This year’s Albury Chamber Music Festival will feature a brand new work for theremin and string quartet by rising star Australian composer Jessop Maticevski Shumack, the festival’s Artistic Director Helena Kernaghan has announced. The new work will be the centrepiece of the Festival’s 2019 program, which will also include special guests such as the Seraphim Trio with Martin Alexander, the Inventi Ensemble, the Acacia Quartet, the Orpheus Piano Trio, organist Martin Setchell and soprano Merlyn Quaife.

Thorwald Jørgensen, Albury Chamber Music FestivalDutch Theremenist Thorwald Jørgensen

“I have always been fascinated with the theremin, and when I realised that 2019 was its 100th anniversary, I couldn’t resist the opportunity to build a festival around the instrument,” Kernaghan told Limelight.We have been so fortunate to have Dutch theremenist Thorwald Jorgensen as one of our featured performers in this year’s festival, and I am sure Australian crowds will find his program extremely exciting.”

“Having a world premiere is extremely important for me (and the future of art music in general),” she said.

The festival, which also includes a rising stars masterclass for talented regional students, will run November 15 – 17 at venues around Albury, on the border of New South Wales and Victoria. “We are very fortunate to have many stunning, intimate venues here in Albury, and there is plenty of interaction between audience and performers, which makes for a wonderful overall experience for the audience,” she said. “The overwhelming feedback from performers is that there is an exciting, friendly spirit to the festival and we focus on keeping this aspect of the events at the forefront of our presentation.”

“We are also very focused on breaking down stereotypes of the expected audiences for chamber music concerts,” Kernaghan said. “I have extremely eclectic tastes in music, and I know many people do. That’s why the focus is on quality – any performance at an elite level is impressive. By exposing crowds who didn’t think they would like ‘Classical’ music to top-level live performance, we are widening the appeal of the art form, and so far we have achieved overwhelming success in this regard.”

While the world premiere will be a highlight of the festival, it won’t be the only one. “Thorwald will be sharing the bill with renowned Australian soprano Merlyn Quaife in one of the concerts, which will be a definite highlight,” Kernaghan said.

The Albury Chamber Music Festival takes place in venues around Albury November 15 – 17