Showing posts with label Australian Festival of Chamber Music. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Australian Festival of Chamber Music. Show all posts

Tuesday, March 06, 2018

In which Anna Magdalena goes to Australia

You might remember I trotted off to Leipzig in October and was duly bowled over by Bach's Thomaskirche, to say nothing of all the Mendelssohn and Schumann connections. But there was a special reason for going to see Bach's home environment, and at last it is all announced.

Kathryn Stott, who has taken over as artistic director of the Australian Festival of Chamber Music in Townsville, Far North Queensland, has assembled an astounding, fresh and gorgeous festival for this July-August, with a stunning array of international performers and repertoire old, new and brand-new, from Chausson to Bach - the violin partitas by candlelight with Karen Gomyo - to the Gypsy Kings; Chinese music from Sheng master Wu Tong, and Argentinian bandoneonist JP Jofre with tango; and there'll even be concerts on uninhabited coral islands - Townsville is on the Great Barrier Reef coast. The full festival programme is here. And I am just a little bit thrilled to be part of it all. The festival has performed some of my stuff before - A Walk through the End of Time and the Viardot-Turgenev programme were both done there 8-10 years ago under Piers Lane's direction - but for logistical reasons this will be my first visit.

Kathy has commissioned a new music-and-words piece from me called Being Mrs Bach. It's the story of Anna Magdalena Bach and will be in the Bach by Candlelight evening on 1 August, with music from baritone Roderick Williams, soprano Siobhan Stagg, cellist Guy Johnston and many more - here's the full programme and line-up - and I get to narrate it myself. I am also giving a talk in the festival's Winterschool about some notable women composers of the past. As for the prospect of sitting on stage while Roddy Williams sings 'Mache dich mein Herze rein', I reckon for that it would be worth going to the ends of the earth. (And do you think Anna Magdalena wrote the cello suites?)

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Dream job for British pianist

Kathryn Stott. Photo:
British pianist Kathryn Stott has just been announced as the new artistic director of the Australian Festival of Chamber Music in Townsville, taking over from Piers Lane.

The town in Far North Queensland has its fair share of palm trees, sunshine and proximity to what remains of the Great Barrier Reef; for decades the festival has welcomed the great and good of the music world to its delights. Piers has been in situ 11 years and Kathy will be only the third director to hold office.

Born in Lancashire, Kathy studied at the Yehudi Menuhin School and at the Royal College of Music with Kendall Taylor. Aged 19 she was a finalist in the Leeds International Piano Competition and shot to fame; now she has long enjoyed a busy career juggling solo work, chamber music including a duo partnership with Yo-Yo Ma, teaching at the Oslo Conservatory of Music, and the occasional curating of festivals and concert series. She tells me she had been keeping an eye out for something longer term in that department, but is more than thrilled to have been recommended to the AFCM, where she has been a frequent visitor, by Piers himself.

I'm not sure for whom I'm happier: the festival having her, or her having the festival. Congratulations all round!

Here's Kathy playing Fauré's Impromptu No. 2.