The Port Fairy Spring Music Festival may be the second of the coastal town’s annual musical festivals, and a good 10 years younger than the famous Folk Festival – but it is increasingly popular with lovers of classical music. Classic Melbourne attended the launch of this year’s Festival (October 10-12) and found there’s much to look forward to in this year’s 25th Anniversary.
Appropriately, this year’s theme is memory, with 2014 also sadly marking years since the untimely death of Michael Easton ARAM, the popular and visionary founder of the Festival. To honour his memory the Kawai Opening Concert on Friday October 10 will feature Easton’s magnum opus A Voice Not Stilled — a work he described as a celebration of life’ — in a newly commissioned revision for chamber ensemble by Benjamin Martin.
“Port Fairy is synonymous with great music and great festivals and the Spring Music Festival is now firmly established on the calendar of ‘must-see’ events for fine music lovers,” said Penny Hutchinson, Festival Chair. Anna Goldsworthy, Artistic Director, (pictured) promised a varied and exciting program of recitals by local and international musicians, discussions, master classes, schools concerts, pop-up recitals and even “spontaneous Broadway”.
Goldsworthy described the theme of memory as a leitmotif running through her programming for this commemorative Festival. “As we celebrate memory in the 2014 Port Fairy Spring Music Festival, audiences will be treated to performances from past Directors, Stephen McIntyre and Len Vorster, as well as a superb new arrangement of Michael Easton’s work A Voice not Stilled.
“We also are thrilled to welcome back favourite performers from past festivals including Stefan Cassomenos and Paul Grabowsky, tenor Christopher Saunders, harp virtuoso Marshall McGuire, and Ensemble Liaison.
“And while we reflect upon, honour and celebrate memory, we are also proudly laying a foundation for the next twenty-five years of this great festival by welcoming new performers and the premiere of new works from the region and abroad,” Goldsworthy said.
Other program highlights include singer and wordsmith Shane Howard, cabaret sensation Robyn Archer, internationally renowned pianists and scholars Roy Howat and Emily Kilpatrick from the Royal Academy of Music in London, mezzo soprano Sally-Anne Russell, recorder virtuoso Genevieve Lacey with classical accordion legend James Crabb and the launch of a brand new ensemble called Brass Commons.
New works being premiered at the 2014 Port Fairy Spring Music Festival include Orpheus and Euridice by Ricky Ian Gordon (Australian Premiere), Mother Chook’s Nursery Book by Graeme Koehne (with libretto by Peter Goldsworthy), and a cabaret celebration of the life and work of Henry Lawson, Looking for Lawson.
For further details go to www.portfairyspringfest.com.au