Rae Howell

Rae Howell is an award-winning Australian composer and multi-instrumentalist. She is founding director of Sunwrae, a music performance and production enterprise, and works across a vast range of music concert hall and multi-artform projects. She has studied music in Melbourne, London, and New York; she lectures in music and creative industry subjects; and has worked professionally in many places across the globe, producing a large catalog of original music albums, publications, and collaborative recordings. 

Howell’s work is inspired by, and at times directly derived from patterns in nature, highlighting poignant environmental concerns that emerge from the buzz of a bee, the call of a bird, or the hammer of a piano. Her awards include a UNESCO Aschberg Bursary, a Finzi Trust and Guildhall Trust Scholarship (UK), the Eric Stokes Music Award (USA), the Momentum Commission through the Australian Music Centre, and the BigCi Environmental Award (NSW). 

She is a fellow of Yaddo and the Millay Artist Colony in New York, Kimmel Harding Nelson Center in Nebraska, The Banff Centre Canada, and has been visiting composer for numerous projects and residencies including Instituto Sacatar in Bahia, Brazil; the ARENA International Theatre Festival in Erlangen, Germany; The Visby International Centre for Composers in Sweden; Atlantic Center for the Arts in Florida; ECCO International in The Gambia West Africa; La Sonora in Argentina; The Edward Said National Conservatoire of Music in Palestine; and Jacky Winter Gardens, and The Bilpin International Ground for Creative Initiatives in Australia.

Howell’s catalog of works span from solo to orchestral pieces, sound designs for gallery installations, film and theater soundtracks, and special event commissions. She has performed for the (late) Duke of Edinburgh Prince Philip and Sir David Attenborough at Australia House in London, and at many festivals and concerts worldwide, including SxSW Festival USA; Ho Chi Minh City Opera House Vietnam; Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre London; Golden Plains Festival, Brisbane Festival, and The Famous Spiegeltent Australia; and the Museum of Modern Art in Salvador, Brazil. Other career highlights include projects for One Off Makery (AUS), Puppets with Guts (UK), and as half of the electronic music outfit “Rabbitsss.”


Bee-Sharp Honeybee

Bee-Sharp Honeybee

Release Date: August 25, 2023
Catalog Number: NV6539
21st Century
String Orchestra
BEE-SHARP HONEYBEE from composer Rae Howell is an immersive journey through the secret life of bees, performed here by the Sunwrae String Orchestra, intertwined with the hum of a live honeybee hive. It is the foundation of a large-scale multimedia work, featuring live animated projections synchronized with the music, and a real-time stream of honeybees, filmed, amplified, and intermittently fed through the live performance. Developed from extensive research into bee (buzz) rhythm, pitch, and "waggle dance" patterns (the sophisticated system of communication between bees, detailing the distance and direction of nectar in the environment), BEE-SHARP HONEYBEE magnifies the subtle intricacies of the beehive, highlighting these distinct patterns, identified through field recordings made during the initial research and development of the project.