Under the co-direction of Chris Howlett and Adele Schonhardt, Melbourne Digital Concert Hall has been a boon to local musicians and music lovers alike. Well over $550,000 has been earned by musicians while we, as an audience, maintained a strong sense of personal connection with them, despite the physical distancing. The Athenaeum Theatre has become an extension of our homes over the past few months. The venue might have been almost empty but Chris, Adele and their guests generated such enthusiastic warmth to their introductions and chats that we forgot that so many of those sumptuous red velvet seats were empty – we were virtually sitting in them.
Some of us tend to view what MDCH has to offer as an Essential Service, nevertheless, because of the Stage 4 lockdown restrictions implemented by the Victorian Government this week the doors of the Athenaeum Theatre have closed. Undaunted and always enterprising, MDCH has published some exciting news as they find innovative ways to support Australian artists – and music lovers:
“The Victorian Government confirmed via Creative Victoria that we would have to close the doors of our Melbourne venue during Stage 4 lockdown.
“In anticipation of this, we spent Tuesday capturing live concerts for the Melbourne leg of the AFCM Prelude Weekend so they can progress as planned. They are stunning performances and we hope you will join so many fellow MDCH supporters this weekend online. All Melbourne concerts beyond this point have been postponed and ticket holders will be contacted. We’ll also reveal our plans to continue supporting Melbourne artists shortly.
“In the meantime, allow us to introduce the MDCH Passport Series.
” the next six weeks, MDCH will take you on a tour of Australia’s talent both nationally and worldwide with 36 live concerts.
“We will return to Sydney, hold multi-day festivals in Adelaide, Perth and Brisbane, and travel to London and Singapore. We will showcase artists such as the Australian String Quartet, Li-Wei Qin, the Goldner String Quartet, Slava Gigorian, Simon Tedeschi, Anna Goldsworthy, Timo-Veikko Valve, and the Australian Haydn Ensemble, to name but a few.
“For the next two weeks, we will base ourselves virtually in Sydney with recitals from the Sir John Clancy Auditorium with thanks to UNSW. This will include performances by the Australia Ensemble, Simon Tedeschi & Sally Walker, Timo-Veikko Valve, Jane Rutter & Gerard Willems, Clarissa Spata & Glenn Amer, as well as welcoming back the Australian Haydn Ensemble and Andrew Goodwin.
“These tickets are now on sale on our website.
“On the 19th of August, your MDCH passport takes you to Singapore for a stunning recital by much-loved Australian cellist Li Wei Qin and pianist Albert Tiu. This Chopin and Beethoven recital is one NOT to be missed.
“August 28 sees MDCH’s passport series head to Adelaide for a two-day festival. This will include artists such as the Australian String Quartet, Slava Gigorian, Anna Goldsworthy and many others. We will announce the full programme on Monday as part of our weekly e-newsletter.
“We will also extend our London series and showcase the artistry of some of Australia’s brightest talent, including Emily Sun, Lotte Betts-Dean and Helena Dix.
“We will write more about September’s programming in the coming days.
“Please see our website, www.melbournedigitalconcerthall.com, for details of all artists and programs.
“Phone bookings and full tech support are also available on 0408 339 145, between 9am and 6pm, Monday to Saturday.”