It is said that Bolero, Ravel’s famous 15-minute Spanish-flavoured ballet score is played somewhere in the world every 15 minutes, however on Friday July 30 at the 30th Australian Festival of Chamber Music (AFCM) in Townsville, it will be performed a little differently.
Artistic Director Kathryn Stott has programmed Ravel’s Bolero performed on four cellos featuring Julian Smiles, Yelian He, (pictured) Blair Harris and Elina Faskhi.
“I’ve always enjoyed bringing cellists together to perform iconic repertoire with a new twist. This stunning arrangement of Bolero by James Barralet is quite fantastic and I think everyone will be amazed at how brilliantly this great piece lends itself to four cellos. While it features in a program entitled WILD SPIRIT, I felt it was appropriate, because the very concept of this piece is the wildest form of musical control I know,” said Kathryn Stott.
The concert, titled Wild Spirit ~ Four Cello Bolero also features Nigel Westlake’s Spirit of the Wild performed by Diana Doherty (oboe), Kirsty McCahon (double bass, pictured)), Timothy Young (piano) and the AFCM resident ensemble, the Goldner String Quartet.
That’s not the only highlight at this year’s Festival which takes place from 23 July to 1 August. The 10-day celebration features 133 works, 112 composers, four world premieres and five Australian premieres, performed by over 40 Australian musicians, 15 in their AFCM debut, as well as three ensembles including the Goldner String Quartet in their 25th anniversary year.
Deborah Cheetham AO - Nginda Ngarrini Bi Ngya: Opening Night Concert, Friday 23 July (world premiere)
To celebrate the Festival’s 30th anniversary, AFCM has commissioned Yorta Yorta composer Deborah Cheetham AO’s work Nginda Ngarrini Bi Ngya featuring herself singing alongside David Greco (baritone) and the Goldner String Quartet, in the language of the Wulgurukaba people as acknowledgment of their culture and as the traditional owners of the land on which the Festival resides. This important work will have its world premiere at the opening night concert, Parade.
Goldner Variations on ‘Ode to Joy’: Governor’s Gala concert, Saturday 24 July (world premiere)
In recognition of the 25th anniversary of its quartet in residence, the Goldner String Quartet, AFCM has commissioned 25 Australian composers to write short variations based on Beethoven’s famous ‘Ode to Joy’. Inventive and brilliant, the work will be performed by the Goldners. The 25 Australian composers include: Joe Chindamo, Robert Davidson, Brett Dean, Paul Dean, Ross Edwards, Andrew Ford, Paul Grabowsky, Iain Grandage, Maria Grenfell, Holly Harrison, Matthew Hindson, Mark Isaacs, Jakub Jankowski, Elena Kats-Chernin, Graeme Koehne AO, Liza Lim, Nicole Murphy, John Peterson, Andrew Schulz, Harry Sdraulig, Paul Stanhope, Clare Strong (formerly Johnston), Carl Vine, Natalie Williams and Elizabeth Younan.
Immortal Beloved: Thursday 29 July (Australian premiere)
Written by UK author and music critic Jessica Duchen, narrated by Cheryl Barker and featuring David Greco (baritone), Timothy Young (piano) and the Flinders String Quartet, this Australian premiere explores the ongoing mystery of Beethoven’s legendary, unnamed ‘Immortal Beloved’.
Over 30 years, the AFCM has forged an international reputation as one of the best chamber music celebrations in the world.
This year, the artist line-up is led by the return of Australian pianist Piers Lane (and former AFCM Artistic Director), didgeridoo star William Barton returning to the Festival to celebrate the milestone 30th anniversary with his own compositions, and soprano and composer Deborah Cheetham with an important world premiere music event.
They are joined by Kirsty McCahon (double bass), Zoë Black (violin), Tobias Breider (viola), Mark Gaydon (bassoon), James Crabb (accordion), Lloyd Van’t Hoff (clarinet), Timothy Young (piano), Natsuko Yoshimoto (violin), Daniel de Borah (piano) and a raft of fellow musical makers, representing the best of Australian talent from across the country.
Young stars include 22-year-old violinist Grace Clifford and 24-year-old pianist Kevin Chow who will appear as part of his ABC Young Performers Award. In thrilling news, violin prodigy, 14-year old Christan Li will perform, making him the youngest ever artist at AFCM (he made history in 2018 when just 10 years old, he became the youngest performer to ever win the Yehudi Menuhin International Competition for Young Violinists in the Junior Category).
The three ensembles traveling to Townsville include the Goldner String Quartet, fellow Sydneysiders and saxophonist masters the Nexus Quartet and Flinders Quartet from Melbourne. The Festival also boasts three Festival hosts including ABC Classic’s Russell Torrance, Cheryl Barker AO and Peter Coleman-Wright AO.
Australian Festival of Chamber Music
23 July to 1 August 2021 in Townsville, North Queensland
General public tickets, passes and holiday packages on sale now.
AFCM principal partners include: Queensland Government through Tourism and Events Queensland and Arts Queensland, and Townsville City Council. The Australian Festival of Chamber Music is supported by the Queensland Government, through Tourism and Events Queensland, and features on the It’s Live! In Queensland events calendar, which is expected to deliver $215 million for the state’s economy in the first half of 2021.