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Canberra International Music Festival

The Canberra International Music Festival celebrates music, Einstein and you.

On Friday 1 May, the Canberra International Music Festival launches a stunning program of over 30 concerts and free events celebrating notions of space and time, sound and motion – Music, Einstein and You.

Inspired by one of the greatest physicists of all time, Albert Einstein, the 2015 festival runs from Friday 1 May to Sunday 10 May and offers a beautifully balanced program of music, from Einstein’s beloved Bach, Beethoven and Brahms, to contemporary works that reflect the fundamental shift in perspective that Einstein gave the world.

For Roland Peelman, Artistic Director of the Festival, there is a deep connection between Einstein’s theories of space and time with music:

“Music is art in time and in space. With e=mc2 Einstein redefined matter in function of time and space, and opened up our mind beyond anything we had previously imagined. Sound, the thing that catches our ear and draws us in, is perhaps the most seductive matter of all. It can soothe our sorrows, it can excite our senses, it can even hypnotise us. But we can never hold it, catch it! Einstein understood that simple magic like a small child. His new physics were not child play however. But it needed a childlike innocence to search that far.”

The festival features virtuosic performances from an impressive selection of award-winning musicians and artists drawn from around the world including Germany, Russia, Israel, Japan, Malta, the US and Australia. Acclaimed artists such has Maria Mazo, Kotaro Negano, Lisa Moore and many more.

The highlight of the opening weekend  (Friday 1 May to Sunday 3 May) is Beethoven – a piano for life, a grand, musical cycle of Beethoven’s thirty-two piano sonatas. Canberrans will have the unique opportunity to hear all thirty-two sonatas performed by nineteen world-class pianists, across seven different recitals, over three days. From the Moonlight to the Waldstein, the Tempest to the Appassionata, no two sonatas are the same, as if Beethoven reinvented the instrument thirty-two times over.

Three of Canberra’s most eminent scientists take centre stage to discuss String Theory and space exploration in the Sounds on Site concert series – five lunchtime concerts in some of Canberra’s most beautiful locations. Mt Stromlo Observatory, the Australian National Library, the High Court of Australia and the Australian National Botanic Gardens, provide a dramatic setting for five different and most spectacular festival experiences: music in relation to our history, the cosmos, the environment and scientific exploration. The music is specifically curated to fit the setting and includes music by festival composer-in-residence Kate Moore, as well Martin Wesley-Smith, Nigel Butterley and many more.

For the festival’s young audience, Sebastian and the Fox and other Creatures (Sunday 10 May) features the Woden Valley Youth Choir, Canberra Youth Music and Moorambilla Voices, an outback choir dedicated to helping young people find their voices, and presents a delightful interpretation of the TV fable by George Dreyfus.

A World of Glass (Sunday 10 May in the NGA) is a cult event not to be missed. The early masterpieces by Philip Glass, one of the most iconic figures of the late 20th century has been described as the “aural equivalent of standing at the top of a giant waterfall” (The Guardian). Performed by Ensemble Offspring, this concert promises to be a 2 and half hour blast of essential American minimalism.

Other highlights include the festival’s Opening Gala, Bach’s Universe (Friday 1 May), Bach’s Coffee Cantata (yes, coffee is included) on Sunday 3 May, Hildegard’s Ordo Virtutum (Wed 6 May), Brahms at Twilight (Thursday 7 May) and the festival Closing Concert to celebrate Jewish Culture featuring Deborah Conway, all Festival artists and the Moorambilla Voices (Sunday 10 May).

For full program information, please visit www.cimf.org.au/festival-overview

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