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Zelman Symphony | No Friend but the Mountains: A Symphonic Song Cycle

21 March 2021 @ 5:00 pm - 6:30 pm AEDT

Zelman Symphony, Arts Centre Melbourne and the Wheeler Centre are delighted to announce the world premiere of No Friend but the Mountains: A Symphonic Song Cycle, originally scheduled for November 2020 and postponed because of Covid-19 restrictions, will now be held on Sunday 21 March 2021 at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl, as part of Arts Centre Melbourne’s Live at the Bowl Summer Festival.

Thumbed on a phone, smuggled out in thousands of text messages. The near impossibility of its existence. On Nauru and Manus Island, they live in a zoo of cruelty.

No Friend but the Mountains, Behrouz Boochani’s multi-award winning book which chronicles the perilous journeys of asylum seekers and their forced detention on Manus Island, is the inspiration for this Symphonic Song Cycle by prolific Australian composer, Luke Styles.

Boochani, a Kurdish-Iranian journalist, writer and film-maker, penned his book in secret in Farsi on a mobile phone as a series of hundreds of text messages. He opened up the hidden world of detention, shone a light on the conditions endured by detainees on Manus and exposed a brutal system ostensibly designed to deter other asylum seekers while breaking those caught in it.

To open the event, Behrouz Boochani will appear in conversation via video reflecting on this new adaptation of his story.


Rick Prakhoff – conductor

Adrian Tamburini – bass-baritone

Melbourne Bach Choir

Wilma Smith – guest concertmaster

Susan Pierotti – concertmaster


Luke Styles – composer

Behrouz Boochani – librettist

Omid Tofighian – translator and collaborator


Behrouz Boochani – Video Interview

Luke Styles – No Friend but the Mountains: A Symphonic Song Cycle




21 March 2021
5:00 pm - 6:30 pm
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Sidney Myer Music Bowl, Melbourne
Alexandra Avenue
Melbourne, VIC 3004 Australia
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