Season Preview: Your guide to the arts in 2024

Now in its fifth year, Bendigo Chamber Music Festival (BCMF) has announced its 2024 program, spanning 31 Jan – 4 Feb. The festival’s partnership with London’s Young Classical Artists Trust continues and brings with it two French rising stars – violinist Irène Duval and oboist Armand Djikoloum – for exclusive performances.

Bendigo Chamber Music Festival

Bendigo Chamber Music Festival. Photo supplied.

It’s a partnership that co-director Howard Penny is “thrilled” to be sustaining.

“To the lineup of the absolute best Australia-based artists, some regulars at BCMF and some for the first time, we’re adding some vibrant young emerging talents from ANAM. What a dream team!”

Festival favourites violinists Sophie Rowell and Natsuko Yoshimoto, pianist Daniel de Borah and violist Tobias Breider also return to the BCMF, alongside Anna Goldsworthy, Holly Piccoli, Ashlyn Tymms, Thomas Chawner, Timothy Young and Lyndon Watts. The festival also invites three ANAM students to perform: violinist Louise Turnbull, violist Jamie Miles and cellist Noah Lawrence.

The program opens with the first of the Festival’s four-part Summer Nights series on 31 Jan. On the program is Wagner’s Der Engel, Debussy’s piano duo Six éphigraphe antiques, Eberl’s Quintet in C major and Mendelssohn’s String Symphony No. 7, putting all BCFM string players to work.

The Festival’s beloved three-part Dusk series also returns in 2024. Its first concert offers a collection of rare chamber works with Krommer’s Oboe Quartet and Dohnányi’s Serenade in C major for String Trio, and its second delights in the duo with Schubert’s Märchenbilder and Stravinsky’s Suite Italienne. Brahms’ First Violin Sonata, Kodaly’s Intermezzo for String Trio and a Tamplini Fantasia bring it to an end.

The second in the Summer Nights series centres on the piano with Beethoven’s Cello Sonata No. 1, Chausson’s Perpetuelle and a two-piano iteration of Rachmaninov’s Symphonic Dances, while its third lines up works by Bach, Handel, Vivaldi and Mendelssohn for Friday Night Fireworks. The series with the Mayor’s Gala with works by Mozart, Françaix, Schuman and de Falla.

Bendigo Chamber Music Festival

Andrew Goodwin and Daniel De Borah perform at Forest Street Uniting Church during the 2020 Bendigo Chamber Music Festival. Photo © Brendan McCarthy

In celebration of immense local talent, the BCMF orchestra joins forces with the Bendigo Symphony Orchestra for two concertos in one community concert. The special event makes way for Bendigo-born soloists; ANAM student Noah Lawrence takes the lead in Haydn’s Cello Concerto No. 1, while Melbourne Symphony Orchestra horn player Andrew Young heads Mozart’s Horn Concerto No. 4.

Three Morning Recital Series performances grace the middle days of the festival. Two conversation concerts will also take place across 1 – 2 Feb. In The Power of the Commission, Howlett delves into the value and incredible result of supporting the arts. On the following day, Penny talks through Schumann’s groundbreaking Piano Quintet before showcasing it in performance with Breider, Duval, Yoshimoto and de Borah.

The Festival’s final Concert on 4 February (subtitled Until Next Year) is a fitting farewell. Bach’s Concerto for Oboe and Violin once again unites the festival’s strings next to Saint-Säens, Haydn and Niels Gade’s Octet in F major, to bring the Festival to a close.

BCFM will also host a masterclass on 3 February as hosted by pianist Goldsworthy and violist Chawner for emerging local musicians.

“I can’t believe we are up to our fifth festival already! It’s been an amazing four years, with an amount of stress as we managed to navigate the COVID lockdowns,” said co-director Chris Howlett.

“We’re probably one of the only festivals to have presented every year in 2021, 2022 and 2023. When you put together a festival, you always dream that everyone you ask says yes – and for 2024, they did! I can’t wait to bring all theses amazing artists to the beautiful venues of Bendigo for a stellar five days of music making.”

Tickets and more information about the 2024 Bendigo Chamber Music Festival can be found here

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