6 December 2018

Music and beautiful native garden set the scene for a dreamy Sunday

| John Thistleton
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The Walcotts’ lovely garden will be the backdrop for a feast of relaxing music on Sunday. Photos: Supplied.

Up close to acclaimed performers, in the privacy of one of Canberra’s most stunning native gardens, lovers of live music can while away the hours of a dreamy, summer Sunday afternoon.

Playing inside the living room as well, and at various points of interest, including a large tranquil pool, the stars of Canberra International Music Festival will present Summer Music at Walcott Garden, an easy-going, relaxing afternoon on Sunday (9 December) from 3 – 7 pm.

The Canberra International Music Festival has grown into an event of national significance and will finish a remarkable year with this special event.

Artistic director Roland Peelman says not only have the Walcotts lovingly designed and built a beautiful garden, but they also happen to love music at the same time.

“The garden is an unbelievably beautiful native garden, with many rare, precious plants from all round Australia, the way it has been designed, I think invites music,” Peelman says.

“Music is often used for people to relax to, to find inner peace. Gardens traditionally have been designed for people to put their soul to rest.”

In a year when the festival has increased its box office income and tripled its interstate attendance, the finale could justifiably be a fanfare – instead, it will be a peaceful statement of joy.

Artistic director Roland Peelman has prepared a treat for Canberra music lovers on Sunday.

Artistic director Roland Peelman has prepared a treat for Canberra music lovers on Sunday.

“It seemed like every event in the Festival this year really worked; the diversity of the audience, greater numbers have come from all around Australia,” says Peelman, reflecting on this year’s highlights.

“It was an immense plus to have 26 per cent of audiences from outside the ACT, that is just wonderful to see. The profile of the festival has grown so much over the years and we hope to build on that,” he says.

“We are in really good shape to look forward to our 25th anniversary [2019] and dare I say well beyond that,” Peelman says.

“It looks like we will have a beautiful day on Sunday and what better, on a breezy Sunday afternoon, than spend it in such a beautiful and private garden which isn’t always open? To be able to enjoy all of that together with music, it gives you a different experience. That is what a festival is all about, creating experiences for people to hear music anew,” Peelman, one of Australia’s most renowned musicians, says.

Peelman will accompany Thomas Azoury playing the clarinet inside the Walcotts’ living room, which he says will be transformed into a mini concert hall, creating an intimacy not always evident in normal concert halls. Dominic Hill, Ben Drury, Donica Tran and Xing Xu will also perform inside and outside. Among the outdoor musicians, the Jess Green Trio will play standards and jazz standards, showing why Peelman rates them the best musicians this town has to offer. Lachlan Coventry on guitar and Chris Thwaites on drums will accompany Green, a Canberra-born singer/songwriter and guitarist who has returned to her hometown.

“It is wonderful to have her living in Canberra and we have even made her composer in residence at next year’s festival,” Peelman says. “That will be on the lighter end of the spectrum.”

Each year the festival aims to be the best ever, and is fast attaining the status of the most encompassing, the most sophisticated and the most researched, and loved music festival in Australia.

On Sunday, take a glimpse at the Summer Music event, which runs from 3 pm to 7 pm at Walcott Garden, 10 Wickham Crescent, Red Hill. Tickets are only $20, and children $5. Click here to purchase.


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