As I write this little post-script on our 2017 Revolution festival, the Simón Bolívar String Quartet is flying across the Pacific back to Caracas, neither the safest or the happiest place on the planet at the moment, but a city they call home. The Quartet’s first ever appearance down under did leave us with happy memories of joyous, life-affirming musicality, something that could only stem from the hotbed that is Latin America. All the other places around the globe represented in this last festival seemed to have moved on from their revolutionary past: Beijing (China Orient Orchestra), Paris (Van Kuijk Quartet), Singapore (Ding Yi Music Company), Tel Aviv (Orit Orbach), Brisbane (Robert Davidson, William Barton, Topology - just kidding!).
But our Australian performers stood centre stage: the pianists Lisa Moore, Sonya Lifschitz, Canberra’s very own David Pereira, the always surprising and enterprising Ensemble Offspring, the newly formed Bach Akademie Australia, the many wonderful singers including the Song Company (a voice of experience), Luminescence Chamber Singers (a fledgling new voice on the scene), Jeremy Kleeman, Shu-Cheen Yu, Louise Page and more. According to Vincent Plush in The Australian, “The unbridled and unscripted hilarity between pianists Elena Kats-Chernin and Tamara-Anna Cislowska (…) could earn them a place in comedy and cabaret festivals”. We enjoyed the warm generous buzz that was palpable throughout the entire Festival - from the first notes in the Opening Gala to the majestic closing chords of Mussorgsky’s Great Gate of Kiev. There were many moments that moved us greatly (Rachmaninoff’s Liturgy and William Barton’s supreme incantation at the end of Dreaming Across the Horizon spring to mind) while some of the more creative strokes (Stalin’s Piano and Double Happiness stand out) have already instigated new ventures far beyond this festival.
Looking forward to the 24th Canberra International Music Festival next year, we can only express our sincerest thanks to all the artists, volunteers, supporters, sponsors and patrons who contributed in more ways than you can possibly imagine. Imagination and resourcefulness indeed form the hallmark of this festival. Help us spread the word!
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