Scottish accordionist James Crabb will take up the reins for the latest festival on NSW’s far south coast.

The Four Winds festival has announced the appointment of Scottish classical accordionist James Crabb as their new Artistic Director. The festival, which celebrated its 25th anniversary this year, centres around an open-air amphitheatre amidst the natural scenery near Bermagui, NSW.

“We are thrilled to announce the appointment of James Crabb as our Artistic Director with responsibility to lead our year-round programme of activities as well as our iconic biennial Easter Festival,” said Four Winds Chair of the Board Sheena Boughen. “James is an internationally acclaimed classical accordionist and a highly respected and passionate music educator. He will deliver a vibrant, international program of events, which will animate our beautiful performance spaces, ‘Nature’s Concert Hall’, just south of Bermagui on the far south coast of NSW.”

Classical accordionist James Crabb

Crabb was a performer at the 2012 Four Winds Festival and has appeared at the Aldeburgh Festival, the London Proms and the Australian Festival of Chamber Music, and has recorded with the Australian Chamber Orchestra and played with them in Japan and Europe. He has performed as a soloist with a number of orchestras in Europe, as well as the Sydney and Melbourne Symphony Orchestras. He is an authority on the music of Astor Piazzolla

“This is a wonderful opportunity to build the future of Four Winds as a unique, flagship Australian arts organisation,” he said. “I am excited about the prospect of a diverse programme that is truly international in its outlook but rooted in such an exceptional place. The community is such an important part of Four Winds, and creating projects and musical experiences with and for the local community is as exciting as our potential to reach audiences nationally and internationally through our programme.”

Crabb follows on from clarinetist Paul Dean, whose 2016 Festival celebrated Four Winds’ 25th anniversary. “James’ appointment as the Artistic Leader in this era of expansion for Four Winds will build on our reputation for high quality artistic events and deliver a diversity of art forms and musical experiences,” the festival said in a statement. “Four Winds is delighted that James offers a depth and breadth of acclaimed musical leadership with proven ability to energise and inspire.”

“Music-making at any level must be a two-way natural, enjoyable, memorable and enriching experience for the performer and listener regardless of age, knowledge, ability or experience,” said Crabb. “I aspire to excellence but this is not to be confused with elitism – music is for everyone!”