There’s nothing small about the 2020 chamber music season

The upcoming chamber music season promises a heady mix of exotic destinations, swirling colour, mystique, celebration and dazzling talent in a selection of bold programs that are awe-inspiring in their range and imagination.

There’s nothing small about the 2020 chamber music season


This is to be a landmark season for all of our chamber music companies. For Musica Viva Australia (MVA), the 2020 season marks the company’s 75th anniversary, and sadly, the last under the artistic direction of Carl Vine AO. The Australian Chamber Orchestra (ACO) celebrates 30 years of Richard Tognetti's fearless artistic leadership, and 250 years since the birth of Ludwig van Beethoven.

This season sees some fascinating collaborations resulting in works of intriguing creativity, such as a series of short film experiments commissioned by the ACO that utilise the latest 3D animation technology to communicate humanity, emotion and the visceral response we often have to music.

Following the catastrophic fire at Notre-Dame, Australian Brandenburg Orchestra’s Artistic Director Paul Dyer was moved by the French public’s optimism and determination to rebuild and restore. He conceived and curatedNotre-Dame, a theatrical concert experience featuring music by French composers Campra, Lully, Rameau, Rebel and more. The narrative concert, written by award-winning playwright Alana Valentine, celebrates Notre-Dame as a centre for musical innovation and choral transcendence.

The season’s offerings will seduce audiences with epic themes of extraordinary richness portrayed across a thousand years of music. The Australian Brandenburg Orchestra will transport audiences to Venice, Paris and Istanbul in a program that spans Baroque-era Europe and the Ottoman Empire, encompassing contemporary world events and including collaborations with outstanding international guest artists.

Dyer says, ‘My 2020 program zooms in on the illustrious musical giants who sprang from this artistically rich area of the world. The season is an in-depth exploration of the creative geniuses J.S. Bach, Mozart, Vivaldi, Rameau, and the Ottomans to the East. Some of the world’s most stunning guest artists will bring the brilliant colours of Baroque alive in each program.’

The ACO’s sweeping program spans a millennium of music, from Hildegard von Bingen to Bach, Vivaldi and Beethoven, through to Mahler, Shostakovich and Arvo Pärt, and brand new commissions yet to be written.

Carl Vine says of his final season at MVA: ‘I wanted to mark such an exceptional confluence with the most inspiring international talent I could find bolstered by a high concentration of Australian content — our best chamber musicians plus new music from some of our country's composers whom I most admire.’

There will be a constellation of talent on display across the board. Joining the ACO will be a host of guests from home and abroad, including operatic sensations Stuart Skelton and Christianne Stotijn, director Jonathan Cohen, pianist Polina Leschenko, the British electronic explorer Anna Meredith and violinist Hugo Ticciati.

Australian Brandenburg Orchestra opens the season with the return of one of the most renowned performers in classical music, French harpist Xavier de Maistre. In the second series,Mozart’s Clarinet, will beperformed by two of the finest period wind players of today. Leading Australian period clarinettist Craig Hill will present this work in a program also featuring Emma Black, who returns to perform Mozart’s Concerto for Oboe in C major. German Baroque violinist Jonas Zschenderlein will make his Australian debut to perform an all Bach program alongside the leading Brandenburg string soloists, whileBach’s Violinwill showcase three brilliant Baroque violinists, including Jonas Zschenderlain and Shaun Lee-Chen.  The mesmerising Whirling Dervishes will return from Turkey to dazzle inOttoman Baroqueand will travel with the Brandenburg to Melbourne for the first time.

MVA plays host to American pianist Garrick Ohlsson, legendary recital partners violinist Cho-Liang Lin and pianist Jon Kimura Parker in their first joint tour of Australia, oboist Diana Doherty with the Eggner Trio,  Germany’s Goldmund Quartet, and American vocal group Chanticleer for their debut in Australia. MVA will mark another anniversary as Pianist Piers Lane and the Goldner String Quartet celebrate the Quartet’s 25 years of brilliance. The MVA season closes with Baroque splendour from Christophe Rousset’s French period ensemble, Les Talens Lyriques, appearing with soprano Siobhan Stagg. Throughout the year the MVA program will showcase new music from Paul Stanhope, Jakub Jankowski, Lachlan Skipworth, Clare Maclean and Elizabeth Younan.

MVA’s Morning Masters series in Sydney and Melbourne is brimming with variety, bringing together local and international talent of the highest order. The Sydney series features the Nexas Quartet in a virtuosic program featuring An American in Paris; remarkable young Australians, mezzo-soprano Lotte Betts-Dean and guitarist Andrey Lebedev; Ian Munro, who makes a long-awaited return to the solo piano seat; and the Goldner String Quartet whose program of Mendelssohn and Beethoven encircles the world premiere of music by a young composer from the Sydney Conservatorium, Christine Pan.

The Melbourne Morning Masters will showcase accomplished soprano Greta Bradman accompanied by pianist/composer Calvin Bowman; home-grown quintet Arcadia Winds with a selection of wind quintets from the 19th and 20th centuries; a program of instrumental sonatas from the peak of the Baroque period with violinist Rachael Beesley, cellist Natasha Kraemer and the orbist Simon Martyn-Ellis. The year draws to a close with the Orava Quartet, now featured Deutsche Grammophon artists, in a program topped with Ravel’s immaculate string quartet. The series also includes Christine Pan’s world premiere music.

The brilliant young South Korean violinist Anna Im, grand prize winner of the competition in 2019, will appear with renowned New Zealand pianist Stephen De Pledge in both Sydney and Melbourne Morning Masters. 

We look forward to bringing you more MPA 2020 season launch updates in our next issue of iMPAct.