Where did the idea for this format come from?
The format for Mozart ‘merry-go-round’ actually came out of the need to find venues that could take more than 100 people. Apart from the music, what makes the Tasmanian Chamber Music Festival different and special is that the public discovers some amazing and very intimate spaces and the music just sounds splendid in these venues. The idea began in the 2018 Festival with Bach in the Barns. Each barn only held about 80 people, so the performers repeated their 30-minute program three times and the audience went on a coach around three different barns. So there were actually three concerts all playing at the one time and repeated three times!
Tasmanian Chamber Music Festival Director Allanah Dopson. Photo supplied
How does the Mozart ‘merry-go-round’ work?
In 2019 the composer is Mozart and instead of three barns, we have St Mary’s Church, Hagley, where the Orava Quartet will perform The “Hunt” Quartet, the Ballroom at Mountford (a private residence) where Greta Bradman and Daniel De Borah will perform Mozart lieder, and Harland Rise Barn where Trio di Bassetto will perform Mozart duets and trios on basset horn. Each venue is between a 15 and 30 minute drive through the glorious Tasmanian countryside, so we have coaches to transport the audience.
What has the feedback been like when you’ve run similar events?
I think people were very dubious in the first year, they didn’t really like the idea of going on a bus, but after the experience, they felt it was a highlight of the Festival. There was great camaraderie and the audience was invited into people’s private spaces. The gardens were all blooming and each performance was very different.
Harland Rise Barn will be one of the stops on the Mozart merry-go-round. Photo supplied
What do you think people enjoy about hearing music in this kind of format?
Being in a less structured environment is also great for the relationship between artists and audience. Not only are the venues intimate, but the performers usually speak to the audience and there is a real relationship built up between audience members and performers. I was also keen that there was music that is not always heard. Evidently Mozart wrote his duets for basset horn, so principal clarinet with Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, Andrew Seymour was very excited to be able to play these and talk to the audience about the basset horn.
Similarly, how often do we hear Mozart lieder? It will be great to have Greta singing these… as she has said in her program notes, Mozart wrote these because he wanted to, not for “bread and butter”.
The Tasmanian Chamber Music Festival runs October 25 – 27. Tickets for the 2019 Festival are now sold out.