What inspired you to found Brisbane Music Festival in 2018?
Fundamentally the BMF was borne from my love of music, curation, and collaboration. I feel extremely privileged to lead a busy freelance career throughout Australia as a pianist. Hosting a major event such as this festival is my way of giving back to the industry in which I operate. It is also to my knowledge the only ‘festival’ situated in Brisbane itself that is devoted exclusively to the presentation of classical music, old works and new.
What makes this festival unique?
Naturally, the curatorial slant of each event within the festival represents my personal creative persuasions. Many of the works programmed (such as Schubert’s ‘Trout’ Quintet, Rachmaninov’s Cello Sonata, Chopin’s 24 Preludes) are bucket list pieces for me.
Other programs were borne from collaborative impetus. I’m so thrilled to have an incredible team of artists joining me for this year’s festival including soprano Sara Macliver, dancer/choreographer Katina Olsen, violinist Anne Horton, actor Matthew Connell, hornist Alex Miller, and many more.
The BMF takes place in various unique venues throughout the city of Brisbane. In avoiding traditional concert hall settings, I’ve tried to incorporate an experience of the city itself into the vibe of the festival.
What were some of the lessons learned at the first festival last year, and what are you excited about for this year’s festival?
I am excited about everything. It has been challenging to both curate and perform in an entire festival, but it has been a rewarding and nourishing opportunity for me to develop as an artist.
What are some of the things you wanted to keep in mind as you put together this year’s program?
In contrast to the premiere iteration of the BMF in 2018 which took place within a span of one week, this year’s festival spans just under a month with ten quite contrasting performances.
As opposed to a country festival where audiences tend to ‘marathon’ listen over the course of a weekend, I wanted to provide enough contrast throughout the festival that might encourage city dwellers to consider multiple concert outings within the one cultural banner that is the BMF.
The festival will feature the world premiere of 28 new Australian works – why was this important to you?
New work and collaboration with composers is something I’ve always been passionate about. Experimentation in how to create new ideas, new sounds, new concepts, it’s what invigorates the continuation, relevance and vibrancy of ‘classical music’ as an artform.
The bulk of the new works in the 2019 BMF are featured in a show called ‘bloodpaths’. Ruminating on the notion of Australian identity and the resonant meaning of ‘home’, 25 composers have been commissioned to contribute miniatures to ‘bloodpaths’. Drawing creative impetus from the pervading multiculturalism of the Australian arts scene, this provocation has resulted in some truly extraordinary stories of belonging through the medium of music and dance. I can’t wait to share with audiences in our two performance season.
Some featured composers receiving world premieres include Kate Moore, Lyle Chan, Lachlan Skipworth, Cat Hope, Gerard Brophy, Elliott Gyger, Damien Ricketson, Connor D’Netto, Lisa Cheney, and many more.
What do you hope audiences will come away with?
Music can have an incredibly powerful and subjective effect on us as humans. Whether it is consumed through the lens of engagement or entertainment (and all shades of grey in between), I hope that audiences will come away with an experience that resonates with them into their daily lives.
The Brisbane Music Festival runs from November 22 to December 18