Austra releases her original score 'Swan Song' for ballet feature documentary
8th December 2023
Producer, songwriter, and creative force Austra (Katie Austra Stelmanis) has added another dimension to her talents as she composes the original score for Canadian documentary feature and docu-series SWAN SONG. Swan Song is Stelmanis’ first film score and sees her taking an entirely different approach to music making. Drawing upon her classical upbringing, the synth-based score was composed using only a Juno-106, a Mellotron and her voice, providing dissonant textures and complementary melodies that interpolate Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake.
Speaking about her work, Stelmanis said: “Scoring SWAN SONG has been a dream project. My first ever experience performing was as a kid singing in the orchestra pit for the National Ballet of Canada's Nutcracker sometime in the 90s and my love for Tchaikovsky has sustained ever since. For this project, I was influenced by artists like Vangelis and Oneohtrix Point Never to compose a deep, textured, almost entirely electronic score that traverses the spectacular music of Swan Lake.”
The documentary received its world premiere at Toronto International Film Festival and its UK premiere at the BFI London Film Festival. The project was developed with CBC and in addition to the feature documentary, also includes a four-episode docu-series available to stream now on CBC Gem and broadcasting on CBC TV.
Katie Austra Stelmanis has been better known by her middle name for four albums (most recently in 2020 for HiRUDiN), twelve years, and countless tours. The vivid music of Austra is born of the creative force that is the producer, songwriter and composer with the most powerful instrument at her disposal - her voice, one that is capable of effortlessly evoking moments of personal and universal drama.
In 2011, Austra was nominated for a Juno and made the Polaris shortlist and for her debut album, Feel It Break. In 2013, she made the Polaris Long List for her second album, Olympia. Her music has been lauded by publications like The Guardian, Pitchfork, NME, New York Magazine and Exclaim!.
SWAN SONG, a feature documentary that immerses viewers inside The National Ballet of Canada as it mounts a legacy-defining new production of Swan Lake, directed by ballet icon Karen Kain on the eve of her retirement. SWAN SONG is directed by Chelsea McMullan (Ever Deadly, My Prairie Home), who wrote the film with producer Sean O’Neill (Crystal Pite: Angels’ Atlas, LIDO TV). Distributed in Canada by Blue Ice Docs, with international sales handled by Dogwoof.