7 September 2023

Eugene Ughetti announced as new artistic director for the Canberra International Music Festival

| Kim Treasure
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man standing in laneway

Eugene Ughetti will be the new artistic director of the Canberra International Music Festival. Photo: Bryony Jackson.

A bright new future beckons for Canberra’s music scene with the announcement that Eugene Ughetti has been appointed the Canberra International Music Festival’s (CIMF) new artistic director, succeeding current director Roland Peelman next year.

The Melbourne-based composer, conductor and musician is the director and founder of multi-award-winning arts company Speak Percussion, winning the inaugural Sidney Myer Creative Fellowship (2012), the MCA/Freedman Fellowship for Classical Music (2011), an Australia Council Creative Music Fellowship, and various national Art Music Awards for his work with the company.

Roland Peelman will complete his second term after the 2024 festival. He was recently recognised with a national Luminary citation from the Australian Art Awards, celebrating his sustained service as a conductor, pianist, artistic director and mentor to composers, singers and instrumentalists.

In 2024, CIMF will also move to a five-day event from 3 to 7 May in response to strong demand from the Festival audience. The intent is to create an exciting festival atmosphere with multiple choices for the audience and interstate tourists, whose numbers have grown by around 30 per cent over the past four years.

man standing near orchestra

Roland Peelman has driven exceptional levels of musical excellence and completes his term with CIMF in 2024. Photo: File.

CIMF chair Genevieve Jacobs said Eugene’s appointment followed a national search that attracted more than 60 candidates.

“Eugene presented us with a compelling vision for CIMF’s future, building on the standards of excellence established by Roland Peelman since 2015,” Ms Jacobs said.

“CIMF has been extraordinarily fortunate in the calibre of our artistic directors and we’re excited about this new era, aligning with the ACT’s ambition to become Australia’s arts capital.”

Mr Ughetti is known for tackling ambitious music projects and collaborations. He has composed work for the Australian Ballet, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, the ABC and has worked with some of the world’s best-known conductors, including Valery Gergiev, James Levine and Charles Dutoit.

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“I am thrilled to embark on this wonderful journey,” Mr Ughetti said.

“CIMF stands as one of Australia’s most distinguished art music festivals set against the backdrop of world-class institutions, remarkable architecture, and breathtaking sites. It boasts a rich legacy of excellence and innovation, having been a catalyst for numerous new Australian compositions. All of this unfolds within the vibrant context of a progressive and intellectually driven city.

“Curating projects and fostering collaborations involving the finest local, national, and international musicians is an extraordinary privilege, and I am deeply grateful for this opportunity.”

woman with arms folded

AJ America has joined CIMF as artistic associate. Photo: Hilary Wardhaugh.

CIMF also recently appointed AJ America as the organisation’s artistic associate, working closely with the artistic director. Ms America founded the Luminescence Chamber Singers and Children’s Choir, and was also honoured in the Australian art awards with recognition of her arts leadership in the ACT. She also currently chairs the ACT arts minister’s advisory council.

The Festival has also announced a partnership with the Snow Concert Hall at Canberra Grammar for evening performances. It will present around 20 concerts across Canberra in multiple venues, including national institutions.

“We are excited and delighted by the opportunities our new venue affords us and look forward to a packed program in some of Canberra’s most iconic locations,” Ms Jacobs added.

Stay up to date with the 2024 program at CIMF.

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