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14 February 2013

Once Upon a Time at Arts Centre Melbourne

Sally Whitwell Image: Sally Whitwell  

When I started at Arts Centre Melbourne just over six months ago, one of the first conversations I had was with the producer of the Famous Spiegeltent, Linda Catalano. We talked about the possibility of introducing some classical music into this most glorious venue, and about what this might look and sound like. And the idea came to combine virtuoso musicians with some storytelling, linking the cabaret and theatre vibe of the tent with some outstanding performers and repertoire.

And so Once Upon a Time came into being. Selecting the artists was a joy - Australia, as we know, is blessed with a range of outstanding performers, all committed to new music, and all committed to stretching the possibilities of their chosen instruments. A quick call to Merlyn Quaife, Genevieve Lacey, Joseph Tawadros, Riley Lee, Sally Whitwell, Brett Dean and Joe Chindamo and Zoe Black was met with immediate and enthusiastic embrace of the idea.

The other key strand is to make sure that Australian repertoire is included in all these concerts, and with these performers there's no shortage of great music to program. Of course, three of these performers are also composers, so that helps! Along with music by Joseph, Brett and Joe, you can hear music by Joseph Twist, Andrew Ford, Anne Boyd, Stuart Greenbaum, Roger Heagney and Chris Willcock.

All musicians have great stories to tell about their earliest inspirations, their key mentors, challenges and opportunities, epiphanies and disappointments. Classical musicians sometimes have the most interesting stories to tell. And I hope that, by including this series alongside shows by Katie Noonan, the Dirty Brothers, Trevor Ashley, Christa Hughes, Meow Meow, the Pigs, Renee Geyer and the Toot Toot Toots, and so many others, we can illuminate the things that connect us as musicians, no matter what the genre.

Further links

Arts Centre Melbourne presents: the Famous Spiegeltent (http://spiegel.artscentremelbourne.com.au/)

Marshall McGuire is harpist, artistic director and curator, as well as music programmer at Arts Centre Melbourne.


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