooi, Tina Jaxa

SA artists to fly the flag in Venice

 'SAY CHEESE' by Johannes Phokela, one of the South African works to be shown at La Biennale di Venezia from June to November

‘SAY CHEESE’ by Johannes Phokela, one of the South African works to be shown at La Biennale di Venezia from June to November

They will represent South Africa at the 55th La Biennale di Venezia from June 1 to November 24. The 116-year-old exhibition is held every two years. In 1968 South Africa was expelled from the biennale. In 2011 it returned – but the four artists who flew the flag then were booed from the stage.

At the heart of the furore was the selection of the commissioner of the project – a private gallery owner. Arts journalist Matthew Blackman raised concerns that he was able to “influence the selection of participating artists in favour of artists affiliated to his gallery”. But Mack Lewele, spokesman for Arts and Culture Minister Paul Mashatile, said all Blackman’s concerns had been addressed and the matter “is dead”. This year’s process has not courted controversy.

Last week, Mashatile announced some of the artists contracted to participate. They include Joanne Bloch, Wim Botha, Kay Hassan, David Koloane, Gerhard Marx, Maja Marx and Philip Miller, Sam Nhlengethwa, Johannes Phokela, Cameron Platter, Andrew Putter, Penny Siopis and Sue Williamson.

This year’s exhibition is entitled: “Imaginary Fact: Contemporary South African Art and the Archive.” “The exhibition aims to showcase artists who use materials of the past to comment on the contemporary. The exhibition is about the protection and preservation of our national heritage and the symbols and artifacts of that heritage,” said Mashatile. “The voices contained in this exhibition are as rich and varied as those of the citizens of our country. They are bold and brave.”

The department has appointed the National Arts Festival to curate and stage the South African exhibit. Gilly Hemphill, spokesman for the festival, said the department had secured a venue in Venice but it will tackle the logistical mountain of getting all the artwork there. She has given the assurance that “everything is on track”. She said artists will gain invaluable exposure at the exhibition. “Some of the artists are doing new work for the exhibition. But we have also looked for artists that had existing work documenting South Africa’s past,” said Hemphill.

Antoinette Murdoch, head of the Johannesburg Art Gallery, has applauded the minister and the arts festival. “I think it is very important to have our arts represented internationally,” said Murdoch. She said a good group of diverse artists had been selected but singled out Gerhard Marx as “brilliant”. Murdoch emphasised that the cost of sending the South African team to Italy was minimal in comparison to the money spent on sports.

Financial Times: by Jane Ure-Smith

“Magic Out of Mayhem” William Kentridge with "Construction for Return", 2008
“William Kentridge? The man’s a magician,” remarks a friend when I tell him I plan to interview the South African artist. And, indeed, when we meet at Marian Goodman’s Paris gallery, Kentridge the conjuror is much in evidence – deconstructing and reconstructing objects at will. In a room of apparently abstract sculptures, he directs me to certain spots to witness small miracles taking place. Viewed from a particular angle, what looks like a tangle of wire and scraps of steel suddenly becomes … a sphinx, a coffee pot, a skinny cat with its fur standing on end. “These are 3-D pieces that only make sense in two dimensions,” explains Kentridge. “It’s the opposite of what you expect of sculpture.”