Artistic Director Welcome

Late into Chamber Music, an early collection of forlorn, lovesick poems, James Joyce crafts the most beguiling and, for us today, apposite words:

‘Now, O now, in this brown land
Where Love did so sweet music make . . .’

Joyce’s brown land is barren, the terrain of a promising relationship breaking down. Yet in 2021 Musica Viva’s brown land is a place of celebration and
promise, of astonishing Australian musicians gathering under a single banner
– Viva 2021 – and ultimately of love producing the sweetest music.

Quite early in 2020 the challenge of reimagining the 2021 season became the most glorious opportunity; after all, how often in life are we presented with a completely blank slate?

Filling this slate in the most creative way possible has been one of the most enjoyable and imaginative experiences in my career: all of us at Musica Viva have worked together to ensure that the musicians and projects we’ve assembled under this single banner are outstanding in every regard.

Conversations with these artists about programming, about prospective collaborations and commissions, about exactly what we want the year to mean and say, have filled the last months. The prospect of a return to the stage, of touring the big brown land, has reminded us all of the sheer power of live music and its meaning to us individually.

So many friends old and new will remind us of music’s precise meaning in our lives. Genevieve Lacey and Marshall McGuire explore the idea of music as sanctuary, in scores from the 16th century onwards. Paul Dean’s concerto for cello and wind quintet is a remarkable statement of virtuosity and colour, and it is a sheer privilege to tour Ensemble Q to cities throughout the country.

Bringing together Nicolas Fleury, Emily Sun and Amir Farid in one of the greatest pieces of chamber music – Brahms’s horn trio – is a particular pleasure, as has been watching the brilliant Aura Go play and act her way through development of Chopin’s Piano, a musical staging of an intriguing story about a humble instrument, the 24 Preludes Chopin wrote on it, and the long tail of Romanticism.

To collaborate with ANAM, Sophie Rowell and Konstantin Shamray in this most beautiful season is a delight, as indeed it is to welcome back old friends, the Goldner Quartet with Piers Lane, and Diana Doherty with the Streeton Trio.

Hovering over all this is the work and ideas of a new friend, the outstanding visual artist and poet Judith Nangala Crispin, whose collaboration with Musica Viva in 2021 as our Artist in Residence will leave its mark for many years to come.

So please join us in 2021, for as Joyce says in conclusion to the above poem, ‘The year, the year is gathering.’ 

Paul Kildea

View the full 2021 Concert Season.

Upcoming Concerts