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Barbara Blackman’s Festival Blessing

  • Fairfax Theatre - NGA Parkes Place East Parkes, ACT, 2600 Australia (map)

Presented in association with the National Gallery of Australia

Concert 22 - Music and Symposium

In late 1916, Erik Satie received a request from the Princess Edmond de Polignac to write a melodrama around classical Greek texts. He disliked the idea of melodrama and decided on a ‘symphonic drama’ based on episodes of Socrates’ life, and complying with the Princess’s request to use only the female voice. The result is one of the most serenely idiosyncratic works by one of the most idiosyncratic composers ever. Kate Howden embodies the four male characters of a work that draws upon Plato’s Symposium, Phaedrus and Phaedo.

Komitas Vardapet, known as the ‘Saviour of Armenian music’, spent the final years of his life in psychiatric institutions around Paris. The Armenian genocide in 1915 and his own arrest and deportation under the Ottoman regime resulted in total mental breakdown. His music draws on the ancient traditions of Armenia and is gaining gradual recognition around the world.

 Komitas (Soghomon Soghomonian)

Komitas (Soghomon Soghomonian)


Erik Satie (1866-1925):
          Socrates and Gnossiennes
Komitas Vardapet (1869-1935):
          Six Dances

Followed by Composer-in-Residence Mary Finsterer in conversation with Andrew Ford. Regrettably, Barbara Blackman is not able to participate due to her recent hospitalisation. We wish her well and a speedy recovery.


Kate Howden, mezzo soprano
Keiko Shichijo, piano

ADULT $59, CONC. $54, U30 $30, U18 $25, STUDENT RUSH $25

This concert generously supported by an anonymous donor.

Earlier Event: May 6
Peter and the Wolf
Later Event: May 6
Festival Finale: Serenade