Described as the ‘High Priestess of Harmony,’ whose creative writing has ‘enjoyed exceptional public approbation,’ Xenia Hanusiak enjoys one of the most diverse lives experienced by artists today. As an opera singer, writer, cultural commentator, curator and festival director Xenia contributes to the stage, the page and the intervals in between.
I am a writer, singer, diplomat and festival director. My lives meet. They meet on the page and they meet on stage. They meet at the borders and in board rooms. Sometimes on centre stage, sometimes in the wings, sometimes in New York or Beijing – at other times in a room that no one will ever see. This website introduces you to my work – from the words on the page that have been written to be read silently to the lyrics and plays that I have written for others to recite – from the songs that I have given the first breath – to the songs that have been given to me through others and finally, to the projects and collaborations between cultures that help us understand each other, and the celebration of festivals
Xenia’s body of works include the play "Ward B" (R.E Ross Trust Award), the children’s chorus "Un_labelled" (co-written with Elena Kats-Chernin/Boosey & Hawkes /Young People’s Chorus of New York City), the libretto "A thousand doors, a thousand windows" (Melbourne International Arts Festival, Singapore Arts Festival, Venice Biennale), the music-theatre work "Earth Songs" (Homart Korean Theatre/Sydney/Melbourne) and the dramatic monologue ''The MsTaken Identity'' (Adelaide Festival of Arts/Australian String Quartet).
Xenia holds a PhD in Literature, two degrees in classical music, and a Bachelor of Arts degree (Theatre, Literature). She is currently a music and Opera critic for the London Financial Times. She also contributes to The Log Journal (National Sawdust), New York Times, Music and Literature, (USA), Arts and International Affairs (UK), Choir and Organ (UK) and La Scena Musical (Canada). Xenia creates and directs international festivals and curates art projects including MADE IN CHINA (Beijing Music Festival, 2008), Earth Songs (Korea 2009), The Garden of Joy and Sorrow, (Melbourne International Arts Festival). Future projects are released further on this website. Her next project 'Songlines for a New World ' will debut soon.
Xenia is a 2017 - 2018 Global Cultural Fellow, University of Edinburgh Institute of International Cultural Relations. She has been a Visiting scholar at the School of Writing, Columbia University (New York), a Writer/Scholar/Artist in residence at Peking University (Beijing), Kookmin University (Korea), and a Bundanon Estate Arts resident (Australia). She is a Churchill Fellow, a State Library of Victoria Creative Fellow, and the inaugural arts recipient of a Boston-Melbourne Fellowship. Her honors and recognitions include the R. E Ross Trust award for playwriting and the only recipient awarded multiple citations from three different categories of the Australia Council (Literature, Music and Theatre). Xenia has held an Australia-China Council Fellowship, two Australian-Korea Foundation awards, an Asialink award, an Ian Potter Award, a Professional Writer’s award from Copyright Australia (CAL)
Xenia is committed to the exchange of ideas and international relations through arts and culture. She believes that cultural narratives promote not simply a greater understanding of the arts but an important cognition of a nation’s values and ways of thinking. In diplomatic positions including most recently as Manager of Cultural Relations for the Australian Consulate-General (New York) Xenia continues to create dynamic programs that transcend geographical borders to connect the United States of America, Asia, Europe and Australia for governments, festivals, cultural societies and independent artists. Xenia has been engaged in positions for the World Federation of International Music Competition, the United Nations and the World Forum for Words and Music.
A sought after speaker, Xenia’s representational skills on cultural engagement, literature, music, and museum practice has offered her opportunities at International Symposium on Cultural Diplomacy (UN), Boston University, Northeastern University (Boston), Museums Victoria, Non-FictionNow (Melbourne and Rejykavik ), Peking University (China), Sang Myung and Kookmin Universities (Korea), the National University of Singapore (Singapore), the Shanghai Institute of Theatre (Shanghai), Monash University, Melbourne University, and Adelaide Universities (Australia). In 2016 she presented at the International Forum for Words and Music at Arizona State University, and Performers (') Present Symposium at Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music (Singapore) and La Salle Sia. Her 2017 schedule takes her to engagements at the Orpheus Institute in Belgium, Creative non-fictioNOW (Iceland), a Hambidge Residency (Georgia, USA), and an appointment as a Global Cultural Fellow, University of Edinburgh, Institute of International Cultural Relations (Scotland, UK).
Xenia gives world premiere performances on four continents. Her appearances include the Adelaide, Melbourne, Perth, Sydney and Ten Days on the Island festivals (Australia), Aarhus Festival (Denmark), Banff Festival of Arts (Canada), Next Wave Festival, Brooklyn Academy of Music Festival (New York), Kennedy Center (Washington), Singapore Arts Festival, Gruppo Aperto Musica Oggi (Florence), Beijing Musica Acoustica, Beijing Music Festival (China) MODAFE Festival (Seoul), The Concert Hall, Esplanade Theatre on The Bay, (Singapore) and the Ljubljana Spring Festival. She has given the country or world premieres of some of the most influential composers of our time including Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho, American composer John Harbison, Australian composer Elena Kats-Chernin, Chinese composer Zhang Xiaofu and Korean composer Cecilia Heejong Kim. Xenia’s classical repertoire extends from John Dowland to the present day. She sings the music of the American Songbook and most especially gives special programs of Leonard Bernstein, William Bolcom, Kurt Weill and Mark Blitzstein.