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Following his intimate solo Chopin recital at Sydney’s City Recital Hall, Australian pianist Piers Lane donned his chamber music hat, inviting the audience to stay for the launch of his 2011 programme as artistic director of the Australian Festival of Chamber Music.
Appointed festival director in 2007, Lane has drawn on his extensive experience and contacts as an internationally acclaimed chamber music performer. The 2011 line-up features his regular piano quintet partner The Goldner String Quartet, as well as British clarinettist Michael Collins, with whom Lane recorded the recital disc The Virtuoso Clarinet (Chandos CHAN10615), a recent ABC Classic FM CD of the Week.
Australian artists set to appear at the event include AFCM stalwart William Barton on didgeridoo, Sony-signed saxophonist Amy Dickson, and soprano Lisa Gasteen in her much-anticipated return to singing following a neck injury in 2009.
The programme celebrates the anniversaries of two composer-pianists: the bicentenary of Liszt’s birth, and 50 years since the death of Australia’s own Percy Grainger. “The inclusion of these two great pianist-composers, Liszt and Grainger, means that pianos will have an even more prominent role than usual in the 2011 Festival and audiences can look forward to eclectic delights sprinkled among many repertoire classics,” said Lane.
English pianist Danny Driver, a protégé of Lane’s, will also be championing the music of York Bowen, the “British Rachmaninov” who died fifty years ago in 1961. Other major works to be presented include Messiaen's Stravinsky’s The Soldier’s Tale, George Crumb’s Voice of the Whale, and pieces by AFCM composer-in-residence, Martin Wesley-Smith.
The annual festival will be held this year from July 29 - August 6. To Sydneysiders attending the launch, who may have been daunted by the prospect of travelling to Townsville for nine days, Lane was quick to point out that the largest contingent of AFCM's repeat interstate visitors hail from Sydney.
“With an enviable global reputation for the quality of its distinguished artists, the Australian Festival of Chamber Music will continue to be a happy meeting place for Australian and overseas visitors who enjoy the opportunity to hear and meet international musicians in the warmly inviting tropical winter setting of Townsville and The Great Barrier Reef”, he said.
The Australian Festival of Chamber Music won Best Festival/Event in the 2010 Limelight Awards.