Musica Viva and artistic director Paul Kildea bring back international tours to Perth Concert Hall in 2022

David CusworthThe West Australian
Pianist Andrea Lam joins jazz legend Paul Grabowsky in Bach’s Goldberg Variations for Musica Viva in 2022.
Camera IconPianist Andrea Lam joins jazz legend Paul Grabowsky in Bach’s Goldberg Variations for Musica Viva in 2022. Credit: Jacquie Manning, Sydney Festival 2021

The past 18 months have been disruptive but also creative for Musica Viva Australia artistic director Paul Kildea, with international and national tours cancelled by COVID curbs.

“Every time we can’t get over the border we have to put something else on your stage, so that’s what I’ve been doing,” he says.

“And if you times that by four or five for all the other States, it’s been busy all the while we’ve been planning for the coming season, and big projects in the subsequent ones.”

Next year’s program, launched this week, should see six high-profile chamber music tours at the Concert Hall.

“We built in a little bit of leeway, in that there aren’t international artists in the first half of the year,” Kildea says.

Musica Viva artistic director Paul Kildea.
Camera IconMusica Viva artistic director Paul Kildea. Credit: John Appleyard

“Most (tours) from now on are going to be collaborations between Australians and international artists, or writers, or musicians, or whatever. That starts in July with the Winter’s Journey project, bringing in (British tenor) Allan Clayton with a largely Australian creative team.”

It’s a reimagining of Schubert’s Winterreise song cycle with Clayton and pianist Kate Golla, directed by Lindy Hume, set to 24 landscapes by the late Australian artist Fred Williams.

“So we’ve got that leeway, that guarantee, then it’s just down to the State borders and the hope they stay open next year,” Kildea says.

“Of course, the first cab off the rank won’t get into your State, but we’ve programmed something in its place with the hope that by the second tour WA will be open.”

So for the Perth Festival in February, the Eastern States tour of guitarist Karin Schaupp with the Flinders Quartet will be replaced by the Darlington Quartet and WAAPA associate professor Jonathan Paget on guitar, given definitive advice from the WA Government that travel won’t be possible.

Allan Clayton and Kate Golla collaborate for A Winter’s Journey with Musica Viva.
Camera IconAllan Clayton and Kate Golla collaborate for A Winter’s Journey with Musica Viva.

Future tours will look more like the Winter’s Journey, a “very bespoke project” Kildea hopes to take overseas after its Australian debut.

“It’s not a matter of what are they playing in Europe and can they perform that in Australia,” Kildea says. “Each project and each tour is really carefully curated.”

Season highlights include conductor-violinist Kristian Winther with Kurt Weill’s Violin Concerto rearranged for Germany’s Signum Saxophone Quartet.

“Because we don’t here the Weill out here in Australia, it’s just not mainstream enough, so to be able to do that in seven or eight performances throughout Australia, that’s pretty exciting,” Kildea says.

Signum Saxophone Quartet join conductor-violinist Kristian Winther on tour for Musica Viva in 2022.
Camera IconSignum Saxophone Quartet join conductor-violinist Kristian Winther on tour for Musica Viva in 2022.

He’s also revisiting Bach’s Goldberg Variations, played by returning Australian pianist Andrea Lam and reimagined by Australian jazz legend Paul Grabowsky, a combination that originated at the Perth Festival two decades ago when a visiting pianist pulled out last minute.

“So I rang Paul Grabowsky and said, ‘There’s this really specific project in two days, will you fly here?’” Kildea remembers.

“And he’d just been in Perth two days earlier, and he said, ‘OK’, and he flew back. I said, ‘It’s a really specific brief, you can’t deviate from it’, and he did it, and it was so creative and gorgeous.”

Paul Grabowsky.
Camera IconPaul Grabowsky. Credit: Alice Healy

Israeli mandolin Avi Avital player returns after his 2018 success, this time with Italian cellist Giovanni Sollima and music from four centuries of Mediterranean culture.

“They both grew up on different sides of the Mediterranean and what that meant in terms of perspective, and the different musics in that program, are very much about how they grew up, and what they grew up surrounded by in the different sounds,” Kildea says.

“The idea is they tell stories to each other, and play together, of course.”

Rounding out the program are the British Z.E.N Trio, playing works by Musica Viva Futuremaker Matt Laing and others; and Tasmanian chamber orchestra Van Diemen’s Band and violinist Julia Fredersdorff, with music from the “historic borderlands of Europe”.

“To be able to tour Van Diemen’s Band and Julia Fredersdorff throughout Australia is thrilling,” Kildea says. “They would never be able to do a national tour, so we can hook up with them and do something really creative, which we’ve done in the program.”

Kildea is beyond excited about seeing these plans happen.

“It’s funny, we were talking to our council the other day and our council president said, ‘Well Paul, what’s your Plan B’, and I said, ‘How funny that you should think that this is Plan A, we are way down the alphabet’.

“And to get way down the alphabet as we’re surfing COVID, and to come up with something that I’m so thrilled about, to me, it’s just a great gift.”

www.musicaviva.com.au

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