Fascinating music

The Bendigo Chamber Music Festival announces its 2023 season

The Bendigo Chamber Music Festival has announced its 2023 season, with a fiery lineup in a return to its original venues of the Capital Theatre, Forest Street Uniting Church and Bendigo Art Gallery following the runaway success of its 2022 season.

Welcoming its fourth program as a “festival of celebration, new partnerships and returning dear friends”, co-directors Chris Howlett and Howard Penny also introduced a new partnership with the Young Classical Artists Trust in London, where emerging performers , pianist Ariel Lanyi and clarinetist Jonathan Leibovitz will travel from Europe to Bendigo exclusively for the season. The Festival is also hosting the world premiere of two new Australian works: a piano quartet by Harry Sdraulig and a solo piano work by Justin Williams, who Daniel de Bora. The Artamidae Quartet also return, as part of the Festival’s ongoing partnership with the Australian National Academy of Music (ANAM), ahead of their performance at the ANAM Quartetthaus at the Royal Albert Hall in London.

Bendigo Chamber Music Festival. Photo provided.

Other artists at the festival include the Melbourne Chamber Orchestra’s new artistic director, violinist Sophie Rowell, as well as violinists Emily Sun, Alexandra Osborne and Elizabeth Layton, violists Amanda Verner and Tobias Breider, pianists Daniel de Borah and Laurence Matheson and horn player Nico Fleury. Howlett and Penny will also join the group of artists as cellists.

“The Festival holds a very dear place in my heart and it is one of my personal musical highlights each year. It combines an incredible group of colleagues, fabulous chamber music, the warm welcome of dear supporters and great restaurants, all in a regional town that I love,” says Howlett. limelight.

“We released Friends of the Festival tickets last Thursday at 9am and it was heartwarming to see 80% of festival passes purchased within three hours of lunch! It is the support and trust that Howard and I are so grateful for and that we never take for granted. We had our inaugural festival in 2020, plus two COVID-restricted festivals in 2021 and 2022, so I’m looking forward to our first ‘less stress’ festival in 2023.”

The Festival begins with an opening gala, the first part of its Summer Nights series. It begins with a program featuring the rare Louis Spohr Fantasy and Variations on a Danzi Themetwo Brahms pianos Variations of Saint Anthonyand Dohnányi’s last sextet – a powerful indicator of the careful and intelligent selection of repertoire that the Bendigo Chamber Music Festival offers its performers – a rich and wide spectrum that unearths rare works from all over the history of music and pairs them with beloved classics and powerful showcases of contemporary music. Australian composers.

Throughout its duration, Summer Nights offers a concert centered around the piano quartet, contrasting with the brilliance of Schubert Adagio and Rondo Concertante next to Fauré’s tender second quartet. De Borah will also be the premiere of Justin Williams Three Interludes.

Its third concert explores the evolution of the musical lexicon of European composers from Boccherini to Strauss, and the series ends with a gala by the mayor.

Like its 2022 season, the Morning Recital series begins the Festival’s bustling second day with a spotlight on the Artamidae Quartet, performing Haydn’s cautious and determined String Quartet in B minor, the dramatic flair of Debussy’s only string quartet and Amy Beach’s lyrical and languid Quartet. for strings (in one movement). The upcoming recital pairs Jonathan Leibovitz and Laurence Matheson as they venture into the startling diversity of color and emotion that the individual mastery of composers Bartók, Brahms, Alban Berg and Poulenc is able to draw from a piano duet and clarinet. Pianist Ariel Lanyi concludes this series on February 4, proving his mastery of Franck’s Prelude, air and end, and Schumman’s virtuoso symphonic studies.

The Festival’s popular Dusk series also returns for the 2023 season. His first concert opens with two works for quartet by Australian composer Carl Vine and Bernhard Crussel. Vine describes his third string quartet as “a kind of sonic alchemy”. Commissioned by the Smith Quartet of London, her performance by the Goldner String Quartet in 2000 won a Classical Music Award.

It was after hearing Crussel’s first Mozart-inspired clarinet quartet that Russian composer Mikhail Glinka told his teacher that “music is my soul” and felt compelled to start his own musical career. Likewise, Mozart’s third string quintet, performed in the third concert alongside his horn quintet, would inspire Schubert to write his seminal last string quintet. Here de Borah also premieres Justin William’s solo piano work Three Interludes.

“BCMF is such a great way to start the year, sharing glorious music with friends old and new amid the laid-back charm of Bendigo in late summer. And it’s even more exciting to welcome international artists back into the mix next year for what’s shaping up to be another mind-blowing festival! of Borah said.

Chris Howlet

Director Chris Howlett. Photo provided.

Other highlights of the program include a community choral concert featuring the Bendigo Chamber Music Festival orchestra, a Masterclass event that Howlett describes as a “vibrant community pillar” and the Inside and Out Conversation concert series which centers discussions on music led by artists. This year, Howlett hosts a talk on the power and support that commissions bring to the arts, and Penny illuminates the Baroque period for audiences with her passion for Handel, with an ensemble performance of his Concerto Grosso in B flat major.

Howlett also highlights the 2023 education program, which undertakes “school visits to local special development schools and visits to more isolated primary schools in the city of Greater Bendigo – including one which has only 15 pupils from the preparation in 6th grade.

The 2023 season comes to a spectacular close with its farewell concert, featuring a program by Schubert, Schumann and Cherubini, before all the featured artists come together to perform Handel’s Concerto grosso in B flat major – a showcase of one of the best chamber music works offered by the Baroque period.

“What a joy to celebrate the return to relative normality with a program brimming with Australian and international artistic power and a fabulous repertoire! said Penny. “As well as much-loved chamber music favourites, we have a few rarities: piano quartets by Schubert, Strauss and Fauré, and genuine festival repertoire, including the magnificent and rarely performed Andante and Variations for horn, two pianos and two cellos, as well as Dohnanyi’s Extremely Entertaining Sextet. We’ve allowed ourselves the indulgence of arranging Donizetti’s String Quartet for our entire string cohort, and two world premieres stand alongside the Concerto Grosso – truly something for everyone!


Bendigo Chamber Music Festival season 2023 is lit from February 1 to 5.

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