Music explores the cost of war

IT’S a full month today until the Canberra International Music Festival is launched on May 9, but that doesn’t perturb the Festival’s artistic director and 2013 “CityNews” Artist of the Year, Chris Latham, as he embarks on the first of a series of festival previews.

latham 2

Latham, who has constructed a festival largely devoted towards music related to World War I for this his final event, is staging a conversation and concert tomorrow night at the Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House, on the subject, “Living democracy: the cultural cost of war.”

Alex Sloan

Alex Sloan

ABC radio presenter, Alex Sloan, will moderate a conversation Latham and a panel of European Ambassadors, not least the Ambassador of the European Union (EU) Delegation, Sem Fabrizi, the Belgian Ambassador Jean-Luc Bodson, the French Ambassador Stephane Romatet and German Ambassador Dr Christoph Muller, who will talk about the cultural cost of war in the lead-up to the centenary of the commencement of WWI and the 75th anniversary of the outbreak of WWII.

Cellist David Pereira

Cellist David Pereira

But there’s more. The evening will also include performances of relevant works from the 2014 festival program by cellist David Pereira, soprano Louise Page and pianists Phillipa Candy and Elaine Loebenstein.

According to Latham, the years immediately before World War I “witnessed the dawn of a new age, producing men and women of remarkable talent. In the field of music in particular, a large percentage of these composers and performers were cut down by either the Great War, or its evil twin – the Spanish flu.”

Latham has taken a keen scholarly interest in the strongly productive if short lives of these composers, many of whom wrote their works in the trenches.

He also sees the formation of the European Union, after almost a century of European civil war, as a process that “would finally transform those conflicting states into a stable, united and prosperous continent.”

“Living democracy: the cultural cost of war,” Kings Hall, Old Parliament House, Thursday, April 10, 6pm drinks, 6:30pm concert. Event duration 80 mins approx. Bookings to

Canberra International Music Festival, May 9-18, bookings to

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