What inspired you to continue with this year’s Brisbane Music Festival as a digital event?

My 2020 was set to be an incredible year of music-making and touring, until COVID-19 had other ideas. After the initial shock of how the arts sector at large had been disrupted, almost to a complete halt, I felt the need to reimagine and adapt my creative offerings. With still so much uncertainty around when theatres might open, this impetus for reimagination gave birth to the 3rd Brisbane Music Festival ‘Streamed Series’ – 10 performances featuring some of Queensland’s most exciting artists, streamed from my own music studio with an event every second Saturday from June 6 to October 10.

Alex RaineriAlex Raineri. Photo © Tim Nicol

What have been the biggest challenges of putting it all together?

There is so much wonderful artistic content being shared online at the moment and it’s hugely inspiring to see how people are responding in unique ways. The logistical conundrum in presenting online content is framing this in a way that constitutes a regular ‘work engagement’ for artists. Traditionally, online content has been freely available, which is the case with much of the streaming content currently being delivered.

Usually I would spend at least a whole year planning for a festival. This ‘Streamed Series’ however has been curated quite swiftly, in response to our current global predicament. My 3rd Brisbane Music Festival seeks to provide support for Queensland artists in this time of crisis, with all ticket proceeds going directly towards supporting the artists. The BMF encourages potential patrons to consider that a ticket purchase secures both an adapted concert experience from the comfort of one’s home, but also provides a tangible and meaningful platform by which the festival artists can continue to create, and share stories through music.

The BMF is now in its third year, how has it evolved over that time?

Three years young! I have so many exciting plans for how this festival will propel itself into the future. All of my pre-planned live events for 2020 have been postponed to the fourth festival in 2021. So, I already have an exciting line up of repertoire, commissions, and artists from all over the world set and ready to play in the 2021 Brisbane Music Festival. Once the world is somewhat back to normal, of course!

In regards to its evolution, the response to both festivals so far has been truly heart-warming and I’m so excited to see what started as my little passion project grow into an entity with promise and support to become a sustainable and culturally contributive event. By the end of this 3rd ‘Streamed Series’, the Brisbane Music Festival will have hosted the World Premiere of 33 new works by Australian composers and featured 58 artists.

What are you most excited about at this year’s festival?

I feel that it is important to acknowledge that nothing can replace the magic of live performance. But, music as a powerful vehicle for storytelling can still very much be celebrated in these disrupted times. Live-streaming is a new endeavour for my festival, but I’m excited to be embracing the possibilities of the digital medium to continue to create and celebrate the art form.

I’m also so thrilled to be working with incredible artists in my festival this year. This includes collaborations with; Southern Cross Soloists, Ensemble Q, Kupka’s Piano, three song recitals with sopranos Eva Kong, Katie Stenzel and Jenna Robertson, cellist Oliver Scott, bassist Marian Heckenberg and the premiere of a BMF ‘Young Artist’ program which this year features; Jemima Drews (flute), Laura Raineri (voice), Shuhei Lawson (cello) and Dario Scalabrini (clarinet).

What do you hope audiences will come away with?

Regardless of the mode of delivery, the transformational qualities and emotional power of music continue to resonate in meaningful and impactful ways. Perhaps now more than ever with the alteration of routines, there is importance to engage with art with a renewed focus. I hope that audiences will join us for the 10 events worth of journeys that comprise the 3rd Brisbane Music Festival and that these journeys will transport audiences to the beautiful space where music stimulates the senses.

The Brisbane Music Festival runs June 6 to October 10