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7 April 2008

Autumn New Music in Canberra

The Canberra International Music Festival, May 7-18 2008

Lisa Moore Image: Lisa Moore  

This May the Canberra International Music Festival (CIMF) offers a spectacular and adventurous autumn program featuring new works by 20 visiting composers performed by over 50 musicians in 30 concerts spread across the city for 12 days. The concerts showcase the full spectrum of chamber music from mediaeval through to contemporary jazz and just about everything in-between: music theatre, chamber opera, large and small ensembles, world music, cabaret, electronic, experimental and multi-media shows performed at the highest level and designed to attract a nationwide diverse audience.

CIMF presents concerts by Tango Futur, The Swiss Piano Trio, Iain Grandage, Topology, William Barton, The Sculthorpe String Quartet, The Australian String Quartet, Jouissance, Geoffrey Lancaster and world premieres of commissioned incidental music for vintage Felix the Cat cartoons by Elena Kats-Chernin in partnership with the National Film and Sound Archive, and Tiger look at this: The Canberra Cantata by singer/songwriter Peter J Casey. The Grainger String Quartet will perform world premieres by David Harris and Huw Belling (2008 winner of the CIMF Young Composer’s Competition).

CIMF features several special initiatives this year. Apart from a huge education concert program of (mostly Australian) new music for some 12,000 primary school children and ‘Meet the Makers’ lunchtime and post-concert talks, a new cutting edge series called Sounds Alive ’08 will be located at The Street Theatre providing a ‘club’ vibe with its two state-of-the-art theatres, café/bar/restaurant and central location.

CIMF’s Sounds Alive ’08 presents 12 concerts and a line-up of top musicians, many of whom have never performed in Australia: the Czech diva/songstress and violinist Iva Bittova, New York’s Grammy-nominated Don Byron Ivey-Divey Trio, the phenomenal New York percussion quartet So Percussion (with music by David Lang, Jason Treuting, Paul Lansky and Martin Bresnick). The world’s greatest ‘thereminist’ Rob Schwimmer performing solo and within his hysterical cabaret trio Polygraph Lounge direct from NY’s Lower East Side. From Dublin comes the Crash Ensemble, a 19-member amplified rocking chamber ensemble directed by composer Donnacha Dennehy. Crash will premiere two commissioned works by Australian composers Kat McGuffie and Michael Smetanin along with Michael Gordon’s Van Gogh opera. From Australia the Robyn Archer and Paul Grabowsky duo appear in a new collaboration City Songs #2. To top it off, the Dean-Emerson-Dean Trio, the Grainger String Quartet, Eileen Mack, Lisa Moore, Ensemble Offspring, Drumatix, Gary France, Stopera, and the Clarity Clarinet Quartet will also perform.

The entire festival combines forces in a final seven-hour (11am-6pm) Marathon concert on 18 May. Opening and closing with music by Steve Reich (Piano Phase/Video Phase and the complete Drumming) and splattered with spotlights on Don Byron and Iva Bittová, and Messiaen and Janácek quartets, the Marathon will be an event not to be missed. With food and wine available at the venue, the audience can come and go as they like with an all-day pass, or pick and choose and stay for a single session.

Performance Details

Canberra International Music Festival
Various venues in Canberra May 7-18 2008
Tickets: www.thestreet.org.au.

Further Links

Canberra International Music Festival (www.cimf.org.au)

Nicole Canham is the Artistic Director of the Canberra International Music Festival. Lisa Moore is the Artistic Curator for Sounds Alive’08.


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