Glam-organist and stellar lieder exponent lend MRC a distinctive flavour next year.

Amidst the plethora of season launches it’s nice to see one offering a distinctive flavour, and with flamboyant organist Cameron Carpenter and the extraordinary talent of lieder singer Florian Boesch, Melbourne Recital Centre have done just that. The venue’s fifth season of its flagship concert series, Great Performers, will see 10 of the world’s most interesting classical musicians heading for Melbourne to perform in the intimate setting of Elizabeth Murdoch Hall.

“In a solo recital there’s a uniquely powerful connection between musician and audience,” says MRC Chief Exec Mary Vallentine. “We put today’s finest players in one of the world’s most exquisite acoustics, and then we carefully select repertoire that allows them to reveal their personality, their skill and musicality, and above all speak to the audience in a very personal way.”

Cameron Carpenter

Topping the bill (or, as some might say ‘over-the-top’-ping the bill) is glam-org superstar Cameron Carpenter. “I have been longing to present him but because of the instrument he plays we haven’t been able to bring him to you,” says Programming Director Kirsten Siddle, “until now.” The difference as of this year is that the showman of the organ pipes is no longer dependent on the venue to provide the instrument. “Cameron Carpenter is wickedly talented and a true showman in every sense of the word, and now a company in the USA has built an International Touring Organ especially for him, which travels in its own shipping container and takes three hours to assemble,” says Siddle.

Florian Boesch

Another undeniable highlight of the 2015 season will see Schubert’s three epic song cycles performed over three consecutive evenings by Austrian bass-baritone Florian Boesch. “Schubert’s songs remain the gold standard to which all other art songs, or lieder, are compared,” says Vallentine, “The songs are practically Shakespearean in their exploration of the soul and psyche.” Boesch has been making a name for himself all over the world for his intense interpretations of these cycles, and he’s had rave five-star reviews (including in a recent issue of Limelight) for his extraordinary recordings of Winterreise and Die Schöne Müllerin with Malcolm Martineau, who will accompany him in Australia.

Pinchas Zuckerman

Two welcome returnees will be Pinchas Zukerman and Christian Tetzlaff. Zuckerman wowed Australia earlier this year and is one of the best-known violinists performing today. Famous for his collaborations with the likes of Leonard Bernstein and Isaac Stern, he will be joined in Melbourne by pianist Angela Cheng for a program of Romantic masterpieces. German virtuoso Christian Tetzlaff will play a solo program, allowing audiences to experience close up his intense, cerebral approach to music-making.

Nikolai Demidenko

Four blockbuster pianists round out the year. The elegant Canadian Louis Lortie will play preludes by Chopin, Fauré and Scriabin. American legend Garrick Ohlsson will offer Beethoven, Granados and Schubert’s mighty Wanderer Fantasy. Finland’s rising star Paavali Jumppanen will play a solo recital with music including Sibelius (a composer celebrating a birthday year). Jumppanen impressed recently in his performances with the Australian Chamber Orchestra and Limelight made his first Beethoven sonata CD release an Editor’s Choice. Finally, Russian powerhouse Nikolai Demidenko will perform an all-Chopin program which should be a thrilling event (check out his favourite recordings in next month’s Limelight).

Flexible season ticket packages start at $269 and are available from August 27.