PERFORMING at Port Fairy’s Spring Music Festival presents artists and organisers with an interesting challenge — finding new ways to keep classical music relevant and modern.
At the end of the three-day festival, organisers behind the event have good reason to believe they’ve struck the right balance.
Ticket sales matched last year’s records and visitors filled the Reardon Theatre, Drill and Lecture halls over the weekend to hear some of the best national and international classical and chamber music performers.
A truck arrived late Friday delivering grand pianos around town while violin cases became a common site on the corner of Sackville and Bank streets.
But finding ways to keep classical music fresh is something organisers are well aware of. “We don’t want to be curators,” artistic director Anna Goldsworthy explained. “I didn’t want it to have a dusty museum feel ... I always like to introduce new elements.
“One of our challenges as classical musicians is to find a way to communicate that to audiences.”
There were some interesting additions to the festival this year, including branching into indigenous music with the Black Arm Band performing Dirt Song — a performance composed in multiple Aboriginal languages. “Another thing that really stood out was the international premiere of the Last Word by Andrew Ford, a song cycle using the last words of historical figures,” Ms Goldsworthy said.
A late-night cabaret and raunchy burlesque performance at the Drill Hall was also added this year. More traditionally, Moscow-based pianist Yuri Rozum received a standing ovation on Saturday for his performance of Tchaikovsky’s The Seasons and the Nutcracker Suite.