Welcome to Season 2023
Our 2023 season is an invitation to experience chamber music with new ears and eyes. Musica Viva Australia will always be home to the world’s greatest musicians, performing repertory from the last 500 years or so. Yet in any season we will also ask our audiences and performers a simple question: what does chamber music mean to us all today?
At a long lunch with old friends some years ago the conversation turned to the fate of great and humble instruments following the German invasion and occupation of European countries in the Second World War. Later, when researching the subject for a book, I became preoccupied with just one such instrument, the small piano on which Chopin completed his 24 Preludes in the grim winter of 1838–9. In 2021 the director/writer Richard Pyros and I fashioned that narrative into a theatrical work with Chopin’s Preludes at its heart. It is a virtuosic two-hander, with an actor taking on multiple roles as does Aura Go, whose performance of the Preludes and more besides makes this tour such a captivating prospect.
The flutist Adam Walker, who was such a hit at the Musica Viva Festival in 2019, returns with two of his friends, Anneleen Lenaerts, solo harpist of the Vienna Philharmonic, and Timothy Ridout, the outstanding viola player of his generation. They’ll perform the Debussy trio – how could they not? – but they’ll also bring a riveting collection of ensemble and solo works. These three musicians form a lovely counterpoint to the Vision Quartet, a crack ensemble from Berlin that performs from memory, offering a deeper, more immersive experience for audiences.
Living composers remain centre stage. Carl Vine has written a guitar quintet for Karin Schaupp and the Flinders Quartet. May Lyon is composing for the exquisite soloists Noa Wildschut and Elisabeth Brauss. Jakub Jankowski is crafting a new work for Jean-Guihen Queyras, Satsuki Odamura and James Morley – a trio for two cellos and koto – while Thomas Misson is writing for the great Garrick Ohlsson. It is a bumper crop, all supported by patrons whose generosity makes possible this exciting new season.
Our morning series, Viva Edge and Morning Masters, provide platforms for the best Australian musicians in repertory old and new. The new includes Manduway Dutton’s work for the Penny Quartet and Sam Wu’s piece for Arcadia Winds, the third of our former FutureMakers to appear on our stages this year.
It is a season alive with joy – not least because once more we will welcome local and international ensembles as participants in the Melbourne International Chamber Music Competition, an opportunity for us all to celebrate the next generation of outstanding musicians. It will be a pleasure to welcome you back into concert halls throughout the country.
Paul Kildea, Artistic Director
With special thanks to the Amadeus Society and Producers’ Circle for their support for Musica Viva Australia’s 2023 Concert Season.