Unexpected delights at the Canberra International Music Festival

Canberra International Music Festival 6 April 2021
Matt Keegan and Veronique Serret performing Vienna Dreaming

Matt Keegan and Veronique Serret in Vienna Dreaming. Photo: Supplied.

You are bound to find some unexpected musical treats at the 2021 Canberra International Music Festival, where you can experience jazz, rap and cabaret performed by established greats and emerging artists.

Pop, jazz, funk blues and classical melodies are fused in Matt Keegan: Vienna Dreaming. Leading saxophonist Matt Keegan has harnessed his ‘singular talent’ (Limelight magazine) to delve into his family’s Viennese history to share the story of his great grandfather, Heini Portnoj (1895-1984).

A pianist and composer working in Vienna between World War I and World War II, Portnoj eventually fled the Nazis with his family and travelled to Australia. The music, described as ‘powerful’ and a ‘major achievement’ by The Australian, is accompanied by a video work which combines historic photography of Portnoj’s journey with animation. There will be one show only on 17 April at the Street Theatre.

Josh Cohen performing on piano

Catch Josh Cohen: Radiohead for Solo Piano at Verity Lane Market on 21 April. Photo: Supplied.

In collaboration with Verity Lane Market, the Canberra International Music Festival presents Sessions@Verity, where audiences will be enticed into a unique musical landscape.

Experience a different kind of unplugged with Josh Cohen: Radiohead for Solo Piano on 21 April. Iconic UK band Radiohead fiercely protects its reputation and catalogue, but Josh got the thumbs-up to perform his Radiohead songbook around the world. The legendary band is constantly evolving, and Cohen’s interpretations take the music to new frontiers.

Andrew Blanch and Ariel Nurhadi playing guitars

Catch guitar virtuoso duo Andrew Blanch and Ariel Nurhadi on 23 April at Sessions@Verity. Photo: Supplied.

If dazzling guitar playing is your thing, come and see Andrew Blanch and Ariel Nurhadi perform works by Debussy, Rameau, Piazzolla, Albeniz, de Falla and Granados at Sessions@Verity. They have been performing as a 12-string duo since 2014, and you can hear these ‘two stunning young guitarists’ (Sydney Arts Guide) on 23 April.

Pianist Ronan Apcar

Pianist Ronan Apcar will perform on 27 April. Photo: Supplied.

One of the youngest artists at this year’s festival is pianist Ronan Apcar. On 27 April, he will present an evening of off-beat piano that crosses the boundaries of jazz and classical. With pieces by Kapustin, Prokofiev, Gershwin, Ginastera and more, Ronan adds a light Armenian twist and a distinctly personal touch to his performance.

Madame Lark and Sonya Lifschitz

Madame Lark and Sonya Lifschitz perform Crumb’s Lyre on 28 April. Photo: Supplied.

Crumb’s Lyre is a delicious piece of surreal late-night theatre based on legendary composer George Crumb’s zodiac-inspired fantasy pieces – Crumb wrote some of the intense music in Stanly Kubrick’s legendary film, 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Madame Lark – vocalist Christine Johnston – can make lifelike birdcalls, plays a saw and uses an ancient projector to ‘teach’ her audience. Pianist Sonya Lifschitz is just as likely to pluck and strum the strings inside a piano, as she is to unleash her virtuosity on the ivories. They have joined forces to create a colliding world of music, comedy and performance art at Sessions@Verity on 28 April.

Localjinni AlleyHART video walk

The Localjinni AlleyHART video walk. Photo: Supplied.

The Crumb’s Lyre performance will be preceded by the Localjinni AlleyHART video walk from 6:30 pm to 7:30 pm on 28 April. Enjoy a circular saunter around Canberra’s city centre streets and snickelways – who knew this was the word for back lanes? – with an immersive sightseeing experience.

Indigenous rapper DOBBY

Indigenous rapper DOBBY. Photo: Supplied.

Don’t miss rapper DOBBY with DJ Diola on 6 May in a live show described as ‘mind-blowing’, ‘dynamic’ and ‘powerful’ by critics. DOBBY proudly identifies as a Filipino and Aboriginal musician whose family is from Brewarrina on Ngemba land, and he is a member of the Murrawarri Republic in Weilmoringle, NSW. He has performed extensively locally including at BIGSOUND and the Sydney Opera House, and internationally in Germany, UK, USA and Netherlands.

Sandy Evans Trio

Sandy Evans Trio perform at Verity Lane Market on 7 May. Photo: Supplied.

The final offering at the festival is one of Australia’s great jazz luminaries, Sandy Evans. With a reputation for fearless collaborations and monumental projects, the Sandy Evans Trio crown the Verity Lane series by returning to their roots with pure, unbridled music making on 7 May at Verity Lane Market.

For more information and tickets, visit Canberra International Music Festival.


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