18 March 2021

Seven things you can discover at the Canberra International Music Festival

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Veronique Serret & William Barton

Veronique Serret & William Barton play Heartland – the idea of Vienna means something new and exciting. Photo: Anthony Browell.

The Canberra International Music Festival is off to Vienna this year, but not the Vienna of the waltz and the schnitzel. It is all about Vienna as a great crossroads of all things new and exciting – the idea of Vienna.

From 30 April to 9 May you can experience glorious live music by some of Australia’s best artists in Canberra’s most appealing and COVID safe venues. There is something for everyone and here is just a small sample for you to discover.

Take a music discovery walk through the Australian National Botanic Gardens with Magic Garden. Stroll through the rainforest gully, rock gardens and the new Banksia Gardens and be surprised and delighted by Festival musicians nestled among the greenery of the Gardens. It will be a magical experience as you discover the variety of musicians taking part in the Festival.


You never know who you will find in the Magic Garden. Photo: Peter Hislop.

Explore the traditional and modern sounds of Turkey in this intriguing exploration of the Harim. Look through the veil to the secret place of devotion, artistic pursuit and at times political intrigue. Be mesmerised by the haunting sounds of traditional Sufi music and by multi-instrumentalist, Baran Yildiz’s combination of Middle East and African rhythms and melodies. Experience Baran’s internationally acclaimed playing of the handpan, a modern metal drum that captures the sounds of the Trinidadian steelpan, Indian ghatam and Indonesian gamelan.

What came first the tango or waltz? Experience both in all their glory and be transported to the dance halls of Vienna and Buenos Aires to the sounds of the accordion, saxophone, double bass and percussion. Waltz to Tango will have you tapping your feet to the ‘nuevo tango’ and fighting the urge to get up and dance.

If jazz is your thing, come and explore Ahimsa – Meditations on Gandhi created and directed by jazz luminary and saxophone player Sandy Evans. Jazz music combined with Hindustani and Carnatic chant is performed by the very best sitar and tabla players in Australia. Through the music you will experience the fundamental idea from Gandhi’s writings on Ahimsa (non-violence). A truly unique experience awaits.

Food and music go hand in hand and this year the Festival has joined forces with Canberra’s newest gastronomic experience Verity Lane Market to present Sessions@Verity in the run-up to the Festival from 21 to 28 April, and during Festival. The Sessions, held upstairs in a cabaret-like style, kick off with the ‘beautiful but unsettled’ music of Radiohead performed by the pianist Josh Cohen.

Christine Johnson

Christine Johnson will be playing the wild woman at Sessions@Verity with Sonya Lipschitz in Plumb’s Lyre. Photo: Supplied.

The youngest performer in the Festival is 20-year-old Ramon Apcar. Already an award-winning pianist, he will delight you with rarely performed gems coupled with witty commentary. For a complete contrast, enjoy the powerful young voice of rap artist, DOBBY. A proud Filipino and Aboriginal musician from the Murrawarri Republic, he is already making an impact on the Australian music scene. In the rest of the not-to-be-missed Sessions@Verity, hear a stunning array of artists cross the boundaries of jazz, classical music and cabaret.

Tickets are now on sale for the 2021 Festival 30 April to 9 May. For more information visit Canberra International Music Festival

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