Ancient Japan meets modern England; textile art meets performance; sculpture meets contemporary music: Memory Of Colour calls itself a sonic exhibition.

But you don’t need to puzzle too hard to get excited about this up-coming Sydney Festival highlight. Its lineage is impressive enough: an acclaimed Japanese artist, who has been touring this installation for 20 years, an upcoming British composer and one of Australia’s most respected contemporary music groups.

At the centre of the event, laid out on the staging area of the Sydney Opera House’s Studio, is 25 square metres of shimmering gold leaf, suspended just above the floor -“ Teruyoshi Yoshida’s textile installation Surface Of The Lake. Sussex musician Ed Hughes has composed ethereal music to match.

Enshrined in Yoshida’s work is a dialogue between modernity and ancient rites, Hughes said last year when the event premiered to enthusiastic reviews at the Brighton Festival.

His technique is based on traditional textiles -“ the mix of gold and colours that go into making kimonos -“ and this stunning surface is then articulated in a completely modern, abstract, sculpted form.

I think my music has modern elements -“ quite urban rhythms, plenty of counterpoint and syncopated rhythms. But in the electronic component I am looking to hint at the ancient sounds of Japan, such as the sound of temple bells.

In Hughes’s music the traditional timbres of flute, clarinet, violin, harp and percussion mix with electronic and sampled sounds. It is a perfect combination for The Seymour Group, one of Sydney’s oldest and most respected contemporary music ensembles.

Seymour’s artistic director Marshall McGuire is excited by this unique combination of elements.

Yoshida’s work shimmers and moves, it’s all gold leaf and woven silk, and that is exactly what the music is like, he told the Star.

Ed’s music also shimmers and ripples. It’s complex yet on the surface it’s quite simple and underneath it’s deeply entwined. It’s quite marvellous -“ I’m really enjoying working through the score, McGuire said.

Memory Of Colour at The Studio, Sydney Opera House, 14 to 16 January, 6:15 pm and 8:15pm. Ticket prices range from $33 to $38 -“ phone 9266 4800 for bookings.

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