Roland Peelman takes a bow

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IN a move which will surprise few music lovers, The Song Company’s artistic director for nearly 25 years, Roland Peelman, has announced he will be stepping down from the position at the end of the 2015 season.

Roland Peelman conducting, photo Peter Hislop
Roland Peelman conducting, photo Peter Hislop

Peelman, whom we recently described as “dynamic yet cerebral,” is also the new artistic director of the Canberra International Music Festival and is about to embark on an ambitious program for next year which is subtitled “Music, Einstein and You!”

In announcing his decision, Peelman said that when in 1990 he first joined The Song Company, which is now synonymous with his name, he imagined it would be for a transitional period of two years, but he stayed on, turning it into one of the country’s premier vocal ensembles which he has taken to music festivals in Europe and Asia.

Recently the Belgium-born Peelman told “CityNews” that his home was “in a suitcase,” so busy was his conducting schedule.

With a reputation as a rain hail or shine conductor, last night as he was seen battling the elements in the National Arboretum as conductor of the Voices in the Forest Orchestra.

Song Company chair, Penny Le Couteur said: “As we embark on a global search for a successor to Roland, we are committed to an organic and smooth transition to a new artistic director, ensuring continuity in the ensemble’s high standards.”Reflecting on his long tenure with The Song Company, Peelman said he counted as particular highlights the success and audience acclaim of international tours, and the Easter performances of the ‘Tenebrae series’ over three years.

Meantime ticket sales are swinging into action for the 2015 Canberra International Music Festival, bookings to

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Helen Musa
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