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Birds welcome in the musicians to the Four Winds Festival

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After a cool and misty start for the Welcome to Country smoking ceremony it didn’t take long for the Four Winds Festival to catapult the audience headlong into the Four Winds Rap, performed by Warren Foster Jnr. The rap (Look, Listen, Nylarga, hear the sound of the voice, hear the sound of the birds) was developed with Radical Son’s David Leha working with the Yuin people. By 9.45 we had visited three continents as exquisite music on the flute and the Chinese Erhu emerged mysteriously from the bushes, and then we moved onto to a piece perfectly suited to outdoor playing – Dvorak’s Wind Serenade. With it came the sun.

The 25th anniversary was celebrated with readings from the late Neilma Gantner’s beautifully observed accounts of moving to Barragga Bay some thirty-five years ago, accompanied by a Sculthorpe String Quartet and a moving tribute to Neilma by her sister Marigold Southey who read John Masefield’s Sea Fever.


Festival goers soaked up the atmosphere, and the strong sense of community, Bermagui is a small town that does big things. The site delivered as always, with a flock of larrikeets flying over in the middle of the Ravel String Quartet, giving a few audience members a moment to reflect that the Navarra Quartet had come all the way from the UK to play in the middle of the bush accompanied by the wildlife.

The galahs had better timing as a flock squeaked by in the silence between movements in the Wind Serenade, while a black cockatoo tried to compete with the brass. But it all added to the sense of Four Winds being a special place to play music.

Artistic director and clarinet player Paul Dean had asked James Ledger to explain the piece he has composed to be world premiered tomorrow, using a small orchestra to demonstrate what he had written and why. The music, called the Natural Church is about night and the bush and the image in his mind is the arch made by trees as he drove along a country road at night. Paul Dean has committed to playing 25% Australian music in this festival, and true to his word intriguing works by Paul Stanhope and Peter Sculthorpe were played today.


Taikoz made a welcome return, the athletic drummers beating out an incredible rhythm on the giant Japanese drums, the smallest drummer, a woman, having to stand on a platform to reach her drum, but she beat no less loud because of it.

The last extraordinary piece by HK Gruber, Frankenstein, is demonic and ghoulish and fun, and deciding to perform it probably reflects the artistic director’s strong sense of humour. Brilliantly sung and presented by the multi-voiced Jason Barry Smith, baritone and master of everything, it was accompanied by Paul Dean and a group of musicians who as well as their own instruments, all played toy instruments, whirled hosepipes above their heads and made weird noises to the accompaniment of the percussionist popping paper bags.

There is another wonderful day ahead tomorrow, and tickets are available at the gate and online. Don’t miss it!

To see a full gallery of images from today’s Sound Shell Easter Saturday Program  CLICK HERE


Youth Workshops & Free Child Minding

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Children 16 and under are admitted free at Sound Shell events when accompanied by a paying adult.

The Festival provides complimentary, qualified on-site child-carers for young children and programs for older children. It is essential to book online in advance.



26/3/2016 | 10:45AM – 12:45PM | WINDSONG PAVILION

Suitable for ages 12 to 16 | Presented by Michael Hanlon | Tickets $25

pro-toolsIn this workshop we will create a musical work using looping technology and a combination of instruments and styles. Along the way you will be introduced to recording software and equipment with a focus on using “technology as an instrument”. Be prepared to experiment and collaborate. Don’t forget to bring along your instrument (which could be your voice) and also a usb stick to take the work home.

The Festival provides complimentary, qualified on-site child-carers for young children and programs for older children. It is essential to book online in advance.



27/3/2016 | 11AM – 12:30PM | WINDSONG PAVILION

Suitable for ages 12 to 16 | Presented by Taikoz | Tickets $25

kids smlTom Royce-Hampton, percussionist and member of Taikoz, will lead a session of rhythm and movement. Tom’s sessions are lots of fun as well as very challenging and creative. Instruments will not be used in the course of the workshop, so anyone can join in. And those who are learning an instrument, voice or dance will learn new skills that they can apply to their own music making.


The Festival provides complimentary, qualified on-site child-carers for young children and programs for older children. It is essential to book online in advance. | P 02 6493 3414

Why every child should make music

A little girl, barely four years old, sings her heart out. Baby sleep, sleep, baby, sleep, sleep, baby baby sleep she croons. Her grandpa accompanies her on the piano, looks up when she pauses, she shakes her head and goes on – sleep, baby…..she could sing all day. And then she bows.

Ok you say, well her grandfather is Richard Gill OAM, renowned conductor and Australia’s foremost music educator. Of course she sings, and loves to perform.

So do all kids, says Richard. Just give them a chance. He was speaking in Bermagui, NSW after giving a workshop for music teachers as part of an ongoing program run by Four Winds, a Festival and performance venue, for encouraging music education in the region.

He says around the age of two or three children start enjoying making patterns with words and creating songs. “They invent songs and music. This creativity comes naturally but it’s the first thing we knock out of them at school.”

Listening has a potent effect on all learning. Children who sing have an advantage in all areas of learning. It’s the bonus of being taught music. Richard Gill says music is fundamental to human beings. “Our ancestors sang for 250,000 years before they learnt to speak. Music is in our DNA,” he says.

When babies are still in the womb they learn to listen at around 18 weeks. Just before they are born they can distinguish between highs and lows. Hearing is a survival skill, and as so many mums know instinctively, singing, rocking, and humming to a new baby develops their listening skills, and children who aren’t cared for in this way are at a distinct disadvantage, Richard says.

Kids learn first by rhyming, making patterns. For example they sing:

Humpty dadadadada WALL,

Humpty dadadadada FALL.

Young children love to repeat this, they enjoy the rhythm of Humpty Dumpty Sat on a Wall. They eventually learn the words but the rhythm comes first. Through music they learn about pattern recognition, and they also learn about the abstract world, because music IS abstract believes Richard. “It makes it special. It singles it out from dance, drama and art which are largely concrete. Music can suggest all sorts of things in the mind of a child. It allows children to go into an abstract world, and that is powerful.”

Richard demonstrates this with an audience member. “Tell me what you hear when you listen to this. He plays a brief tune on the piano. The man in the front row says “ water”. “No” says Richard. “It wasn’t anything. But if you think it’s water that’s fine.”

He tries again. “Something moving fast”, says the man. Gill roars NO again.(And he does roar when he is passionate about something)

“How music speaks to you, it’s more important than anything. With children we have to lead them down a path to listen. What is the potential? We have to be incredibly careful we don’t impose our values on them. We don’t want to tell them its water when they see clouds.”

“We want children to make their own music. Teach them to sing, every child can sing. Music can give them extraordinary joy and happiness.“ Which is why as part of the Four Winds Festival at Easter there will be music workshops with drums and electronic looping technology for teens and some of Australia’s finest young musicians will drop into the free childcare for younger kids. So the small people and the large people can all have a wonderful time listening to music in a beautiful environment.

Marilyn Chalkley

Richard Gill showing little girl the joy of music_image

Richard Gill sharing his joy of music.

Close to Home | Three Beautiful House Concerts

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New to the Four Winds Easter Festival, three very intimate recitals in three beautiful private homes. Key festival artists will share their stories and their music with an intimate small audience at each event, creating a unique opportunity to get up close and personal with the process of outstanding music making.

Tickets are still available for two of the three ‘Close to Home’ House Concerts including:

Tilba Home | 3-4pm Tuesday 22 March 2016

sculthorpe wind quintetThe Sculthorpe Wind Quintet will be playing in a beautiful homestead at historic Tilba. The quintet of Paul Dean, Four Winds Artistic Director, on clarinet, Emma Scholl, flute, Shefali Pryor, oboe, Lyndon Watts, bassoon, and Ben Jacks on horn will delight your musical senses performing works by Ibert, Ligeti and Klughardt. All the members are eminent musicians in their own right, having played with some of the best orchestras and ensembles in the world as well as having successful solo careers. The musical experience will be enhanced by beautiful locally-produced food and wine. Adults $155.

Click here to book your ‘Close to Home’ House Concert tickets

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Barragga Bay Home | 3-4pm Wednesday 23 March 2016

This house concert will be held just across the road from the Four Winds Festival site at Barragga Bay in a beautiful local home. Jack Liebeck on violin, Zubin Kanga, piano, and Nicholas Ng playing the erhu (Chinese two-string fiddle). Don’t miss what will be a one-off performance of the three exceptional musicians while they are all in Australia together.

Adults $155.

House Concert 2 artists image

Click here to book your ‘Close to Home’ House Concert  tickets

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Investigate the full Festival program and find out more about ticketing packages at, call 02 6493 3414, or drop in and visit the Four Winds office at the Bermagui Community Centre, Monday to Friday, 9.30am – 4.30pm.

Two Grand Pianos

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At this year’s Four Winds Festival there will be two very hard-working Mason and Hamlin grand pianos, one in the Sound Shell and another in the Windsong Pavilion. Two wonderful, bold and expressive pianists, Zubin Kanga and Alex Raineri, will play a diverse repertoire ranging from Gershwin and Gruber to Schumann and Shostakovitch.

Zubin Kanga, pianist

Zubin in socksZubin Kanga is an Australian-born, London-based piano virtuoso who, as well as having impeccable technique, has a driving interest in exploring the full-range of sounds and tones that can be extracted from a piano. Your first chance to hear him in performance will be playing with Ensemble Offspring in Philip Glass’s Music with Changing Parts at the free concert on Friday evening between 6 and 7pm at the Sound Shell. Later that evening, he will be playing in the first Windsong Chamber Music concert of the festival – Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time – with Jack Liebeck on violin, Li-Wei Qin, cello, and Paul Dean on clarinet. On Saturday he will play Schumann’s Piano Quartet in E-flat Major, with Liebeck and Li-Wei Qin again and Simone van der Geissen from the Navarra Quartet playing viola. And on Sunday, showing his immense versatility, he will be playing Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue.
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Alex Raineri, pianist
AlexRaineriAlex Raineri is a prize-winning, young Australian pianist who studied at the Queensland Conservatorium of Music and was the winner of a University Medal. He is the pianist and co-director of a contemporary music ensemble, Kupka’s Piano, and is now studying at ANAM, where he won their Concerto Competition. His first appearance in this year’s festival will be accompanying the tenor, Andrew Goodwin, in a performance of George Butterworth’s Six Songs from a Shropshire Lad. He will also be heard in Stanhope’s Pulse – Heart – Beat and helps to wind up the day with Gruber’s Frankenstein!!
The following day he can be heard playing the second movement, Celebration, from Matthew Hindson’s cello concerto, In Memoriam, a piece that opens the day’s program.
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Mason and Hamlim
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The pianos at this year’s festival are two Mason & Hamlin concert grands. Mason & Hamlin is an American manufacturer of pianos that began making world-class pianos in Boston, Massachusetts in 1854. Over the years, these pianos have been played and owned by many well-known musicians and composers including our own Dame Nellie Melba. Mason & Hamlin pianos are noted for their expressive tone and dynamic range and for their ability to be both beautiful instruments as well as being uniquely rugged in their construction and materials. This makes it an excellent choice for a piano to use at an open-air music festival, where it is required to handle fluctuating heat and humidity without compromising the quality of the sound.
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 Investigate the full Festival program and find out more about ticketing packages at, call 02 6493 3414, or drop in and visit the Four Winds office at the Bermagui Community Centre, Monday to Friday, 9.30am – 4.30pm.

Top Five Festival Tips

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Top Five Four Winds Easter Festival Tips

1. Pre-purchase your tickets:
Remaining tickets will be available at the gate at the various Four Winds Festival events throughout the Easter week at Bermagui, however, some events have already sold out so best to pre-purchase. Tickets can then be exchanged for your Festival wristbands during the week of the Festival at various locations including from Thursday 24 March at the Four Winds office at the comunity centre in Bermagui and at the Easter Fricay night FREE opening night concert at the Four Winds site. Remember to book your car park pass and register your young ones for the Kids Tent or Youth Workshops before you arrive at the Festival as well as any other add-ons that take your fancy
2. Local Food & Drink:
basketThere will be a fabulous selection of local food available at the Four Winds Festival site across the Easter Saturday and Sunday weekend starting at 7.30 am, with muesli and light breakfast options available from the Brunch Buggy, Ragino coffee all day and an array of local delicacies ranging from local Wapengo oysters, Japanese dumplings, Honorbread baguettes and Cobargo Home Made Ice Cream. There will be a bar serving beers, as well as wines from Rusty Fig. And, of course, you are welcome to bring your own picnic, with food and alcohol, to relax on the grass in the sunshine. Salut!
3. Free Bus:
cuttagee bridge
Four Winds is running a free bus to get the the Festival from Narooma, Bega, Merimbula and Bermagui. Last year’s experiment with running a free bus service out to the Barragga Bay site was a real success so this year there will be more buses and more routes. Buses will be coming to the Sound Shell from as far afield as Merimbula, Bega and Narooma, picking up at towns and villages along the way. Full details of the routes and timetable are on the website at Register for the bus or purchase your car park pass when you buy your tickets.
There will also be a free bus service running to the FREE Friday evening opening concert leaving from the Dickinson Oval (on the market side). Arrive at the bus stop at 4.30 to leave by 4.45pm. The adventure starts on the bus!
4. Kids go for FREE:
kids smlThere is free entry to the Festival site for anyone aged sixteen and under as long as they are with a paying adult. Qualified child-minders will provide free supervision for children between 2 and 7 years old at the Kids Tent where they will enjoy their very own musical experiences.
Older kids can attend free music-making workshops in the Windsong Pavilion – on Saturday Michael Hanlon will focus on ‘technology as an instrument’; and on Sunday Tom Royce-Hamilton from Taikoz will lead a workshop in Rhythm and Movement.
5. Low-Level Seats:
Please feel free to bring rugs, cushions and picnic chairs with you. We ask that only low-backed chairs are used in the middle of the amphitheatre to enable everyone to have a clear view of the stage. If you have a high back chair you’ll be asked to sit to the side of the amphitheatre. The good news is that Low-backed chairs will be available for purchase at the site. As an aside – we are really proud of our audience custom of not moving about during the performances to ensure everyones enjoyment of the music and out of respect for the musicians.
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Investigate the full Festival program and find out more about ticketing packages at, call 02 6493 3414, or drop in and visit the Four Winds office at the Bermagui Community Centre, Monday to Friday, 9.30am – 4.30pm.

A Festival of Unexpected Percussion at Four Winds

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Raw energy will ignite the senses and lift the spirit of Festival goers and the Bermagui Community throughout the Four Winds 2016 Easter Festival with a number of dynamic drumming and percussion performances included in the program….expect the unexpected.
The FREE Opening Night Concert
Easter Friday 25 March 2016, 6-7pm in the Four Winds Sound Shell:
Ensemble Offspring percussion  Philip Glass 1
Music with Changing Parts by Philip Glass will be performed by percussion ensemble Ensemble Offspring in collaboration with fLIng Physical Theatre. Clare Edwardes, Artistic Director of Ensemble Offspring, will lead three keyboard players, a trumpet, two clarinets, an oboe, a flute and two wordless voices interweaving different patterns of harmony, rhythm and tone. Don’t miss this magical evening which will prove to be a deeply satisfying introduction to a weekend of diverse and exciting music.
Taikoz Trio
Easter Saturday 26 March 2016Four Winds, Sound Shell
Bermagui Headland on Easter Friday morning & pop-up performances in the region during the Festival week
taiko at sunrise
Visually dramatic and renowned for their explosive and disciplined energy, Taikoz brings an unrivalled impact to the Festival. There will also be pop-up performances around Bermagui with David Hewitt, an inspirational local composer and percussionist, leading our local Stonewave Taiko.
Gruber’s Frankenstein!!
Easter Saturday 26 March 2016Four Winds, Sound Shell.
Saturday’s Sound Shell program closes with Frankenstein!! performed on a stage littered with children’s toys and percussion. It is exuberant, witty and subversive, light-hearted but not at all trivial and was described by its composer as a ‘pan-demonium’.
Young People – make some noise!
Youth Workshops | ‘Rhythm & Movement’, ‘Instrument Technology’
Easter Saturday 26 March and Easter Sunday 27 March 2016 Four Winds, Windsong Pavilion. 
kids sml
On Saturday, Michael Hanlon will lead a workshop focussing on using ‘Technology as an Instrument’; Sunday’s workshop, ‘Rhythm and Movement’, will be led by Tom Royce-Hampton from Taikoz Trio.
FREE Child-MindingEaster Saturday 26 March and Easter Sunday 27 March 2016Four Winds, Sound Shell. For children between 2 and 7 years old there will be free child-minding at the Kids’ Tent where they can be involved in a range of creative and musical activities. Over the weekend various Festival artists will drop in to entertain the kids with wonderful musical experiences.
Investigate the Festival Program, book your bus service from Narooma to Merimbula or your carpark pass, read artists’ biographies, find out about child-minding over the weekend, book the youth workshop program and book your ticket packages online at or call (02) 6493 3414 or drop into the FourWinds office at the Bermagui Community Centre which is open Monday to Friday between 9.30am and 4.30pm.

It’s our twenty-fifth birthday!

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Easter 2016 is the 18th Four Winds Festival and marks our twenty-fifth birthday!

Join us for a celebration like no other

Since 1991, Four Winds Festival has presented musicians, composers and conductors from across the nation and the world to audiences from the region and, increasingly, from far afield. Over three hundred musicians, composers, conductors and theater directors and more than fifty ensembles and choirs have performed at the festivals and many have worked with emerging artists and school children in our region. We’ve also had the commitment of twelve dedicated music commissioners, who have supported the creation and presentation of twenty-five new works and premieres.

It’s you – our audience, artists, composers and community – who inspire us to continue contributing to the increasing interest and delight in Australian music.

Celebrate with us over Easter Saturday and Sunday in the exquisite Four Winds Sound Shell outdoor amphitheater. 

Two-Day Sound Shell tickets are still available at These can be purchased by calling (02) 6493 3414 or you can drop in to the Four Winds office at the Bermagui Community Centre which is open Monday to Friday between 9.30am and 4.30pm. You can also investigate the week’s program of events, read artists’ biographies, find out about arrangements for child-minding over the weekend, discover what youth workshops are scheduled and book your ticket packages via our website.

Blowing in the Winds

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Four Winds is living up to its name this year. Artistic Director, Paul Dean, renowned Australian clarinettist, has invited many heavy hitters from Australia’s woodwind community to appear at this years Four Winds 2016 Easter Festival.

Sculthorpe Wind Quintet

Following the Welcome to Country, the first piece to be performed on the Sound Shell stage on Easter Saturday will be Dvořák’s Wind Serenade played by nine of Australia’s finest woodwind players and will be an uplifting and joyful start to the Festival Easter weekend program: Artists featured will be Shefali Pryor, oboe, David Reichelt, oboe, Paul Dean, clarinet, Lloyd Van’t Hoff, clarinet, Matthew Wilkie, bassoon, Jenna Schijf, bassoon, Ben Jacks, French horn, and Rachel Silver, French horn. Then throughout the weekend they will be joined by: Rachel Shaw, French horn, Kiran Phatak, flute, Matthew Kneale, bassoon, Emma Sholl, flute, and Lyndon Watts, bassoon.

However, we don’t want you to think that the Four Winds 2016 Easter Festival is just about the wind players! These wonderful musicians will be joined by over 45 other instrumentalists and singers who together will present a captivating program in the Sound Shell, Four Winds’ outdoor natural amphitheatre on Easter Saturday and Sunday. The setting, fabulous food from local suppliers, and a community of people from all across Australia will make your Four Winds 2016 Easter Festival unforgettable.

If you have not yet booked, please mark your calendars and secure your tickets for another stunning Four Winds Festival this Easter.

Investigate the program, read artists biographies, find out about the youth and children’s workshops and book your tickets online by going to (02) 6493 3414 or drop in to the Four Winds office at the Bermagui Community Centre.


An experience like no other

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Unique events, only at Four Winds – our top three for the Four Winds 2016 Easter Festival:

UK violin virtuoso Jack Liebeck’s only concerto performance in Australia this year – performing Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto. Sound Shell: Sunday 27th March 2016.

International collaborative performance in a stunning local private home: Jack Liebeck (Violin) and Zubin Kanga (Piano) form a unique trio with Nicholas Ng (Erhu – traditional Chinese instrument): Wednesday 23rd March 2016.


                               Nicholas Ng 

World premiere performance of Australian composer James Ledger’s new work – our Festival Commission premieres at the Sound Shell on Sunday 27th March 2016.

Can’t resist one more because it is going to be truly memorable….

Welcome to Country: This year’s musical Welcome to Country, Koora Koorai, will be a moving collaboration between David Leha, Radical Son, Warren Foster and the Gulaga Dancers. Warren has written an original song for this year’s festival and it will be an urgent message for connection between each other, with our hearts and with the planet. Sound Shell: Saturday 26th March 2016.

                                               Radical Son, Warren Foster Snr and the Guluga Dancers

You will not experience these performances anywhere else in 2016. Coupled with our exceptional Festival site and fabulous food from local suppliers your Festival experience will be unrivalled. So if you’ve not yet booked please join us for the Four Winds 2016 Easter Festival.

Accommodation in beautiful Bermagui and surrounds is still available.

The program is available and tickets for both days can be purchased by going to or call (02) 6493 3414.

Message from Paul Dean, Artistic Director

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Paul Dean_image 3
Dear Four Winds Friends
I wonder if, like me, you are now looking forward to Easter 2016 and
all that the next holiday season might bring. Well I have something better
than chocolate to share with you – and it is good for your health.
Four Winds 2016 Easter Festival is offering two full days of nourishing live
music performances and healthy food from local suppliers.  Feed your soul
and be inspired by the smooth and velvety music of Mendelssohn, Dvorak
and Gershwin mixed deliciously with the dark notes of Gruber’s Frankenstein.
You will experience the stunning outdoor surroundings of Nature’s Concert
Hall and enjoy a diet of musical virtuosity, where Australia’s best meet fine
international artists such as the Europe- based Navarra String Quartet, the
dynamic young British violinst, Jack Liebeck, award winning cellist, Li-Wei Qin,
and Australia’s own Sculthorpe Wind Quintet.
Bring your family and friends and share in a truly unique experience.
The only thing that you might want to add to complete your Easter experience
is some delicious Easter chocolate…!
I look forward to welcoming you.
Paul Dean
Artistic Director
Four Winds 2016 Easter Festival

Happy New Year

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With 80 artists, 21 events and 33 performances the Four Winds 2016 Easter Festival will bring six days of exquisite music to this beautiful part of the world. There is something for everyone and the festival experience is set to be a memorable one for music enthusiasts of all ages.

We’ve had quite a few enquiries about what food will be available throughout the Festival weekend at the Four Winds site. Whilst you are most welcome to bring your own picnic there will be a healthy collection of local food vendors on hand to ensure everyone can sample some of the best local produce including a ‘Brunch Buggy’ muesli breakfast stand, Wapengo Oysters, Honorbread baguettes, Japanese dumplings and delicacies, Cobargo Home-Made Ice Cream, Ragino Coffee, local wines from our wine sponsor, Rusty Fig, will feature at the bar and, of course, there will be tastings of Four Winds Marmalade.

For all details of the full program, ticket packages, child-minding, the youth workshop program and the free bus service that will service the Festival site and will run from Narooma to Merimbula go to, call 02 6493 3414 or drop in and visit the office at the Bermagui Community Centre.

Photo ©Hugues Villemain –

Four Winds | Artists in Residence: The String Contingent

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Four winds proudly presents ‘Artists in Residence: The String Contingent’.

A whole week of musical creativity and improvisation to generate potential new pieces for their album and their upcoming tour.

The String Contingent  will pull back the curtains on the process of creativity by sharing their daily input on this blog.

On top of that, The String Contingent  will experiment with creating music by improvising rather than showing just the finished, perfectly rehearsed piece. It’s an experiment to focus on their ‘weak points’ as musicians; to confront themselves with not having total control over the creation but letting themselves drift into a new way of creating music.

We invite you to be part of this journey. To get directly involved by giving us and them your honest feedback.
Your comments, feedback, questions and suggestions will all affect and influence the process of their rehearsals and thinking.

After the tour, The String Contingent  will return to the Windsong Pavilion in April to record their new album.

The residency will be captured by Rafael and Sophia who will film, photograph and blog.

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Retrospect / Au revoir!

A week full of emotions, practice, and an inspiring musical progress in improvisation has come to an end.

From slight fear to overexcitement, from frustration and holding back to breathing in and letting go. From discomfort and insecurity to curiosity. Towards finding a way that feels comfortable for everyone.
Less tension. More comfort. More ease.
All accompanied with dedication, enthusiasm and of course a big bunch of talent.
All leading to a productive ambience of flow and joy.

I wish they could have stayed for another week from this point – to benefit from this newly gained flow and confidence, and especially the ease that settled in their minds and hands while jamming.

It was incredibly interesting to be able to observe this progress and get such a deep insight.

I am very curious to see what the next months will bring while they keep improvising and evolving their ideas on their tour. New experiences at each gig. Breaking out of old habits into this exciting excursion of this diverse new ways of playing and thinking. Live in concert – in front of an audience!

They will be back in April at Four Winds to record their new improvisation based album, with the pieces they developed and refined during their upcoming tour.

Stay tuned on this blog! More pieces and Soundcloud files of The String Contingent will follow!

Au revoir!

Yours sincerely,

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In the nude

No magic. Toil. Despair. Practice. Confusion. Reality.

The String Contingent  reveals with ‘In the nude’ an extract of how much work goes into creating music.

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Improvisation – live in concert

“In the nude. Without a net. In front of everyone.”
A pretty laconic sum up by Steve who attended the first live improvisation in concert of The String Contingent.

The video gives a beautiful insight into one of the challenges of free jamming: Communication.
Lean back, have a look and in best case let us know what you feel and think!

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Improvisation 1 / Day 2

As an “outsider” observing the whole process, you realize quickly how delicate it must be for a band to give up their routine and habits by focusing on improvising.

There are a lot of emotions involved and it requires a lot of courage and discipline. One needs to stay alert all the time to be able to adapt changes and interact harmoniously. It’s definitely a great way to get a better understanding of harmonies, melodies, rhythms but also emotions involved and personal limits.

It is fascinating to see how much personality gets unveiled and how important it is to listen to each other. To keep the balance of engagement and release. The String Contingent  managed well to create a base where creativity can flow.

Later in the afternoon, they performed an intimate concert where they seized the opportunity to play a freely improvised piece in front of an audience for the first time.

Please find below an excerpt of the first improvisation that resulted of the residency.
For those you are interested in the whole session, indulge yourself with the full extended version via the soundcloud link below!

Four Winds and The String Contingent  highly encourage you to give us your opinion.
Is there anything that attracted your attention in particular? Anything you really enjoyed or would like to be worked on?
We are happy to receive any constructive critiques, comments and any upcoming questions via the comment form below.

Full extended version of the jam:

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The Arrival // Day 1

After more heavy rain fall and even more closed east coast roads, The String Contingent  finally arrived safely at The Windsong Pavilion at Four Winds.

The String Contingent let their passion, talent and ambition pair up with a remarkable endurance to lead into a productive day full of improvising. Warming up in the spotlight of the pavilion with a rewarding view out of the big front window, they didn’t miss a minute to get the most out of the residency.

It’s a real pleasure to be part of this process and to have the opportunity to provide a supportive atmosphere for their creative improvised project.

You, too, could be part of this process! Is there anything particular you would love to see and hear?
Just leave a comment on the bottom of this blog and share your opinion with us.

So long for now. We’ll keep you updated.

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Almost day one

The rain decided to have a bigger impact on their arrival than expected.
A short intro to almost day one:


2015 Gallery of Highlights at Four Winds

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January 2015 | The Four Winds Convivium

February 2015 | Four Winds Four Writers

March 2015 | Archie Roach & Shellie Morris

April 2015 | The Penny Quartet

June 2015 | Taikoz

June 2015 | Vale Neilma Gantner, Four Winds Founder

July 2015 | The Griffyn Ensemble

July 2015 | Genevieve Lacey & Jim Atkins in Residence

July 2015 | Native Species Arboretum Tree Planting begins

August 2015 | Tim Cope, Paul West & Bukhu

September 2015 | Spring Sing

October 2015 | Four Winds Open Day & Launch of Festival 2016 Program

October 2015 | Zephyrs Presents: The Vampires

October 2015 | ANAM Brass Banter

November 2015 | David Hewitt in Residence

November 2015 | A Day with Richard Gill

November 2015 | Lisa Young Workshops

November 2015 | Radical Son & Yuin Artists in Residence

November 2015 | A Tase of Four Winds @ bei amici

December 2015 | Bermagui Primary Wetlands Song Day

December 2015 | Carols in the Pavilion

The Flavour of Four Winds Photo Gallery

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The Bei Amici Restaurant in Darling Point was the venue for a relaxed afternoon which brought together friends of Four Winds in Sydney recently. A special thank you to Michael and Manuela Darling, Four Winds Ambassadors, for making it possible and to Felix Rutz and Leigh Cholakos of Bei Amici for hosting such a beautiful event.

At the event we shared our plans for the Four Winds 2016 Easter Festival and introduced guests to the talented Festival artist, Nicholas Ng.

Photos by ©Hugues Villemain –

Remember! Early bird ticket sales finish on 31st December so if you haven’t yet purchased your Festival tickets this is a great time to secure your place. Go to: or call 02 9493 3414.

2016 Easter Saturday & Sunday at the Sound Shell

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Easter Saturday and Sunday at the Sound Shell is set to be a divine weekend of incredible artists, exceptional music and fine local food in the Four Winds outdoor amphitheatre. Paul Dean, our Artistic Director, has secured a stellar line up of world-renowned artists that will ensure your festival experience is a truly memorable one.

The Saturday and Sunday program at a glance is as follows –

Sound Shell Saturday
Saturday 26 March 2016 | 9:30am – 4:00pm | Sound Shell

 Koora Koorai, Welcome to Country | Featuring Radical Son, Gulaga Dancers and Warren Foster.

Dvořák, Wind Serenade | A chamber composition by the Czech composer Antonin Dvořák, featuring Shefali Pryor, oboe; Paul Dean,clarinet; Lloyd van’t Hoff, clarinet; Matthew Wilkie, bassoon; Matthew Kneale, bassoon; Ben Jacks, French horn; Rachel Shaw, French horn; Trish O’Brien, cello, Rohan Dasika, double bass.

Ravel, String Quartet | Composed by Maurice Ravel in April 1903 at the age of 28, performed by the exceptional Navarra String Quartet who are joining us from the UK.

AlexRaineriLedger, New Work | James Ledger will talk about his new work, commissioned by Four Winds for the 2016 Festival, that will premiere on Sunday.

Schumann, Piano Quartet | Written in 1842, Alex Raineri, piano; Jack Liebeck, violin; Simone Van Der Geisson, viola; Li-Wei Qin, cello.



unnamed Taikoz Trio| Explosive energy and extreme dynamism with refinement and grace, featuring Ian Cleworth, Kevin Mann and Sophia Ang.

Butterworth, A Shropshire Lad  | Alex Raineri, piano; Andrew Goodwin,tenor.

Sculthorpe, 8th String Quartet | Penny String Quartet.

Paul Stanhope, Pulse : Heart : Beat | Kiran Phatak, flute; Paul Dean, clarinet; Lloyd van’t Hoff, clarinet; Amy Brookman, violin; Anthony Chataway, viola; Jack Ward, cello; Alex Raineri, piano.

unnamed (1) HK Gruber, Frankenstein | A pan-demonium for baritone chansonnier and orchestra based on children’s rhymes, this is one of the strangest, most engaging pieces of music and involves a collection of toy instruments. Featuring Jason Barry-Smith, baritone; Emma Scholl, flute; Paul Dean, clarinet; Matthew Kneale, bassoon; Ben Jacks, French horn; David Elton, trumpet; Amy Brookman, violin; Madeleine Jevons, violin; Tom Higham, viola; Trish O’Brien, cello; Rohan Dasika, double bass; Alex Raineri, piano.


Sound Shell Sunday
Sunday 27 March 2016 | 10:00am – 4:00pm | Sound Shell

Li-WeiQin Hindson (arr Power), Cello Concerto, 2nd movement | Soloist: Li-Wei Qin, cello.

Mendelssohn, Violin Concerto in E minor | Soloist: Jack Liebeck,violin.

Britten, Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings | Andrew Goodwin,tenor; Ben Jacks, French horn and the Festival string orchestra including the Navarra String Quartet.

Ledger, World Premiere | Ledger’s 2016 Four Winds commissioned work. JamesLedger

Shostakovich, Piano Concerto No 1 | Soloist: Alex Raineri, piano.


Erhu, a recital celebrating this ancient Chinese instrument | Nicholas Ng, Erhu.

Hindson, Light Music | The Arcadia Wind Quintet.

Hind, The Tower of Silence | Zubin Kanga, solo piano.

Gershwin, Songs (arr by Ledger) | Andrew Goodwin, tenor.

Gershwin, Rhapsody in Blue | Zubin Kanga, piano, with Festival Artists en masse.

We would love to see you there!
For more information, including more details on all our artists and ticket packages, please visit our Festival page.

Artist Profile | The Navarra String Quartet

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We are very pleased to be welcoming the renowned Navarra String Quartet from the UK to the Four Winds 2016 Festival.

The Navarra String Quartet has built an international reputation as one of the world’s most dynamic and poetic string quartets. They have been recognised with several awards including the MIDEM Classique Young Artist Award, a Borletti-Buitoni Trust Fellowship and prizes at the Banff, Melbourne and Florence International String Quartet competitions.


The Quartet consists of violinist Magnus Johnston, violist Simone van der Giessen, violinist Marije Johnston and cellist Brian O’Kane – between them the members of the Navarra Quartet have impressive musical résumés. All are eminent in their fields and were drawn together from across Europe by a love for chamber music and a desire to showcase it at the highest level.

The Navarra Quartet has appeared in major concert venues throughout the world, at numerous international festivals and collaborated with some truly wonderful musicians such as Li-Wei Qin, Jack Liebeck and Guy Johnston.

The Navarra String Quartet will be performing Ravel’s String Quartet on the morning of Saturday 26th March in the Four Winds outdoor Sound Shell. They will also be performing on the evenings of both Saturday 26th and Sunday 27th March as part of the indoor ‘Windsong Chamber Series’ set to run across the three evenings of the Festival. The Navarra Quartet’s ‘Close to Home’ intimate House Concert performance on Thursday 24th March is already SOLD OUT.

Below is a short video introduction to the Quartet put together by the Banff International String Quartet Competition:

And a taste of what’s to come during their Four Winds performances:

For more details on the Navarra String Quartet’s 2016 Four Winds Festival performances, click here.

To find our more about the Four Winds 2016 Easter Festival and to purchase tickets, click here.

Maboba’s Promise Screens ‘Love Marriage in Kabul’ in the Windsong Pavilion

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Australian aid organisation, Mahboba’s Promise, has decided to kick off their 2016 program by screening their award-winning documentary, Love Marriage in Kabul, in the Windsong Pavilion on the afternoon of Saturday 9 January 2016. The film promises to take viewers on a journey into a country not often accessed by the outside world.

Love Marriage in Kabul follows the incredible journey of Australian-Afghan woman, Mahboba Rawi, the founder of Mahboba’s Promise, as she challenges old traditions and passionately negotiates to make a love marriage happen in Kabul.

Directed by Iranian-Australian, Amin Palangi, Love Marriage in Kabul has won numerous awards including the Audience Award at the Sydney Film Festival and Best Documentary Award at the Canberra International Film Festival.


Mahboba and the girls of the Panjshir Valley

The evening will be a revenue raiser for Mahboba’s Promise, an aid organisation with no political or religious ties to any groups, whose main concern is providing women and children with a path to being independent and self-sufficient in a country that has been racked by decades of war and where social safety nets do not exist.

Mahboba’s Promise has around twenty development projects in Afghanistan including orphanages, schools, and vocational and social enterprise programs. Proceeds from the event will be donated to Mahboba’s Promise to help support its projects in Afghanistan.

Abdul on the roof at night

Abdul on the roof at night

There will be light refreshments, a Q&A session and a bar available after the show. Tickets will be sold at the door for $25. No bookings are required.

Please keep an eye on our Facebook page for more updates.


An Update on Our ‘Carols in the Pavilion’

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Four Winds, with its friends Heartsong and the Friday Choir, are presenting an awe-inspiring evening of choral Christmas music in the Windsong Pavilion at Four Winds’ beautiful ‘Nature’s Concert Hall’ site at Barragga Bay.

At this busy time of year take a moment to relax. This concert offers you the chance to start your Christmas with a moment of peace and beauty – it will end with some communal carol singing under the stars. Audience members will be treated to mulled wine and mince pies within their ticket price.

Traditional carols such as ‘In the Bleak Midwinter’ and the ‘Wexford Carol’ will meet works by major composers; ‘Legend’ by Tchaikovsky and ‘Break Forth, O Beauteous Heavenly Light’ by Bach. Quiet and reflective pieces such as the Polish lullaby ‘Usnijze mi, usnij’ by Gorecki and ‘Infant Holy’ by Wilcocks will be complemented by the luscious harmonies of Warlock’s ‘Bethlehem Down’.

Heartsong, made up of 40 choristers will perform alongside the 8 piece Friday Choir. Together they will create a performance of pure peace and beauty during the last weekend before Christmas.  We encourage you to come along to spend 90 minutes immersed in magical Christmas music performed by local choristers.

Tickets are $40. There will be mulled wine and mince pies as well as tea and coffee available after the performance.

For a taste of what’s in store for you, have a listen below:

We would very much like to see you there and to share a pre-Christmas celebration with you.  For more details and to purchase tickets, click here.

To read our previous blog post about the two special carols events we are hosting this year, click here.

What’s New at the 2016 Four Winds Festival

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The 2016 Four Winds Festival will run for an unprecedented 6 days of musical joy. This extra time will allow us to bring more performances and music-in-nature experiences to our festival-goers and the community. It also means that we will be running several new elements to the Festival — there really will be something for everyone!

Click here to go straight to our early bird tickets and packages–from now until 31 December!

Free Opening Concert:

We will be presenting a free, opening concert on Friday 25th March, held at the Four Winds’ site for the first time and featuring collaboration between local fLiNg Physical Theatre and preeminent percussion group, Ensemble Offspring. The performance of Philip Glass’ Music for Changing Parts is going to be pretty special and way for us to say thank you to our wonderful, supportive community.

‘Close to Home’ House Concert Series:

sculthorpe wind quintet

The Sculthorpe Quintet featuring Emma Sholl, Shefali Pryor, Lyndon Watts, Ben Jacks, and Paul Dean.

In the lead up to the Festival, Four Winds presents the ‘Close to Home’ House Concerts series. This selection of intimate and acoustic performances will be held at spectacular local homes. The Sculthorpe Quintet will be performing in a Tilba home on Tuesday 22 March 2016; Zubin Kanga, Jack Liebeck, and Nicholas Ng will come together to perform in a home at Barragga Bay on Wednesday 23 March 2016. We are thrilled that the Navarra String Quartet performance in a Murrah home on Thursday 24 March 2016 has already sold out. Tickets for the other performances are selling fast so please book now in order not to miss these very special performances.

Windsong Chamber Music Series:

Every evening during the Festival, there will be something special happening at the Windsong Pavilion. As part of our ‘Windsong Chamber Music Series’, between the 25 and 27 March 2016 we will present a different, remarkable program of chamber music: Friday 25 March 2016, Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time; Saturday 26 March 2016 works by Haydn and Schubert; Sunday 27 March 2016 Britten’s 3rd String Quartet and Brahm’s Clarinet Quintet. There are several different ticket packages available to make sure you don’t miss out on one of these beautiful evening performances. Have a look at our Festival page for more details.

The Double Bar:

Screen Shot 2015-11-26 at 11.17.50 am

Paul McDermott at the Festival’s Double Bar in 2014.

In the centre of town, the Bermagui Community Hall will be transformed into The Double Bar—a relaxed place for festival-goers, festival performers, and all the community to mingle and share in the festivities. This year, as part of our ‘After Dark’ program, The Double Bar will play host to the fantastic Radical Son on Friday 25 and Saturday 26 March 2016. Traversing musical genres like soul and hip-hop, and featuring a seven-piece band, Radical Son is a performer that galvanises and energises all audiences. These performances promise to bring something wonderful right to the heart of town. The Double Bar will also be open on Sunday evening, whilst no performance is scheduled, it’s a great chance to mingle and relax together as the Festival winds down.


Radical Son.


Tickets and More Information:

Early bird ticket packages are available for all events during the Festival on our website until the 31 December 2015. A lot of events are selling fast so make sure you secure your tickets for the Festival.

Our local accommodation is also filling fast for the weekend of the Festival. If you are one of our out-of-town visitors, follow this link to get more information about the accommodation in the area.

We can’t wait to welcome you  to our 2016 Festival and share a remarkable musical experience with you.

Four Winds’ Architects Awarded for their Excellence!

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Four Winds is very proud to announce that the architects responsible for the creation of our two beautiful performance venues–the Windsong Pavilion and the Sound Shell–have been recognised in the 2015 National Architecture Awards.

Phillip Cox, founding partner of Cox Architecture and designer of the Four Winds’ Sound Shell, has been awarded the 2015 National Architecture Awards: Public Award for the firm’s work on the redevelopment of the Adelaide Oval.

ArchitectureAU says, ‘All parts of the Adelaide Oval have been carefully considered to produce what must be, nationally, one of the most accessible and most spatially dramatic public buildings devoted to sport.’

SoundShellFour Winds Sound Shell - Picture by Ben Marden - low res

Philip Cox’s Sound Shell in action at a Four Winds Festival

To read more about Philip’s award, click here.

Also in the same awards ceremony, Clinton Murray, of Clinton Murray Architects and designer of the Windsong Pavilion, has been awarded the 2015 National Architecture Awards: Residential – Houses (News) for his collaboration with Polly Harbison on the Balmoral House.

Of this stunningly designed house, ArchitectureAU says, ‘Balmoral House nurtures structure, art, environment and lifestyle to the maximum.’

Windsong Pavilion front photo by Robert Tacheci

Clinton Murray’s the Windsong Pavilion at the Four Wind’s site.

To read more about Clinton’s work and see pictures of the beautiful Balmoral House, click here.