18 September 2007
Sounds Alive 08
© Mark Ostow
A new music series (May 7-18, 2008)
Two years ago the Australian writer and contemporary music lover Barbara Blackman rang me. She wanted to donate a large amount of money to contemporary chamber music and was interested in how I might spend part of this amount. Barbara has been listening to me perform since my B.Mus days at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. There she was (and still is) seated in the front row, her listening ears engaged, in her dark glasses and flowing garments. Her feedback was always welcome and witty.
I proposed a festival series of new music concerts called Sounds Alive 08 reflecting diverse and innovative musical genres (music theatre, chamber opera, jazz, world, contemporary and cabaret) performed at the highest level and aimed to attract a wide audience nationally. This would all take place in Canberra at The Street Theatre (www.thestreet.org.au). The capital is my hometown and now Barbara’s loved residence. Perfectly situated for festivals, it sits amongst rolling hills reminiscent of Northern California, with fine dining, sidewalk cafes, vineyards, mellow autumn leaves and sunshine. Barbara accepted my proposal for the series. Promusica and the Canberra International Music Festival became our hosts.
As Artistic Curator, I have designed 11 concerts culminating in an 8-hour Marathon event running from 7 May through to the 18 May 2008. The Street Theatre is a centrally located venue – a ‘festival club’ on the city’s edge of the ANU campus and equipped with a café-restaurant, bar, a 90-seat cabaret space and a larger 300-seat auditorium.
A mixture of musical groups from around the world will be featured, many of whom have never performed in Australia: the Czech songstress and violinist Iva Bittova, New York’s Grammy-nominated Don Byron Ivey-Divey Trio, the cabaret trio Polygraph Lounge and the phenomenal percussion quartet So Percussion. Appearing from Ireland come the Crash Ensemble, and from around Australia the duo of Robyn Archer and Paul Grabowsky, the Dean-Emerson-Dean Trio, the Grainger String Quartet, Ensemble Offspring, Drumatix, Clarity 4 and many more soloists and groups. Two successful Crash Ensemble commissions (funded by the Australia Council) have been secured for Australian composers Michael Smetanin and Kat McGuffie.
School and children’s concerts, lunchtime ‘talks about music’ and lobby performance events will fill out the in-between hours, coinciding with the Canberra International Music Festival itself, which will feature another 20 musical events during the same 10-day period.
Canberra International Music Festival Young Composer’s Competition
Sounds Alive 08 will feature a new work by a prize-winning young composer (under 26) in our 2nd Canberra International Music Festival Young Composer’s Competition. This year the prize-winning composer will write a work for the featured Grainger String Quartet, winning $1,000 plus travel, accommodation and a world premiere performance at the Marathon concert on May 18th 2008. (The deadline for submissions is Oct 15th 2007).
© Australian Music Centre (2007) — Permission must be obtained from the AMC if you wish to reproduce this article either online or in print.
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