03 May 2015


The Canberra International Music Festival remains a spark on the Canberra music horizon. It's somewhat changed this year. Roland Peelman has taken over as artistic director and the main venue is the Fitters Workshop. I read Roland's message in the program and it appeals to me in several ways: the recognition of Canberra as a place of "knowledge, science and ... fact-seeking" as well as the more obvious government and governance reference. Actually, we can claim a good bit of the governance, but much of the government actually comes to Canberra. We can't lay claim to Abbott or Hockey or Babs Stilton. But Roland admires the view of setting sun in hills and they have been spectacular recently. Perhaps for all this, the theme of this festival is Einstein. This year is the 100th anniversary of the Theory of Relativity. Amongst all the hoo-ha and expenditure on another recent centenary this one is easily forgotten, but it's a mark of this institution and of Canberra that Relativity that would be remembered here. It's a mark of genius, of awareness and broadening minds. Amongst this, Roland attests this CIMF as "unashamedly" celebrating the great Western classical tradition. But CIMF is not staid, for amongst the Bach and Beethoven there are the minimalists and the contemporaries and the commissions. This is nothing if not a refreshing and intelligent event. We are involved through attendance, of course, although not so much of that (it's a busy time otherwise). We are hosting a few of the visiting artists and this is a much deeper involvement in some ways as well as just plain good fun. Kate Moore is a visiting composer and Pete Harden is performing on baritone guitar. International visitors are a reminder of difference and this is great for a settled life. These two live in the Netherlands but are from Australia (Kate studied at the Canberra School of Music) and England. This visit is much fun, although maybe I should avoid too much chatter on music. There is more to life besides music even during this week. CIMF is looking great.

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