Easter Saturday and Sunday at the Four Winds 2019 Sound Shell Program Announced
We are at such an exciting stage of our preparations for the Easter Festival and I’m delighted to share the program for the Saturday and Sunday Sound Shell events with you.
Following the 2018 Easter Festival you, the audience, told us that what you loved about the Festival was the opportunity to discover: to discover beautiful music which was new to you, to discover new artists, and to discover new talent, all in the informal setting of the Festival. It was also really clear to me that you love to see familiar artists in new collaborations.
We’ve really listened to you and I am delighted that this Festival builds on all those themes. There is a lot here – so please settle in and read on!
What I am really confident about is that the program comprises music, which is truly beautiful and inspiring, even though the works or composers may not be household names. Who can possibly forget the relatively unknown Peteris Vasks and Osvaldo Golijov performances from the last festival, which were clear highlights.
Come and discover this amazing program of music with us…
On Easter Saturday the Sound Shell program will commence with a special ‘Welcome to Country’ which will feature a local song ‘Mother Mountain’ which was commissioned by Four Winds from Indigenous Opera Singer Deborah Cheetham, who created the song with local Indigenous Children.
Following the Welcome to Country we will enjoy a set of two works by Australian composer Ross Edwards ‘Water Spirit Song’ and ‘ Tyalgum Mantras’, which evoke music from other traditions, and the importance of being ‘present’ in today’s frenetic world. The setting of the Sound Shell provides the perfect backdrop for these works and for us all to be transported from our everyday lives into a musical world evoking other cultures and contemplation. These works will feature Riley Lee – a masterful Shakuhachi (Bamboo Flute) player who is a great friend of Four Winds – and will introduce our visiting musicians from the Australian National Academy of Music who will be a core feature of the Festival Sound Shell program.
More geographical references flow through the program on Saturday morning which includes our featured composer, Elena Kats-Chernin’s work ‘38th Parallel’ which makes literal and musical references to the border between North and South Korea. It features Christina Leonard – one of Australia’s finest Saxophone players who plays ‘an impossibly high, sustained note which appears like the sun to offer hope’….
Two short works by ANAM alumni trumpeter and composer Josh Rogan will provide interludes during the main sets of music.
We are welcoming the Arcadia Wind Quintet to the Festival who, along with musicians from ANAM will be performing an amazing piece called ‘Tetris’ by Lior Novak. For those of you who were at the 2018 Festival, this Israeli composer is a great friend of Ariel Zuckermann who was our featured flautist from Israel. Inspired by the frenetic energy of New York this work for double wind quintet reflects on our modern ‘breathless’ pace of life. What better way to reflect on how fortunate we are that the Four Winds Festival affords us time to breathe?
If you want to dive into the world of a professional musician don’t miss the masterclass in the Windsong Pavilion on Saturday lunchtime during which our international guest, Viennese pianist Stefan Vladar, will be working with pianists and sharing insights into how he approaches learning work and preparing for performances.
Saturday afternoon explores a theme of meeting places. ‘River Meeting Suite’ is not only inspired by the extraordinary life forces that exist at the meeting of rivers, but is a literal meeting of musical genres and traditions. It encompasses Indian music and singing (Sarangan Siranganathan), Tabla (Bobby Singh) and the improvisation common in jazz with the Compass Saxophone Quartet. Rather like the Festival itself, which allows audiences to go on a journey of discovery, this work discovers a space where barriers between classical, world and improvised music are broken down with truly magical results.
Saturday climaxes with a real treat. Our guest pianist, Stefan Vladar will collaborate with the Australian String Quartet in a performance of Brahm’s ‘Piano Quintet in F minor’. This substantial work will immerse you in the musical brilliance of Brahm’s music – referred to as ‘the crown of his chamber work’ – as well as the technical brilliance of these world class musicians. This collaboration is unique to the Festival. You genuinely will not hear this anywhere else so if you are looking for another reason to attend, this is probably it!
On Sunday I’ve created a triple-bill performance called ‘Beethoven in the Bush’.
You may have already read about this event, in which an array of international artists will be presenting a program of jazz and world-music inspired compositions which culminates in full orchestral performances of two works by Ludwig Van Beethoven; Coriolan Overature – which depicts Coriolanius’ dilemma between war and tenderness, followed by Beethoven’s equally dramatic work for piano and orchestra; Piano Concerto No.3.
But it’s not all big orchestral pieces during this ‘triple-bill’. This Easter-Sunday afternoon performance begins with a beautiful and evocative set of pieces for Bamboo Flute (Shakuhachi) and String Quartet performed by the masterful Riley Lee and the Enigma String Quartet. ‘Elements’ will transport listeners to a gentle sound-world inspired by the elements, the perfect piece to relax to and experience outdoors. The concert moves to jazz and world music performed by the award-winning vocal group Coco’s Lunch. This all-female ensemble never fails to enthrall audiences through their infectious energy and charisma. They sing music influenced by traditions from around the globe, generally without instruments, although rhythms and musical grooves from different traditions are often added with an array of exotic percussive instruments played by the singers themselves.
This concert embodies what Four Winds is about. Internationally renowned artists coming together in unique collaborations to perform great music inspired by nature and which places western classical music in the context of other traditions and genres. ‘Beethoven in the Bush’ is a great way for everyone to discover fabulous music in an exceptional setting and to experience the thrill of a full orchestra performing in nature.
The two Easter Festival Sound Shell days are surrounded by a wonderful array of concerts so please be sure to check out our website so that you can discover everything that is on offer at Easter 2019.
I’m looking forward to welcoming you!
Early bird tickets are available until Monday 31 December 2018.
Image credits: Raine Brown Photography, Ben Marden, Chris Sheedy