The Australian National Academy of Music has announced its 2020 season, Nick Deutsch’s final program as Artistic Director. The wide-ranging program will open in March – with a concert of Tippett, Beethoven, Bizet, Akira Nishimura and Stravinsky, as well as the Australian premiere of Helmut Lachenmann’s satirical Marche fatale – and the climax will be an epic Beethoven string quartet odyssey.
“When I joined ANAM I thought it was one of Australia’s best kept secrets,” says Deutsch. “I now know it to be a school of international reputation and standing, staffed by a truly outstanding faculty. Above all, I appreciate and value its commitment to excellence and artistic integrity at all levels. Our partnerships with organisations. such as Berlin Philharmonic, Mahler Chamber Orchestra, Bavarian State Oper are testament to this standing as well as regular side by side partnerships with leading Australian and New Zealand orchestras and ensembles such as the Australian World Orchestra, Australian Chamber Orchestra, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra.”
Violinist Hana King. Photo © Pia Johnson
Throughout the year, the musicians will have opportunities to study, attend masterclasses and perform with Australian and visiting international musicians, including the likes of violinist Anthony Marwood (who leads a concert in March), bassoonist Ole Kristian Dahl (who leads a concert in April), pianist Piers Lane (who performs an arrangement of Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue for piano and brass in May), percussionist Steven Schick (who also leads concerts in May), violist Tabea Zimmermann (who leads concerts in August and September), and many more.
“It’ll be incredible to hear and learn from trombonist Peter Moore in his March visit to Australia. [He’s] such a special musician we are so fortunate to have access to this calibre of inspiring artists,” says trombonist Jarrod Callaghan.
“I’m looking forward to tackling the Diabelli variations with Timothy Young to celebrate the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth,” says pianist Hannah Pike. “I’m also really excited to work with Steven Schick – I love the collaboration between the piano and percussion departments at ANAM (and reminiscing on my past life of percussion playing!).”
The ANAM Orchestra. Photo © Cameron Jamieson
ANAM musicians will also perform with the Australian Chamber Orchestra in its first tour for the year, with the West Australian Symphony Orchestra in August, with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra in October, and with Victorian Opera in its concert performance of Korngold’s Die Tote Stadt, conducted by Simone Young.
“It’s one of my most beloved operas,” says Deutsch. “It’s also one of the greatest operas of last century. Audiences will already know something of the ‘Korngold sound’ from his Hollywood film scores, many may not know, however just how well-regarded Korngold was in Western Europe in the 1920s in particular. And Die Tote Stadt is perhaps his finest opus, a stunning, sumptuous score written when he was at an age comparable to that of many of our students (19-21 years old). As it premiered in Hamburg, it seemed particularly apt that we could invite Australia’s most accomplished living conductor, Simone Young, who was herself Chief Conductor of the Opera in Hamburg for 10 years, to work with our musicians.”
“I am eager to explore Korngold’s little-known opera Die tote Stadt (The Dead City) with the Victorian Opera, and Steve Reich’s kaleidoscopic symphony Tehillim,” says percussionist James Knight.
ANAM’s big Beethoven celebration will see musicians from ANAM and around the world gather in November for a two-week extravaganza in the ANAM Quartetthaus, to run through no fewer than five cycles of Beethoven’s 16 string quartets, culminating in a performance with all of the musicians on stage performing Beethoven’s final quartet, led by the Australian Chamber Orchestra’s Artistic Director Richard Tognetti.
“One hardly needs an excuse to program the music of Beethoven,” says Deutsch. “His influence on our musical culture, indeed on global culture, is so vast, his place in music history so central. But we have taken the particular occasion of the 250th anniversary of his birth to present a complete cycle of Beethoven’s Quartets in the ANAM Quartetthaus. This we are doing in partnership with the Academy of the Karajan Academy Berlin, Academy of the Bavarian State Opera Munich, The Guildhall School, Colburn School in Los Angeles as well as the Sibelius Acamedy in Helsinki. With musicians playing in the round, and with only 52 seats in the venue, no audience member is ever more than two meters from the performers. It makes for an extraordinary, intimate and unforgettable concert experience.”
“I have a newly formed quartet who are looking forward to bringing one of the 16 quartets alive,” says violinist Mia Stanton, “which I know will be an intense but thoroughly rewarding process.”
As for what life after ANAM will hold for Deutsch, he plans to remain based in Leipzig, but is looking forward to taking a short break. “The nature of my work over the past five years has meant that down time has been a rarity indeed,” he says. “Thereafter I will be back to a full concert schedule, both abroad and in Australia, with its mix of solo performances, orchestral and chamber work, and ‘pit work’ for opera Houses (which I particularly love). Teaching will also remain central to my professional life. I continue as Professor of Oboe at the Hochschule für Musik in Leipzig as well as giving masterclasses all over the world.”
He also hinted at exciting new projects to come. “Watch this space.”