Grigoryan Brothers

This Is Us: A Musical Reflection of Australia

Date 24, 26-27 August 2022
Location The House of Oz, King's Hall, Edinburgh
Date 3 September 2022
Location Elgar Room, Royal Albert Hall, London

This Is Us: A Musical Reflection of Australia

Performed by the Grigoryan Brothers

Acclaimed guitarists Slava and Leonard Grigoryan have created a suite of music inspired by objects personally selected from the National Museum of Australia’s vast collection tracing Australia’s diverse and complex history.

The evocative nature of each of the 18 compositions is heightened by the projection of a high-definition 3D video of the relevant object. The power this has on the listener/observer is palpable.

Incorporating all their influences from classical to jazz and contemporary music, performed on a variety of guitars (electric, 8 string tenor ukulele, 12 string and classical), audiences will see and hear the Grigoryan Brothers like never before.

‘This Is Us’ is also a personal declaration from Slava and Leonard, that this music, composed during lockdown with each living in different states, is a new direction for them. While they have included original compositions within programs in the past, this is the first time they will be performing an entire program of original works.

“We chose objects that try to represent some of our First Nations’ history as well as colonisation, migration, innovation and stories of love and loss. We were deeply moved by all of them.” – Slava & Leonard Grigoryan

The objects and music take us from the deep past of early Indigenous Australians to the making of contemporary Australian society.

Eighteen individual musical compositions relate the brothers’ response to, and feeling for, their personal selection of objects from the 250,000 in the Museum’s collection.

Each composition focuses on a particular object, among them: a 65,000 year old ochre of the Madjebebe rock shelter, a convict love token relating the experience of transportation, a preserved wet specimen of a whole skinned thylacine, the Kimberley spear point fashioned by Aboriginal people from glass, a cricket bat of the famed Sir Donald Bradman, the prototype Holden motorcar that began the car manufacturing industry in Australia.

About the Musicians

  • Guitarists, Slava and Leonard Grigoryan are counted amongst the finest musicians of their generation having developed a reputation for enthralling audiences with the energy of their performances and the breadth of their repertoire – embracing genres such as classical, jazz and contemporary music from around the world.

    Between them, they have received 4 ARIA awards (Australian Recording Industry Association) and an incredible 25 ARIA Award nominations. As a duo they have recorded 11 albums with the 12th coming out in 2019.

    They have been touring internationally since 2003, regularly performing throughout Europe, Asia, Australia and the USA, as well as more exotic performances in Brazil, South Africa, India and the Middle East. Their diverse repertoire continues to present new opportunities for performances in traditional and unconventional settings, from projects with orchestras to duo performances in iconic classical venues such as London’s Wigmore Hall and Vienna’s Konzerthaus.

    Slava and Leonard are blessed with an uncanny ability to perform so seamlessly as a duo that they play and ‘breath’ as one. Growing up and performing together does not guarantee a symbiotic relationship, but what does create the perfect storm is the mutual respect and admiration the brothers have for each other. Perhaps this is the intangible quality that creates their ability to connect with listeners.

    Slava & Leonard Grigoryan’s deep appreciation of a broad spectrum of musical styles has resulted in many collaborations involving music, both written and improvised. Combine this with their classical training and the result is a unique sound incorporating all these influences.

  • Project Credits
    Music – Slava and Leonard Grigoryan
    Images – National Museum of Australia
    Project supporters – UKARIA Cultural Centre
    Tour supporter – Ezekiel Solomon AM

    Creative Credits
    Slava Grigoryan – guitars
    Leonard Grigoryan – guitars
    Music – Slava and Leonard Grigoryan
    Images – National Museum of Australia