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Ngapa William Cooper receives standing ovation at Perth Concert Hall

Rhiannon Clarke -

The Ngapa William Cooper concert originated from a rich collaboration involving composer Nigel Westlake, singer-songwriter Lior, and performer and academic Dr Lou Bennett AM.

Performed last Sunday night at the Perth concert hall featuring the Australian String Quartet and Stephen Pilgrim, the concert proved to be a remarkable success.

Commissioned by AYO, Westlake guided the acclaimed artists as they showcased their dynamic stage presence during the orchestral premiere.

Ngapa William Cooper delves into the resilience and kindness of Yorta Yorta activist, Uncle William Cooper.

In 1938, Cooper spearheaded the Australian Aborigines' League in the sole non-Jewish demonstration globally against the atrocities of Kristallnacht in Nazi Germany.

Through a blend of English and Yorta Yorta language, the performance honours a man who has left a lasting legacy of defiance, unity, and compassion.

The show commenced with The Glass Soldier by Westlake, which was originally composed for Hannie Rayson's play of the same title.

It paid tribute to Nelson Ferguson, a World War 1 veteran and artist, and was specially commissioned by Ferguson's grandson, Don Farrands.

Lior and Dr Bennett delivered a compelling performance, effectively expressing the emotions embedded in the lyrics and storytelling with Dr Bennett's haunting yet strong voice complimented by Lior ethereal voice.

The songs focus on William Cooper's involvement in WWII, named The News, The Silence, Yakapan-Nuk, The Meeting, The Protest, and The Conclusion of My Life.

Additionally, Mr Pilgrim demonstrated his talent on stage alongside the Australian String Quartet, creating a thrilling experience that enhanced the ambiance of each story.

Dr. Benett, Lior, Mr. Pilgrim, and the Australian String Quartet received a standing ovation that lasted for more than a minute at the conclusion of the evening.


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