The Australian Chamber Choir has unveiled its 2021 season, which will feature live performances as well as digital livestreams and on-demand concerts. While the shutdowns of 2020 were a blow, the choir has its sights set on the future.
Australian Chamber Choir’s Artistic Director Douglas Lawrence. Photo © Michael Lawrence
“The sad part about 2021 is that we had to cancel our European concert tour of 14 concerts, including two Motet concerts in Bach’s church, St Thomas’ Leipzig,” the ACC’s manager Elizabeth Anderson says. “We’re now working on a concert tour for 2022. We plan to take 30 fans along for the ride. If we don’t plan, nothing will happen! Our 2021 programs will provide our audience with a much-needed escape. Fabulous choral music is transporting. We might not be able to invite 30 people on a tour of Europe this year, but we can offer many more people the possibility of a brief visit to heaven.”
Following the choir’s first live concert since the lockdowns – ‘Ludwig van we missed your birthday!’ in March this year – the ACC will be touring regional Victoria with Fauré’s Requiem, alongside music by Brahms and Tavener.
“In 2020, we planned four performances of the Fauré Requiem in small regional churches,” Artistic Director Douglas Lawrence says. “Early this year, we realised that with COVID audience capacity restrictions and 28 performers at the front of the church, these concerts would not be financially viable. So after our Melbourne performance with the full forces in April, we will pre-record the orchestral part and go on a five-concert tour with 10 singers and a backing track! This will be a first and we trust a real success. Everyone who attends will also be able to watch the Melbourne performance on demand free of charge.”
The choir will performing Bach Motets across June and August, joined by cellist Rosy Hunt who will perform movements from the Cello Suites between the motets, while November will see the ACC put together a program of favourite music based on audience votes. The ACC8 – a smaller ensemble of singers – tours at Christmas with music from the Renaissance, Baroque and beyond.
The ACC is offering both livestreamed and on-demand concerts for the 2021 season. “During Melbourne’s long lockdowns, we took our concerts online,” Anderson says. “Through six live-streamed programs, we picked up audience all over Australia. Those people want to continue watching online and we won’t disappoint them.”
As for the most exciting aspect of the 2021 season: “Live concerts!” says Lawrence. “In our first live concert, ‘Ludwig van we missed your birthday’, both the choir and audience were excited and emotional. It was terrific! If you weren’t there, you didn’t miss it! It’s available on demand until 16 April.”