22 May 2019
Australians shine at Classical:NEXT 2019 in Rotterdam
Classical:NEXT descends upon De Doelen in Rotterdam once a year, bringing with it hundreds of performers, composers, arts administrators, and companies from all over the world. This year, between 16-18 May, that number included 24 Australians, between them presenting three showcases, a project pitch, and percussionist/artistic director Claire Edwardes chairing a panel on gender equity - in addition to the multitude of meetings, networking events and mentoring sessions.
Now in its eighth year, Classical:NEXT runs for four days
including concert performances, panels and 93 stalls spread
across two floors of foyer space in the De Doelen concert hall.
This year, the conference was synchronised with ROAM (Rotterdam
Art Music Festival) and Operadagen (an international opera and
music theatre festival), creating a wider festival vibe across
Rotterdam for the 931 attendees.
SOUNDS AUSTRALIA and the Australian Music Centre hosted a stand to act as a meeting point and home base for the delegates. As is tradition, Glenn Dickie (SOUNDS AUSTRALIA), grilled up ever-popular vegemite and cheese toasties for passing attendees and made introductions to our artists in attendance.
Of note were our two Classical:NEXT Fellows, composer and pianist Belle Chen and arts administrator Simonette Turner, who made the most of their mentorships with established arts professionals. You can read more about the Fellows in this news article on Resonate.
Our showcases highlighted variety, beginning with Sonya
Lifschitz's performance of an exceprt of
Stalin's Piano by
Robert Davidson. The powerful work blends video clips of
famous artists and politicians from Brecht to Michelle Obama,
with piano lines and spoken word to tell important poignant
Ensemble Offspring presented two works with accompanying video projections. Kate Moore's Fern (2012) blended with the naturescapes of Lillian Brown's film, while Andrea Keller's Love in Solitude (2019) was supported by video from Peter Humble.
Finally, the Zephyr Quartet collaborated with Hong Kong-born artist GayBird to an electronic-acoustic collaboration, Another Music in Anticlockwise - a timeless soundscape, created by blending psychedelic electronics, animation and constantly morphing classical string sounds.
The Australian delegates clearly made their mark on Classical:NEXT. In founding director Jennifer Dautermann's closing speech she referenced Michelle Obama's speech (used in Davidson's Stalin's Piano), that art is about 'connecting to people, it's the key to everything we want to be or do in life, our ability to connect with people'. And in praising the largest and friendliest gathering of this conference to date, perhaps that's also what Classical:NEXT is about: making connections.
© Australian Music Centre (2019) — Permission must be obtained from the AMC if you wish to reproduce this article either online or in print.
Subjects discussed by this article:
Composer Cameron Lam works at APRA AMCOS as Art Music Specialist.
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