How important an influence was Piazzolla and Tango Nuevo on your ideas for the festival?
Of course both played an important role. There has been very little of this style of music performed at Four Winds and it’s music that really does deserve to be heard live, especially in the purest form which is the Tango Nuevo quintet instrumentation created by Piazzolla.
What will guest ensembles Rasa Duende and Bandaluzia bring to the festival?
Both those ensembles bring their own original music and instrumentations which have been heavily influenced by various elements of Flamenco styles. String instruments, percussion and dance are well known ingredients of this folkloristic tradition. Rasa Duende add a truly delicious blend of cultures with the added spices of traditional Indian music.
What advantages are there in having guest musicians from such diverse musical backgrounds?
The energy and chemistry that can be created by spontaneous music making, especially in the inspirational, breathtakingly beautiful and magic site of Four Winds.
What are you looking forward to most as a performer at the festival?
I’d say definitely the opportunity to collaborate with a wonderful group of musicians, being able to meet up at Four Winds and of course having such perfect conditions to make music in.
For audiences, what are the truly must-see events?
All of them! It’s an immersive 24 hours not to be missed. Saturday evening in the Wind Song Pavilion with Tango Jam 2, Sunday afternoon in the Sound Shell with Rasa Duende, Bandaluzia and opera star baritone José Carbó singing sumptuous classic tango songs and the dance workshops in town concluding with a Latin Spirit dance/bar evening in the Bermagui Community Hall.
While Piazzolla is well known, are there any composers of tango or flamenco music you think deserve more attention?
Piazzolla was the pioneer of Tango Nuevo, a fusion of musical styles. He has been an important inspiration for the next generation of composers who are influenced by particular musical cultures. There are too many composers to mention and all with their own unique style and language. What I can promise though is a thrilling musical journey from the known to the unknown at Four Winds this Easter.
I understand you’re playing accordion in Brett Dean’s Hamlet later this year, and the part was written specifically for you – how did that opportunity come about?
I first met Brett 10 years ago when I performed a concerto with Melbourne Symphony Orchestra written by a mutual friend British composer Sally Beamish. Brett’s curiosity and sound-mongering explorations led him to write for the instrument in his Last Days of Socrates. We then collaborated with the Swedish Chamber Orchestra together and performed as a duo. Brett’s appetite and knowledge about the instrument obviously grew and now it’s a major part of his new opera which is very exciting.
How different an experience will that be for you, playing on stage as part of a contemporary opera?
I’ve performed in a few contemporary chamber operas where I’ve also been featured on the stage but nothing quite this big in scale. The role is a substantial one as I will be in the orchestral pit playing as well when not on stage in costume performing.
How important is it for you as a performer to maintain a diverse musical diet?
It’s incredibly important for me to feel alive, challenged and inspired-that’s what satisfies my musical appetite. I’m curious, I need to feel expressively engaged in everything that I do and continue to look for ways in which I can develop as a spontaneous and creative musician always extending the creative experiences.
Four Winds Latin Spirit is in Bermagui, NSW April 15 – 16