Canberra International Music Festival announces 2022 program


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The Canberra International Music Festival has announced its 2022 program, with the theme “Pole to Pole”. From April 29 to May 8, 2022, the festival features 41 events, including 22 unique concerts and nine free events, and celebrates the journeys and journeys humans have taken for millennia, the global community we have built and what we have been building. have learned and discovered along the way.


Canberra International Music Festival artistic director Roland Peelman presents the 2022 festival.

“The world is a place full of contrasts, a place full of great diversity and our theme, Pole to Pole, aims to celebrate that,” Peelman said. “From the tropics to the poles, from the mountains to the deserts, people have always looked for ways to cross difficult places and find new routes to venture, while enjoying the comfort of our coastal tracks. Next year’s Festival focuses on these routes. It is about these tracks, these paths and what we discover along the way; the wonders of nature.

“From north to south, from east to west. The natural world; birds, animals and their human relationships. Latitude and longitude, crossing borders, stretching nation to nation, from Canberra to the rest of the world. When I look at our lives – historically and today – and how they interconnect, I saw an opportunity for a creative program that looks at planet Earth from a musical point of view.

“2022 is a Festival full of contrasts. We have old music from Spain, new music from Australia, music from the Middle East and certainly the best of European traditions. We present Polish music like never before and highlight our neighbors, the land of the long white cloud.

Poles attending the festival include the Polish pianist Lucas krupinski performing Chopin, Paderewski and Grażyna Bacewicz, that of William Barton musical response to the famous song by Jackson Pollock Blue poles, so controversial when it was purchased by the National Gallery of Australia, and the Parliament pole, representative of this meeting place for all Australians.

A festival tradition in recent years has been to use breakfast concerts to focus on a singular artist, in order to provide a deep immersion in an individual artwork. Beethoven and Mozart had their turn, and now Papa Haydn takes center stage. Festival opens with Australian premiere on period instrument of Haydn’s monumental oratorio Creation, carried out by the Australian Haydn Ensemble and Sydney Chamber Choir. And the Haydn for Breakfast series will see the audience rise with the sun, as five superb ensembles perform the six string quartets of Op. 20 – known colloquially as the “Sun” quartets. To rejoin Orava String Quartet, Alma Moodie Quartet, the New Zealand String Quartet, Flinders Quartet and the Australian Haydn Ensemble for these superb and transformative works.

Designed in conversation with Haydn’s Creation, While you sleep is “a cutting-edge production that explores areas furthest from human consciousness and physical performance”. Composer Kate Neal and host Sal Cooper have created a work based on the double meaning of the word “fugue”, both a musical form and a confused state of mind. With a string quartet composed of Zachary Johnston, Isabel Hede, Phoebe Green and David Morgan, with Jacob Abela on keyboards, this dizzying combination of music and movement is like an image of MC Escher coming to life.

While you sleep

Composer Kate Neal and host Sal Cooper split “While You Sleep,” appearing at the 2022 Canberra International Music Festival.

Jackson pollock Blue poles was an extremely controversial purchase by the National Gallery of Australia in 1973, and has remained at the center of our national conversation about the value and significance of contemporary visual art. In the festival Blue poles program, William Barton, our Critics’ Choice for 2021 Spotlight Australian Artist of the Year, has composed two responses to Pollock’s paintings which he will perform at the James O Fairfax Theater at the National Gallery. He is joined by the Alma Moodie Quartet for a concert which also works by John Cage (speaking of controversial contemporary abstract art!), The first American modernist composer Ruth Crawford Seeger, and a world premiere of a new work by the Australian composer. Brian Howard – his fifth string quartet, titled ‘Blue Poles’.

The festival strives to be deeply engaged with First Nations musicians: not just from Australia, but across the divide as well. Horomona Horo and the New Zealand String Quartet here Kia Ora Kiwi, a program combining a string quartet with the ancient sounds of Maori instruments. And in the Heart of the house program, Horo joins the multi-instrumentalist and composer Eric Avery for a concert at the Australian Parliament that sees encounters between ancient cultures and modern voices, spanning both sides of the Tasman.

Horomona Horo, composer and practitioner of taonga pūoro

Horomona Horo fused traditional Maori instruments, the taonga pūoro, with a wide range of cultural and musical forms. Image provided.

Polish pianist based in London Lucas krupinski is a major artist of the festival, performing in a number of different programs, the centerpiece of which is A Polish Gala Concert. Chopin has put Poland’s iconic dance form, the Polish, on the international map, with a number of famous compositions. Krupinski presents a selection of Chopin’s Polonaises and other solo pieces alongside Grażyna Bacewicz’s astonishing First Piano Quintet, performed with the Orava String Quartet, aptly named after their family’s Polish origins.

The Australian Haydn Ensemble is another major element of this year’s festival. In addition to that of Haydn Creation, AHE presents The last mile, a “delightfully frolic in the Austrian fields” which explores Hummel’s arrangement of Beethoven’s “Pastoral” Symphony, Lutoslawski Paganini variations and Saint-Saëns Carnival of the Animals with narrator Jonathan biggin.

The festival also seeks to anchor its audience in the landscape of the national capital: Tree of life walks the public through the National Botanical Gardens, while two Sound walks promise to immerse you in “acoustic ecology”. Also drawing inspiration from the natural world is Birds in paradise, where Edward Neeman (piano) and Anna McMichael (violin) present classical works inspired by birdsong, including works by Messiaen Christopher Sainsbury, interspersed with field recordings of actual bird songs by Hooper Brewster-Jones and Hollis Taylor.

The 2022 program also includes a number of free events including the Dog ears Concert a program for our four-legged friends, with music performed on a height material specially adapted for hypersensitive ears, and Daily exercise, a free lunchtime concert series at the ANU Drill Hall.

Peelman’s programs in Canberra have always balanced the traditional and the experimental, and 2022 is no exception.

“Getting people out of their comfort zone – that’s the essence of what a festival is,” Peelman said. “A festival is about creating a new musical experience that breaks the grind of routine and challenges the norm. It’s very exciting to see that Canberra can offer such a different context and is
ready to throw away the old rulebook.


Tickets for the 2022 Canberra International Music Festival go on sale Monday, November 29. Download the program here.

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Gerald R. Schneider