CANBERRA International Music Festival director Roland Peelman has never been one to take festival titles too seriously, but this time round he’s hit the jackpot in choosing the theme “Pole to Pole” for the 2022 event.
Announcing the coming program virtually from his hometown, the ancient city of Ghent in Belgium, he assured festival patrons that he would be returning to Australia very soon and was looking forward to meeting them “live” in Canberra.
Peelman proclaimed philosophically that the world was a place full of contrast, from the hot and sweaty tropics to the bitterly cold polar regions, yet people had always found ways of “traversing difficult spots, finding the difficult routes.”
In the process he said, humans had discovered new wonders of nature, a bond with animals and “the sheer pleasure we find in walking.”
With all that in mind, he said, he had put together next year’s festival as a discovery of the track and trails we traverse, with early music from Spain, new music from Australia, Polish piano, music from the Middle East, the very best of European music and even a celebration of Jackson Pollock’s painting, “Blue Poles”.
Focal composer for 2022 was to be Josef Haydn, whose masterpiece oratorio, “The Creation”, directed by Peelman himself, would open the festival, featuring the finest voices from Australia and NZ and the Australian Haydn Ensemble, which will be celebrating its 10th anniversary.
In “Haydn for Breakfast”, six of Haydn’s “Sun” quartets would be served up each morning of the festival too and to make that happen, no fewer than five string quartets would be in town.
In 2022 he would, he said, be “shining a very big light the Land of the Long White Cloud, with a whole delegation from our neighbouring country and a festival highlight in which Māori musician and composer Horomona Horo, would perform with the NZ String Quartet.
A distinctive multi-media event would see an indigenous traditional trail honoured as John Blay reads from his book “On Track Searching Out the Bundian Way”, to new music from Kate Neal, Brenda Gifford, Damian Barbeler and Eric Avery.
Peelman’s idiosyncratic yet always musical approach programming can be seen in the events planned, from the SIEVX Memorial ceremony at Weston Park, to the now traditional musical walks through National Botanic Gardens, a Bach, Beethoven, Brahms and Bartok concert called “The B Factor” and a silent group walk guided by Kelly Corner.
My personal favourite is “Ears Up”, a free concert in Haig Park for dogs and their owners, comprising “specially attuned pitch material for hyper-sensitive ears”.
Canberra International Music Festival: “Pole to Pole”, April 26 -May 8, Book here
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