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Limelight Magazine Feature: Vibrancy, Serenity & the Unknown

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Artistic Director of the 2016 Four Winds Festival, Paul Dean, shares his key curatorial ingredients…

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Why do people go to music festivals? Festivals, particularly regional festivals, create a unique environment for the creation and performance of arts. Audiences are out of their normal lives, and normal surroundings and in a sense give themselves to the Festival – therefore creating a wonderful performer and listener/observer relationship. No one in the audience, especially at Four Winds, is really worried about getting up early for work the next day, or fighting the mad city traffic to get an incredibly over priced car park in an unbelievable rush to make the downbeat.

Click here to read full article at Limelight Magazine

Richard Gill talks Music Education on ABC South East

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Recently, Richard Gill appeared in conversation with Tim Holt on ABC South East, discussing his beliefs surrounding the importance of a revolutionised musical education in Australian school curriculums. “Music holds the key to a quality education system,” said Richard.

You can listen to the entire, enlightening interview here:

For more information about Richard’s events on November 18th, please click here.

Dave Hewitt begins his Four Winds Residency

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A beautiful sunny morning at the Four Winds site welcomes David Hewitt, acclaimed percussionist and composer, with Jed Silver, sound artist/engineer, to day 3 of their residency in the Windsong Pavilion.

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Dave and Jed in the Windsong Pavilion.

Dave, continuing from his residency last year, will be working on a composition titled ONDES, a solo piece for percussion, voice, and live sound design.

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The view from the sound design deck.

Says Dave, “my starting point with ONDES is to explore gradually evolving waves of mesmeric rhythms and vocal melodies. For me this approach reflects the patient and evolving character of the local landscape, it’s seasons and it’s community. This meditative approach also serves to focus my creativity energies and to open up the possibility of other ideas. The material developed through ONDES will ultimately form the basis for a number of distinct projects which are also likely to include other artists i.e. musicians,choreographers, lighting designers and multimedia. Jed Silver, joins me as we collaborate to further develop this material utilizing his incredible skills in manipulating live sound.”

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Dave and Jed will be in the Windsong Pavilion until the end of this week. We’re very excited to see the finished product!

Paul Dean’s Postcard from India

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Apart from being Artistic Director of the Four Winds Festival, I’m very privileged to play with the Australian World Orchestra and am currently on tour with them in India.

So, I thought I’d send you all a postcard!

The highlights have been too numerous to mention. Playing Schubert’s 9th Symphony with Zubin Mehta is a pretty tough one to beat, I have to say the orchestra has played absolutely incredibly during the tour.
However, visiting slums on Saturday with Belinda MacFarlane (violin LSO), Monica Curro (violin MSO) and Troy Greatz (Percussion WASO) and playing a concert for the extraordinary children there was life changing. Never before have I felt so humbled and privileged to be a musician. An incredible audience!
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The orchestra rehearses Schubert 9 in the New Delhi Weightlifting centre. Made for a very acceptable concert hall. Great plaque about the Maestro at the back of the stage!
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The Australian World Orchestra with the Maestro post concert number 2 in the Concert Hall in Mumbai. Notice that the Maestro places the wind section around the front of the string section when playing Schubert 9. A career highlight for me.
I’m so pleased to be flying the flag for Australia, Four Winds and Bermagui on this wonderful international tour.  I am really looking forward to playing for you at the 2016 Festival in performances of Dvorak’s Wind Serenade and Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time to name just a couple.  Of course I can’t sign off without reminding you that tickets are now on sale. If you haven’t yet purchased your Festival tickets then please click here.
Very best wishes
Paul Dean
Artistic Director
PS – I recently did an interview with Alex Sloan on ABC666 Canberra, so if you’d like to find out more about my life as a musician you might like to follow this link…

The Value of Music Education – Richard Gill

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“Music is important for the following reasons: it is abstract, it doesn’t mean anything outside itself. Music does not describe. Music does not narrate. Music does not tell stories. Music evokes. Music suggests, music implies, and music opens up the mind of a child in an extraordinary way. This abstraction about music is what offers a child the chance to move into a really special way of thinking.”

Richard Gill OAM is one of Australia’s pre-eminent conductors and has been recognised for his contribution to music by receiving several awards. Perhaps most importantly, however, has been his work in music education and the revitalisation of music in Australian schools.

Four Winds is very excited to be welcoming Richard to The Windsong Pavilion on November 18th to share his insights. The day will begin with a participative creative music workshop from 9:30am – 3pm, for music teachers, music leaders and music enthusiasts in and out of the classroom. Following that, Richard will deliver a keynote address from 4:30 – 6:30pm on how he believes music can transform lives.  We suggest you watch the video below to get a sense of what an interesting and engaging session this is going to be.

For more information on the day or to book your spot, please follow this link.

Planting Has Begun!

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Our Native Species Arboretum is underway thanks to the hard work by botanist and coastcarer, Stuart Cameron, and our site manager, Russell. With generous assistance from the 25th Anniversary Landcare Grants 2014-15, we are working to restore the ex-beef cattle grazing lands of the Four Winds site to its original state. Stuart Cameron, has designed a specific vegetation management strategy to recreate the distinctively local species and plant communities that mark this area, and to illustrate the richness and uniqueness of the region’s botanical heritage.

“We take our custodianship of the land at the Four Winds site very seriously,” said Sheena Boughen, Four Winds Chair, “and have attempted to infuse everything we do with that appreciation of the natural environment.” The first tasks of planting native species are underway with involvement of volunteers from the local community and we hope that this project will bring a greater appreciation of the unique South Coast environment, a wider sense of the importance of working towards restoring and maintaining our fragile and precious natural spaces, and provide opportunities for people to directly participate in the natural space.

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Stayed tuned for more updates on the progress of the site. If you would like to get involved and volunteer as part of the regeneration team, please click here.

2016 Festival Tickets Now on Sale!

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We are very excited to launch the program for the 2016 Four Winds Festival and to announce that tickets are now available for purchase.

It is going to be an invigorating and exciting weekend, with many different events and performances to keep you busy.

photo by Warren Purnell

photo by Warren Purnell


Please go to our Festival page for more information and to find the program.

Wise Up to Wetlands

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Four Winds exists to enrich the lives of people through the power of unique music-in-nature experiences. We are also committed to raising an awareness of nature through the artistic form. We believe this creates a dialogue and stimulates thought regarding environmental issues in an innovative way that extends the reach of important environmental issues and concerns to new audiences.

Wise up to Wetlands is a school based artistic program that aims to raise an awareness and knowledge of the important wetland areas in Bermagui. There is a clear lack of community knowledge about the uniqueness and value of these areas that we hope to address by instilling an awareness, recognition and pride in them.


The project involves the commissioning of a song to be composed by four of Four Winds Indigenous artistic collaborators: Warren Foster Snr, Warren Foster Jnr, Jacob Morris, and Joel Deaves. These artists have consistently provided quality musical outcomes in past projects with us. As Yuin Traditional Owners they are committed to education about important wetlands.

Once developed, the Bermagui Primary School will partner with us to teach the song to 150 students so that it may be performed at future Four Winds, school and community events.

This project compliments and supports another developing Four Winds project, known as the ‘Bermagui Project’ which brings together Indigenous, arts and non-arts (eg. sciences, philosophy, health) communities to creatively collaborate in alternative ways of engaging communities about place by provoking dialogue and attracting audiences to be active participants. With both these projects, we seek to promote the cross-cultural knowledge of contemporary Indigenous artists whose ancestry has long recognised this place and the link between art, culture and expression.

Four Winds is extremely grateful to Local Land Services South East for their support as a funder of the Wise Up to Wetlands project.

The Vampires Leave their Mark

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After a beautiful afternoon performance by The Vampires hosted in the Windsong Pavilion by Zephyrs Jazz, Bill Brown from ABC South East had this to say:

“…a sublime performance by the Vampires, some were saying that the newly constructed Pavilion at Bermagui may be the highest quality music venue between Nowra and Melbourne.”


Thank you to Bill Brown, Roger Stuart from Zephyrs Jazz, and The Vampires for a wonderful afternoon!

Four Winds Gets Behind Music Education

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The value of an early education in music is now recognised worldwide. The scientific data is clear; children who have good early education in music thrive at every level. In short, music education makes a profound difference in the lives of children and the benefits are life-long.

The National Music Teacher Mentoring Program was founded by Australia’s foremost music educatos, Richard Gill, and has a very specific goal … to make high-quality music mentoring available to generalist classroom teachers across Australia with the aim of providing quality music education, not just for the few, but for every primary school child in Australia.

Last September, Four Winds launched an ambitious campaign to raise the funds necessary to bring Richard Gill’s program to the local school community of the Far South Coast of NSW. With the generous help of our wonderful donors, we’ve been able to select two local music teachers and begin implementing the program. Starting with primary schools in the local area, making a difference to over 100 local primary students this year alone, and benefitting many more students in the future. This program will have all the more impact in this low-income area where schools welcome many indigenous and disadvantaged students.

The NMTMP has been the perfect opportunity for the Four Winds community to affect the lives of ordinary Australian children in the way we know best, through music. We hope to continue into the future.

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If you are interested in finding out more about this program or want to expand yourself as a music educator, we are hosting a very special and educational day event with Richard Gill on the 18th November. Please follow this link for more details.

Bermagui Primary Records New Wetlands Song at Four Winds

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On Monday 14th December, Four Winds welcomed the children of Bermagui Primary School to the Pavilion for a day of music-making and artistic exploration.

The Indigenous artists worked with the children to record and engineer a new song as part of the ‘Wise Up to Wetlands’ project: a school based artistic program that aims to raise an awareness and knowledge of the important wetland areas in Bermagui. The project was funded, in part, by NSW Local Land Services.

Yuin artists, Warren Foster Snr, Warren Foster Jnr, Joel Deaves and Jacob Morris, were on hand to lead and accompany the children through the recording of a song they had composed for them.

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Warren Foster Snr and other local musicians helping the Bermagui Primary children record in the Pavilion

Take a listen of the Wetlands Song recording here:


The project was also an opportunity for the children to have their music recorded by local professional recording artists, Michael Hanlon and Sats Kramer. After just a few takes and with the support of music teacher Merinda Antill, the track was laid and it was time for the children to relax and enjoy the surrounds.

Here’s a little video of the kids’ visual and sound creations from the day:

Yellow Team = Kindergarten on visuals, Yr 3/4 on sound

Red Team = Yr 1 on visuals, Yr 4/5 on sound

Blue Team – Yr 2 on visuals, Yr 2/3 on sound

For many of our local children, it was the first time they had seen the site and many were asking about the festival and Four Winds activities.

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The Bermagui Primary kids taking inspiration from nature

After lunch the children took part in creating a visual and sound artscape; inspired by nature, in nature and with nature. Dividing up into groups, the children created three-dimensional collages using natural materials found around on site.