Ted Hearne brings “Katrina Ballads” to Australia

The Australian publication Broadsheet recently profiled Katrina Ballads by composer and USC Thornton faculty member Ted Hearne, ahead of the work’s performance debut as part of the 2018 Perth Festival. Hearne’s series of ballads explores the social and physical destruction wrought by Hurricane Katrina, primarily in the aftermath of government inaction that contributed to a rise in casualties. The piece blends jazz, gospel, blues, and rock, echoing the music landscape of New Orleans.

“The performance’s elusive style is more like something created by musical experimenters such as Bjork and Radiohead than by a classically trained composer,” wrote Jayden O’Neill, noting that the “at-times instrumental chaos demands attention, asking audiences to confront unpleasant truths rather than ignore them.”