Former Canberran to head Four Winds Festival

AWARD-winning Australian conductor, writer, former head of Music for the Aldeburgh Festival and artistic director of Wigmore Hall, Paul Kildea, has been appointed the new artistic director of the Four Winds Festival, due to run from April 6-8 at Bermagui/Barragga Bay.

An internationally recognised expert on Benjamin Britten, Kildea has enjoyed a close relationship with Opera Australia and in 2012 he is conducting “The Magic Flute” and “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”.

The conductor Simone Young says: “Paul combines one of the best musical minds around with great instincts, exquisite musicality and a passion for making a work live and breathe.”

The fascinating aspect, to us, is that Kildea was born and raised in Canberra, handy when you consider that a significant proportion of Four Winds’ audience (and some volunteers) come from the ACT.

Born in Narrabundah, Canberra, he lived in the ACT for 18 years, attending St Bede’s, Red Hill and St Edmund’s College. His parents still live in the ACT.

Kildea says growing up in Canberra blessed him with two of the most important mentors he has ever had. One was his piano teacher, Keith Radford, of whom Paul says “he was a brilliant mentor and amazing teacher and he changed my life – he worked out what I was good at and got me there”. Radford now lives in Wagga Wagga and his old student is still in contact with him.

The other mentor he speaks fondly of is John Thompson, a trumpet teacher who taught at St Edmund’s and still lives in Canberra. Kildea says St Edmund’s was a very Rugby-oriented school but that many of Thompson’s former students perform in orchestras all over the world.

Unusually, Kildea does not come from a musical family background so his two Canberra mentors became extremely important in shaping the musician he would become.

Four Winds Festival, April 6-8 at Bermagui/Barragga Bay, information and bookings to

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Helen Musa
“CityNews” arts editor

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