Beethoven is in the wind, down by the sea

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Four Winds Music Festival artistic director James Crabb.

IT’LL be a case of “Beethoven meets the Bush” at Barragga Bay for the Four Winds Music Festival this year if artistic director James Crabb has anything to do with it.

Beethoven will be to the fore during a gala finale in the outdoor amphitheatre on the afternoon of Easter Sunday in a performance, Crabb says, “ the scale of which has never been seen at Four Winds”.

Shakuhachi player Riley Lee.

The gala begins with an East-West journey through earth, air, water, fire and ether in “Five Elements”, performed by the Enigma Quartet and shakuhachi player Riley Lee, playing pieces by composers such as Ross Edwards, David Hirschfelder, Anne Boyd and Peter Sculthorpe.

It continues with songs from around the world by a cappella group Coco’s Lunch, culminating in the performance of Beethoven’s “Coriolan” overture and Piano Concerto No. 3 by Austrian pianist Stefan Vladar and the festival orchestra.

The enthusiasm of Scottish-born classical accordionist Crabb is infectious as he outlines his plan to take Four Winds to the real people.

Swedish lutenist Jakob Lindberg.

There will still be exclusive house concerts in Wapengo and Tanja by luminaries, including Swedish lutenist Jakob Lindberg and British soprano Dame Emma Kirkby, but there will also be a move into the immediate region with a world music performance by Riley Lee, Bobby Singh, Jeremy Rose and Crabb himself on Maundy Thursday, April 18, in Tilba Central Big Hall, preceded by a music workshop in the village.

A youth concert aimed at primary-aged children will take place in Bermagui Community Centre on Good Friday morning, April 19, featuring “Mulga Bill’s Bicycle”, a new madcap musical composed by Elena Kats-Chernin and Christina Leonard during a Four Winds artists’ residency in January this year.

Then, on the same evening, there’ll be a free community concert on Dickinson Oval, Bermagui, where festival and local artists will mingle on stage.

He is naturally excited about his visiting musicians, Compass Saxophone Quartet, Enigma, Arcadia Winds, the Australian String Quartet and the festival orchestra. Over the festival’s four days, a series of more intimate concerts will also take place in the 200-seat indoor performance space, the Windsong Pavilion.

One of the quirkiest yet most enticing events for 2019 will be a yoga session in the Bermagui Surf Club on Easter morning. That night there’ll be a Sunday after-dark concert that Crabb describes as “a meeting of a slightly different flavour”.

Canberrans can now take a bus from the Canberra Theatre in the morning and be home by 8.30pm. Inquiries to 6493 3414.

Four Winds Festival 2019, Barragga Bay, 9kms south of Bermagui, April 18-21, bookings to

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Helen Musa
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