The enormous 19th-century St Ignatius church, visible from many kilometres on all sides high on the Richmond Hill, was the site for a large new Australian composition by Graham Hair - Lament For Santa Sophia.

In this program performed by the Astra Choir and soloists on December 14 2003, a 16-voice lament for the famous Hagia Sofia basilica of Byzantium, is set among the vast sonorities of computer-processed bells, which resounded from loudspeakers in the distant ambulatory surrounding the sanctuary.

St Ignatius Church, Richmond is of historical and architectural significance to the State of Victoria. For more information visit the listing on the Victorian Heritage Register.

For 30 years, the concerts of Astra Chamber Music Society have ranged around Melbourne’s architectural environment. Each concert has had a site-specific design that takes advantage of the marvellous visual qualities, spatial possibilities, and acoustic personality of each building. The music, in turn, contributes a new quality to the perception of the buildings, now experienced by audiences as a sounding space - an area where cultural issues from music’s history are traversed, and new ideas in Australian composition are explored.