The Australian National Academy of Music has announced its 2018 season of concerts, with a nationwide smorgasbord of diverse repertoire and performers. “What sets an ANAM performance apart is the sense of energy and abandon that our musicians bring to everything they do,” said ANAM Artistic Director Nick Deutsch.
The season kicks off in February with a national tour, the ANAM musicians in company with the Australian Chamber Orchestra under the directorship of Richard Tognetti. This partnership follows from Tognetti’s 2017 ANAM residency, which in May saw him present a masterclass and concert in association with students of the Academy.
Berta Brozgul, VIC. Photo by Pia Johnson, design by Studio Brave
Another nationwide ANAM event on the calendar will be the ANAM Artists series. Back for a second year after sold-out performances in 2017, this programme tours the cream of ANAM alumni to capital cities and regional venues. In 2018, the young artists on display will include Ensemble Peregrine, formed of ANAM alumni who are now principal winds in various orchestras around the world, with Australian pianist Gladys Chua. Later in the year, Kiazma Piano Duo (Aura Go and Tomoe Kawabata) will tour the four-hands piano music of Schubert, Stravinsky and Debussy around the state of Victoria.
Kiazma’s choice of repertoire is significant, since 2018 will also mark an important anniversary in the classical music world – the hundredth year since Claude Debussy’s death. ANAM’s Debussy100 series commemorates the French composer by tackling the complete array of his chamber and piano works in performances scattered throughout the year. Contributing to this task will be a host of acclaimed international and Australian pianists, among them Kathryn Stott, Steven Osborne, Ian Munro, and ANAM’s own Head of Piano, Timothy Young. In October, the ANAM Orchestra under the baton of Richard Mills will join with Victorian Opera to present two performances of Debussy’s only opera Pelléas et Mélisande.
Artistic partnerships like this are a feature of the 2018 programme, chief among them ANAM’s longstanding relationship with the Melbourne Recital Centre. “MRC and ANAM have a long and rich history – and in 2018 we are working together on our biggest season yet,” said MRC’s Director of Artistic Planning Marshall McGuire. “In addition to our wonderful Mostly Mozart morning concerts, we’ll see the ANAM Orchestra with a dazzling array of guest artists in four evening concerts, and a series of prize-winners and alumni concerts featuring the very best young musical talent embarking on their professional careers.”
Simone Young and students at the Australian National Academy of Music. Photo © Pia Johnson
In association with MRC, the newly-established ANAM at MRC evening series will play host to a string of visiting conductors. José Luis Gomez will lead ANAM musicians in a Leonard Bernstein celebration, while Simone Young will continue her Brahms cycle with the Third Symphony, and in a single September evening, Scottish conductor Douglas Boyd will present Mozart’s final three symphonies. A November concert pays tribute to Australian composer-conductor Brett Dean (also a former Artistic Director of ANAM), and to the success of his tremendous new opera Hamlet, which premiered at Glyndebourne Festival Opera in June this year and will have its Australian premiere at the Adelaide Festival. Here, besides contemporary works by Meale, Illean and Lentz, Dean will also conduct the Australian premiere of From Melodious Lay, the song cycle taken from his opera.
Other highlights through the year include an arrangement of Mahler’s fiercely introspective Ninth Symphony for chamber ensemble, a partnership with the Australian String Quartet which will present the complete string quartets of Benjamin Britten, and a version of Pictures at an Exhibition for brass and percussion led by the Australian Brass Quintet.
In total, besides international guests and residencies, ANAM’s 2018 season will feature 67 young artists in over 180 performances across the country, in venues as diverse as the Sydney Opera House and Government House Western Australia, and at special occasions like the Port Fairy Spring Music and TarraWarra Festivals. Also included in this are the regular ANAM recitals and lunchtime concerts at South Melbourne Town Hall, which provide a consistent and yearlong snapshot of what ANAM students are studying and playing.
All in all, it will be a big year for the ANAM musicians. “The sheer joy of music-making is completely irresistible, and it transforms everything that they do into a ‘life or death’ event, as they throw themselves at everything as if there were no tomorrow,” said Deutsch. “Once you’ve tasted it, you can’t get enough of it.”