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 contemporary double bass, intricately weaving extended techniques and overtones amidst abstract song-writing structures and nature-themed compositions. “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 received a Masters of Music at Conservatorium Maastricht in 2020 (NL), was awarded the prestigious 2020 Freedman Jazz Fellowship (AUS), and was the recipient of the 2020/21 Australian Art Orchestra Pathfinders Music Leadership Program (AUS).

During the HIAP residency I will reconnect with my Finnish heritage and expand upon my solo practice as a double bassist, vocalist, composer and songwriter. I will compose a portfolio of new songs, for which the orchestration will feature a series of site-specific overtone landscapes for the double bass (derived from the Finnish biosphere), juxtaposed and layered across vocal gestures and lyrics inspired by components of Finnish language, connecting back to my mother tongue. For a portion of the songwriting component I will reconnect with local artist and songwriter Selma Savolainen to develop two new works as co-collaborators, recording the outcomes at the conclusion of the residency period in Suomenlinnan studios.

My solo practice forms a centrepiece of my artistic focus, and the residency period will allow me to hone in on new processes and embodied sonic possibilities across a forever-expanding individualised language.

Helen Svoboda’s residency is realised with support from The Australia Council for the Arts.