Helen Svoboda

Helen Svoboda is a Melbourne-based double bassist, vocalist and composer, born in Kuopio, Finland. Her work explores the melodic potential of the double bass, intricately weaving extended techniques and overtones with vocal tessiture amidst abstract song-writing forms. “A musician who absolutely defies categorisation” (Andrew Ford – The Music Show, ABC), her performance practice emits a playful, whimsical energy, driven by curiosity and storytelling. She was awarded the prestigious 2020 Freedman Jazz Fellowship (AUS), was the recipient of the Australian Art Orchestra Pathfinders program from 2020-21, and is the current Musica Viva FutureMaker 2023-24. She is currently studying a PhD in composition at Monash University with a focus on graphic notation.

During the HIAP residency I will expand upon my solo practice as a double bassist, vocalist and composer, developing a portfolio of new work that challenges the sonic expectations of the double bass. These works will feature a series of overtone landscapes (inspired by the local biosphere), juxtaposed across vocal gestures inspired by Finnish language.

A portion of the songwriting component will invite local artist Selma Savolainen as a co-collaborator, recording the outcomes at the conclusion of the residency in Suomenlinnan studios. German percussionist André van der Heide will also join as a guest artist on the recording.

My solo practice forms a centrepiece of my artistic focus, and the HIAP residency will allow me to hone in on unexpected sonic possibilities for the double bass/voice.

The residency is realised with the support of The Australia Council for the Arts.