The Canberra International Music Festival’s 25th anniversary has been its most successful year in the event’s history, Festival Chair Bev Clarke announced. Ticket sales were up 12 percent on the 2018 Festival, which included 43 events over 11 days in venues from Canberra’s historic Fitters’ Workshop to the National Gallery of Australia and the Botanic Gardens.

CIMFThe Canberra International Music Festival’s opening concert, A World of Bach. Photo © Peter Hislop

This year’s Festival was themed re/discover Bach, with Artistic Director Roland Peelman putting together a program spanning Historically Informed Performance to nine world premieres by contemporary composers, including Christopher Sainsbury and the Festival’s composer collective in residence, Jess Green, Bree van Reyk and Nick Wales.

“The number of interstate patrons suggests the Festival is highly valued by lovers of classical and contemporary art music from around Australia, with interstate patrons approaching 35% of total sales in 2019,” Clarke said.

The Festival featured international artists including the Brodsky Quartet, Quatuor Voce and the sonic.art saxophone quartet, as well as Australian ensembles and musicians including Bach Academy Australia and violinist Kristian Winther. Highlights included performances by the Ntaria Choir from Central Australia, a concert performance of Andrew Schultz’s The Children’s Bach and French-American pianist Dan Tepfer’s reimagining of Bach’s Goldberg Variations.

“The festival shows exactly what is possible in Canberra,” said Professor Rae Frances, Dean of the Australian National University’s College of Arts and Social Sciences, at the Festival’s final concert in Fitters’ Workshop. “That some of the best musicians in the world can come to this city and make incredible music in a festival that is becoming internationally significant.”

Read Limelight‘s coverage of the 2019 Canberra International Music Festival here.