The 25th Canberra International Music Festival is called re/discover Bach, but you don’t have to be a Bach lover or even a classical music aficionado to love this festival. From May 2 to 12, you will be able to hear Latin American dance music, tap your feet to French marimba players, be overawed by acrobats, spend an evening with a jazz great or be transported to Africa – all the while staying in Australia’s cool little capital.
With such a great line-up of talent, it’s easy to get lost in all the excitement. Here’s our simple guide to all the great events you could participate and enjoy at the Festival.
1. Grab your partner and head to Canberra for a little Latin American Romance; Los Pitutos are five classically trained musicians from Chile and Columbia, based in Berlin, who decided to resurrect traditional folk tunes and ballroom music from the pre-revolutionary days. With voices to die for and guitars to seduce you, not to mention the somewhat surprising horn and trumpet, this band, in their first Australian appearance, will sweep you off your feet. Saturday, May 4, 8:30 pm – 9:40 pm at the Fitters’ Workshop, Kingston. Tickets can be purchased here.
2. How about a music festival featuring acrobats? Yes, you read that right – the opening gig, English Baroque with Circa, features music from England way before Brexit was a gleam in anyone’s eye, accompanied by the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra and a troupe of the most astonishing acrobats, Circa, plus Jane Sheldon, a New York-based singer whose pure clear voice soars to the rooftops. Jane captivated the UK in the country’s third most popular TV ad when Lloyds Bank used her recording of Eliza’s aria, (Elena Kats-Chernin), a tune also used as a theme tune by Philip Adams, long-time host of ABC RN’s Late Night Live. It has become one of Australia’s best-known classical pieces. Thursday, May 2, 7:30 pm – 9 pm at Llewellyn Hall. Tickets here.
3. Spend the evening with award-winning jazz pianist Dan Tepfer, also an improviser and composer who hails from New York. New York Magazine has called him ‘one of the moment’s most adventurous and relevant musicians’, and Time Out calls him a ‘piano star’. He’ll be improvising up late at Smith’s Alternative– and who knows who will turn up from the festival to play with him? Saturday, May 11, 10 pm – 11:30 pm at Smith’s Alternative. Tickets here.
4. It will be hard to keep your feet on the ground when you hear three young French percussionists play dance tunes from their album ‘Alors on danse?’ Marie-Antoinette may well have danced to the Gavottes, Sarabandes and Gigues played by SR9 – these Frenchmen twinkle away on the marimbas, giving a light and contemporary feel to these eighteenth-century dances, and they may pop in a few from more recent times too. Saturday, May 4, 2:30 pm – 3:40 pm at the Fitters’ Workshop, Kingston. Tickets here.
5. The Kora is a traditional African stringed instrument that looks a little like an oversized banjo which players rest on their feet, and it has a wonderfully fluid harp-like sound similar to a waterfall of notes cascading. This instrument is played from the deserts of Mali to the coast of Senegal and now will be heard in Canberra, where you can be transported to Africa. Bach in Africa, Saturday, May 11, 2:30 pm – 3:45 pm at the Fitter’s Workshop, Kingston. Grab your tickets here.
Check it all out at CIMF.org.au