About

Hailed as a ‘prodigious chanteuse’ by Rolling Stone and a ‘revelation’ by the UK Observer, Melbourne-born SOPHIA BROUS is a cross-disciplinary vocalist/musician/performer and artistic director. An artist with of diverse creative interests, she works and collaborates with major arts companies internationally on new works, commissions and performances, with recent engagements with The Barbican Center, Paris Philharmonie, Southbank Centre London, Red Bull Studios New York, National Sawdust, Pioneer Works, Greenpeace, Adelaide Festival of the Arts and Museum of Old and New Art (MONA). 

In the past twelve months, Brous has been artist-in-resident at Robert Wilson’s Watermill Center, Long Island, and the Red Bull Studios New York, and is current Artistic Associate of the Arts Centre Melbourne. She was most recently announced as the 2016/2017 Artist-in-Residence at Brooklyn celebrated arts institution National Sawdust, alongside distinguished artists including Julia Holter, Helga Davis and Yuka Honda. Brous was named in the top 10 most influential people under 30 in music in Australia by AMIN, and was in September announced as one of the finalists in the prestigious Melbourne Prize for Music, Outstanding Musician Award.

A prolific creative collaborator, Brous works and performs with a diverse range of artists, with recent collaborators including David Byrne, Kimbra, Questlove, Sean Lennon, Julia Holter, Mick Harvey, Colin Stetson, Jehnny Beth, Caroline Polachek, Bilal, The Hutto Project and the BBC Concert Orchestra.

Most recently, Brous could be seen in projects including The Barbican’s In Dreams: David Lynch Revisited’, Marina Abramovic’s Private Archaeologies opening for MONA, her celebrated immersive song cycle LULLABY MOVEMENT with British musicians David Coulter and Leo Abrahams, and EXO-TECH, the large ensemble collective she leads and founded with New Zealand pop singer Kimbra, which recently sold out shows throughout New York and undertook an extended residency at New York’s Red Bull Studios with a cast of musicians and collaborators including David Byrne, Questlove, Caroline Polachek, Sean Lennon, Bilal and Dave Harrington. 

Within her sphere of creative interests, Brous is a also recognised curator and artistic director, and emerged as one of Australia’s youngest arts leaders at the age of 22 when she was made the Program Director of the Melbourne International Jazz Festival. She has commissioned and created over 100 unique works as a curator since, with artists as diverse as John Cale, Sonny Rollins, Tao Dance Theatre, Senyawa, Chunky Move Dance Theatre, Ariel Pink, Ash Ra Tempel, The Necks, Tony Conrad, Laurel Halo, Jane Birkin, Hermeto Pascaole, Psychic TV and Charlie Haden. She was Curator of Music of the Adelaide Festival of the Arts and is currently founder and Curator of Supersense: Festival of the Ecstatic at the Arts Centre Melbourne.

Selected Biography

  • Artist-in-Resident, National Sawdust, New York (2016-2017)
  • Artist-in-Resident, The Watermill Center, New York (2016)
  • Artist-in-Resident, Red Bull Studios, New York (2016)
  • Artistic Associate, Arts Centre Melbourne (2014-current)
  • Artistic Director, Supersense: Festival of the Ecstatic, Arts Centre Melbourne (current)
  • Curator of Music, Adelaide Festival of the Arts (2010 – 2012)
  • Program Director, Melbourne International Jazz Festival (2008 –2011)
  • Radio Broadcaster, Triple R FM (2007-2012)

Awards and Prizes

  • 2016 Finalist, Melbourne Prize for Music (Oustanding Musician Award); 2015 Top 10 Most Influential People in Music (AMIN); Top 100 Melbourne’s Most Influential People – Melbourne Magazine; Winner, James Morrison Scholarship, World Tour Scholarship (Berklee College of Music, Boston USA), Excellence Award Scholarship (New England Conservatory of Music, USA);  2011 Helpmann Award Finalist – Best Australian Contemporary Music Event,, 2010 Helpmann Award Finalist – Best Australian Contemporary Music Event. 2015 The Age/Music Victoria Awards – Best Festival (Supersense) Winner.  Finalist, Best New Artist, The Age/EG Awards, Finalist, Best Female Artist, The Age/EG Awards; Finalist, Best Song– The Age/EG Awards

Selected Projects and Collaborations

  • Principal performer, creator, co-composer – Lullaby Movement: an original theatrical song cycle, with Leo Abrahams and David Coulter. Commissioned by Urbantheatre Projects for the Sydney Festival 2014, developed as artists-in-residence at Robert Wilson’s Watermill Theatre Jan 2016 New York. Research undertaken with Refugee Council of UK, Watermill Center, Good Chance Calais and Urbantheatre Projects. Premiering internationally 2017/2018.
  • Founder/bandleader/performer – EXO-TECH: New York large ensemble collective formed by NZ pop innovator Kimbra in February 2016. Featuring members and collaborators including David Byrne, Bilal, Questlove, Sean Lennon, Yuka Honda, Colin Stetson, Caroline Polachek, Doug Wieselman, Mauro Refosco, Brian Chase, Ian Williams (Battles), Miho Hatori (Cibo Mato), Dave Harrington and Jim White. 2016 inaugural artists in residence, Red Bull Studios New York.
  • Feature performer – In Dreams: David Lynch Revisited – produced by the Barbican Center London, directed by David Coulter. World premiere at Barbican London 2014, subsequent European, UK and Australian tours. With Stuart Staples (Tindersticks), Jehnny Beth (Savages), Cibo Matto, Owen Pallett, Conor O’Brien (Villagers), Mick Harvey, Sarah Blasko, Stealing Sheep, Kirin J Callinan, Dave Okumu, Seb Rochford, Terry Edwards and David Coulter.
  • Feature performer – 200 Motels by Frank Zappa. Produced by Southbank Centre, London and the Zappa Estate for the Rest is Noise Festival. UK premiere, Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre, with BBC Concert Orchestra, London Voices – recorded and broadcast for BBC3.
  • Feature performer/soloist – Marina Abramovic: Private Archaeologies Opening, Museum of Old and New Art (MONA). Hobart. June 2015.
  • Principal artist, writer, producer – BROUS – former widescreen solo pop project of Sophia Brous. Released through Universal Music Australia and Caroline Records. Bandmates and contributors Julia Holter, Mick Harvey, Leo Abrahams, Shags Chamberlain, James Rushford, Joe Talia and Laurence Pike. 2010-2015.
  • Commissioned composer/performer: Last Summer featuring JULIA HOLTER, for 40 voices, electronics and ferris wheel. Drum programming contribution by Nigel Lee-Yang (HTRK). Commissioned work for Dark Mofo, Museum of Old and New Art (MONA). Hobart. June 2014.
  • Feature performer – Mick Harvey’s Intoxicated Man – cult tribute to Serge Gainsbourg (Mute Records 2014 Reissue, forthcoming 2016 releases). 2013-2014 European and Australian tours.
  • Commissioned composer/performer– (Space) Dream Triptych. space opera for voice, grand harp and electronics, with Marshall McGuire and Joel Stern. With The Telepathy Project. Commissioned by MPavilion, Melbourne Music Week and the City of Melbourne

SELECTED APPEARANCES:

Primavera Festival, Barcelona; The Rest is Noise, Southbank Centre; All Tomorrow’s Parties, Alexandra Palace London curated by Yeah Yeah Yeahs; VIVID at the Sydney Opera House; Sydney Festival; Royal Elephant Ball for HRH Prince Charles with Jools Holland and Patrick Wolf, 2013; Daniel Johnston 30th Anniversary Concert (with Glenn Hansard, Emmy the Great, Wild Beasts, Villagers), Barbican Centre, London; Sydney Festival, Sounds in the Domain; MONA FOMA, Dark MOFO, MONA Hobart; Melbourne Festivals; The Great Escape, Brighton; Meredith Music Festival; Sugar Mountain Festival; St Jerome’s Laneway Festival; Big Day Out; Melbourne International Film Festival; Melbourne International Jazz Festival; Wangaratta Festival of Jazz and Blues, Audi Jazz Festival, Belgium; International Associations of Jazz Educators (IAJE), New York and Los Angeles, USA.

Selected Cross-Media

  • Selected Soundtracks: Mary Magdelene (dir. Garth Davis, prod. Harvey Weinstein) (in-production); Ecco Homo (dir. Richard Lowenstein 2015) with Oliver Coates and Joe Talia; Underground (dir. Robert Connelly) with composer Francois Tetaz; Save Your Legs (dir Boyd Hicklin, with composer Cornel Wilcek);

  • Selected Television/Film: Spicks and Specks, ABC Television; Rockwiz, Renegade/SBS Television; John Safran’s Race Relations, ABC Television; Dave’s Shed, Princess Pictures;

  • Selected Speaking:The Tell Vol 5, curated by Michael Leviton (This American Life, LPR), National Sawdust New York; Face The Music Conference, Melbourne; Big Sounds, Brisbane; Melbourne Conversations, Melbourne; Live! Singapore, Singapore; In Conversation with Fenella Kernabone, Adelaide Festival Centre.

  • Selected Writing: chapter essayist: Rock City – editor Christian Ryan (pub. Hardie Grant); The Best Rock Writing (pub. Hardie Grant); Women of Letters (Penguin Books); The Undying Animal – film screenplay. in-development.

Board Memberships and Committees

  • Former Board Director, Music Victoria , Peer Advisor, Music Board, Australia Council, Emerging Leaders’ Reference Group, Australia Council, Youth Arts Reference Group, Arts Victoria