Vengerov, Lewis, Isserlis, Maisky and a host of great ensembles head Musica Viva’s 70th Season.

Next year will be Musica Viva’s 70th year as Australia’s official purveyor of chamber music, so you would expect a pretty special program. And you’d be right. 

As the organisation’s artistic director Carl Vine said in a press-release today: “We will honour this landmark year in Musica Viva’s history in a number of ways, the first being to bring back our most admired and loved performers of recent times.”

The biggest coup of the anniversary program is Russian superstar violinist Maxim Vengerov, who will be giving a rare recital tour in December – his first in Australia. The tour will also mark Vengerov’s return to the international stage after a few years of sabbatical.


Maxim Venegerov

And, not to be outdone, much-loved British cellist Steven Isserlis will tour his own recital series in June, with a focus on French composers Saint-Saëns, Fauré and Franck.

Another of Britain’s most successful musical exports, pianist Paul Lewis, will undertake a full national tour. On the program: Brahms’ Ballades and Intermezzi and – of course – some Beethoven sonatas.


Paul Lewis

And English vocal ensemble I Fagiolini will make their Musica Viva debut in July, with a program of Renaissance works and a new work by Australian composer Andrew Schultz, commissioned especially for the tour.

Tafelmusik, will be returning with a sequel to their award-winning multimedia show The Galileo Project. The new project, entitled House of Dreams, is “a kaleidoscopic journey through the art, architecture and music of Europe brought to life as musicians and narrator inhabit the stage and encircle the artworks themselves in a single musical flow,” said Vine.

Musica Viva habitués will also welcome the return of two top-class European chamber ensembles. The Modigliani Quartet, who last toured with Sabine Meyer in 2011, have concocted a diverse program of everything from Haydn to Nigel Westlake for their October tour. And in November, the Eggner Trio will focus on the work of Robert and Clara Schumann, as well as paying homage to legendary Melbourne composer Dulcie Holland.


Modigliani Quartet

The biennial Musica Viva Festival is also slated for 2015, with the big drawcard being cellist Mischa Maisky. Also on the bill for the Festival are Serbian pianist Aleksandar Madžar, Armenian clarinettist Narek Arutyunian, the Doric String Quartet from the UK and the Pavel Haas Quartet from the Czech Republic.

The Huntington Festival, MVA’s yearly feast of music, food and wine, should also be one to remember, as it also marks the 20th anniversary of Australia’s Goldner Quartet. A new string quartet has been commissioned from Paul Stanhope, his third, to celebrate the event.

In short, much to celebrate in 2015 for lovers of chamber music.

For full details of the program, go to www.musicaviva.com.au