Festival Artistic Director Carl Vine (AO) and Musica Viva Australia have assembled a very young, dynamic and exciting line-up of musicians.
The festival revels in the cornerstones of European chamber music, and with three pianists, two wind players, a soprano and the return of the ANAM Chamber Orchestra and two String Quartets, we will be treated to a rich and varied program full of great classical works interwoven with a selection of lesser known and contemporary pieces.
The artists playing at the Opening Weekend are marked with an asterisk*.
Pianists Jayson Gillham* (AU/UK) 'The next big thing in the piano world' (ABC Classics), Amir Farid* (AU/US) ‘Exquisitely refined and delicate touch’ (The Advertiser) and Aura Go (AU), Musica Viva’s Futuremaker for 2018, ‘A touchingly beautiful singing sound and a dazzling ability to elicit the multi-layered textures' (Rondo) are joined by two brilliant young European Wind soloists appearing exclusively at Huntington and making their Australian debut: Sebastian Manz - Clarinet (DE) ‘His enchantingly beautiful intonation and technical prowess is unparalleled' (Fono Forum) and Cristina Gómez Godoy* - Oboe (ES) ‘Miraculously effortless instinctiveness and balance' (Süddeutsche Newspaper). Soprano Taryn Fiebig ‘Great musical insight’ (SMH)will return to the stage for her first major commitment following a hiatus to recover from serious illness.
Huntington Estate Festival mainstays the utterly brilliant and beloved Goldner String Quartet* ‘Precisely remarkable…sublimely lovely’ (The Australian), and the exciting young Orava Quartet* ‘Warmth of sound, sublime inner-voicing and spontaneity’ (The Age) make welcome returns, and the biannual presence of the fantastic Australian National Academy of Music Chamber Orchestra, this time led from the unusual position of the Double-Bass seat by the deftly accomplished Damien Eckersley,is always a delight.
The Festival’s Artistic Director Carl Vine says, ‘the collection of artists for 2018 offers a dazzling kaleidoscope of chamber music possibilities as the repertoire weaves between all of the musicians and across three centuries of glorious musical history’.
Highlights include clarinet quintets by Mozart and Weber and masterful music for the oboe by Telemann, Britten, Mozart, Schumann and Saint-Saëns. Brahms is also a strong presence, alongside recent work by Nigel Westlake and our Artistic Director Carl Vine. We also get to enjoy not one but two world premieres in 2018, from gifted young Australian composers Elizabeth Younan and Harry Sdraulig.
'Such streamlined patrician elegance' Huffington Post, 'The next big thing in the piano world' ABC Classics.
Born and raised in Queensland, London-based pianist Jayson Gillham is recognised as one of the finest pianists of his generation. He is internationally praised for his compelling performances and relentless elegance. Jayson’s recent performances of Beethoven Piano Concerto No.4 with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, under the baton of Vladimir Ashkenazy, were met with critical acclaim.
After receiving numerous prizes from some of the world’s leading piano competitions, it was Jayson’s win at the 2014 Montreal International Music Competition that brought him to international attention. Jayson’s outstanding performance of Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No.4 was described as being performed “with such streamlined patrician elegance that he took home the 1st Prize and a string of engagements to follow.” (Huffington Post)
Jayson now performs with some of the world’s leading orchestras and conductors with recent and future highlights including engagements with the Sydney Symphony / Vladimir Ashkenazy, Melbourne Symphony / Benjamin Northey, Adelaide Symphony / Jeffrey Tate, West Australia Symphony / Asher Fisch, Queensland Symphony, London Philharmonic, Royal Philharmonic, the Hallé Orchestra, English Chamber Orchestra, Eroica Ensemble, Nashville Symphony / Asher Fisch, Orchestre Symphonique de Montreal, Orchestra Filarmonica Marchigiana and Wuhan Philharmonic.
"His enchantingly beautiful intonation and technical prowess is unparalleled" praises Holger Arnold in the Fono Forum; "one of the most talented clarinetists in the country" comments the ZDF morning show.
Sebastian Manz is the leading young clarinettist of today, widely sought-after as a soloist and chamber collaborator, including a recently announced invitation to join the prestigious ‘CMS Two’ program of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. He has been Principal Clarinet with the SWR Symphony Orchestra Stuttgart since 2010. Being the grandson of the Russian violinist Boris Goldstein and the son of two pianists, Sebastian Manz's musical roots are in his German-Russian family background. He began singing in a boys' choir at the age of six. He first learned the piano, at which he excelled, but after listening to Benny Goodman's recording of Carl Maria von Weber's E-flat major Concerto, a fascination and longing for the clarinet awoke. Among his most important teachers and supporters are the acclaimed clarinettists Sabine Meyer and Rainer Wehle.
His career was launched with his sensational success at the ARD International Music Competition in Munich in September 2008, where he won not only first prize in the Clarinet category, which had not been awarded for 40 years, but also the coveted Audience Prize and other special prizes. He had also won the German Music Competition just a few months previously. He makes his Australian debut for the Huntington Festival.
Spanish oboist Cristina Gómez Godoy combines technical brilliance with musical expressiveness, stunning virtuosity with artistic sensitivity and “miraculously effortless instinctiveness” (Süddeutsche Newspaper). She regularly impresses audiences at major festivals and concert halls around the world with her profound musicality and colour-rich sound.
Despite her young age, Cristina Gómez Godoy has already appeared with major orchestras such as the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Munich Chamber Orchestra in the Herkulessaal, with the Orchestra Sinfonica do Estado de São Paulo at Sala São Paulo, with the Filarmónica de Málaga in Spain, with the Polish Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra, and with the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, at the invitation of conductor Daniel Barenboim.In 2012, at age 21, she joined the Staatskapelle Berlin as Principal Cor Anglais, and in 2013, was appointed Principal Oboe.
As a valued guest she has played as principal oboe in leading orchestras including the Berlin Philharmonic, Filarmonica della Scala di Milano, Chamber Orchestra of Europe, London Symphony Orchestra, Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra among others, and played under renowned conductors such as Sir Simon Rattle, Riccardo Muti, Zubin Mehta, Andris Nelson, Gustavo Dudamel, Daniel Harding, and Alan Gilbert. In 2016 she joinedthe celebrated Orchestra of the Bayreuth Festival.
Cristina makes her first Australian appearances at this Festival.
A Huntington favourite, pianist Amir Farid has been described as “a highly creative musician – a pianist of great intelligence and integrity. He brings strong musical substance to all that he does, imbuing it with his own particular experience and understanding”, and who “in a well-populated field...distinguishes himself for all the right reasons”.
As one of the most versatile and loved musicians in Australia, and now based in New York, Amir has performed concerti with major orchestras, collaborating with conductors such as Christopher Hogwood, Oleg Caetani, Johannes Fritzsch, Alexander Briger, Marko Letonja and Benjamin Northey. Highlights include Rachmaninoff’s 2nd piano concerto with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra in front of a 13,000-strong crowd at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl, Mozart’s concerto No.14 with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, and “The Mozart Dances” with the Mark Morris Dance Group and West Australian Symphony Orchestra as part of the 2015 Perth Festival.
Recital collaborations includeperformances with tenor Ian Bostridge, saxophonist Claude Delangle, violinists Arabella Steinbacher and Nikki Chooi, violist Lise Berthaud, cellists Mats Lidström, Alexander Baillie and Martin Loveday, sopranos Greta Bradman and Siobhan Stagg, baritone Wolfgang Holzmair, flautist Michel Bellavance and clarinetist Philippe Cuper. As a chamber musician, Amir is pianist of the Benaud Trio, winning the Piano Trio prize at the 2005 Australian Chamber Music Competition. His excellence in chamber music has recently led to an appointment as staff pianist in the Vocal Arts department of the Juilliard School.
Australian pianist Aura Go enjoys an active and multifaceted musical life, performing as a soloist, chamber musician,Lieder pianist and conductor. She has been soloist with many of Australia's professional orchestras in concertos ranging from Bach, Mozart and Beethoven to Gubaidulina, Schnittke and Rautavaara. Marking the beginning of her ongoing interest in Finnish music, Aura gave the first Australian performances of Rautavaara’s first and second piano concertos with the Melbourne and Adelaide Symphony Orchestras in 2002 and 2003. She has been guest artist at many international music festivals including the Melbourne International Arts Festival, Metropolis New Music Festival, Bari International Chamber Music Festival, Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival, Heinävesi Music Festival and Edinburgh Festival. Recent performance highlights have included appearing as soloist with the Tapiola Sinfonietta in Aarre Merikanto’s third piano concerto for the 2017 PianoEspoo Festival(Finland), solo and chamber performances at the Kuhmo and Kauniainen music festivals in Finland, and recitals in Denmark, Poland, Italy and Australia.
Aura studied at the Victorian College of the Arts, at ANAM, and attained her Master of Music degree from the Yale School of Music, and is now a doctoral candidate at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki. Her artistic research addresses the aspect of creativity in classical music performance, drawing on the psycho-physical approach of actor Michael Chekhov and exploring ways in which musicians can achieve a more open, spontaneous creative state when practicing and performing.She is making her Huntington debut.
Regular guests at Huntington, the Goldner String Quartet has widespread and long-standing recognition for excellence, not only as Australia’s pre-eminent string quartet but as an ensemble of international significance, favourably compared with the best in the world. Officially launched in 1995, it still retains all four original members; an outstanding achievement, which is unique in the history of string quartets in Australia. The players are well known to Australian and international audiences through performances, recordings and their concurrent membership of the Australia Ensemble @UNSW. All members have occupied principal positions in organisations such as the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and the Australian Chamber Orchestra.
Recordings include a complete Beethoven string quartet cycle, the complete Carl Vine string quartets and a DVD documentary on Peter Sculthorpe’s quartets (ABC Classics), three volumes of Sculthorpe quartets (Tall Poppies), the complete quartets of Szymanowski and Stravinsky (Naxos), and quartets and quintets (with Piers Lane) by Bloch, Bridge, Dvořák, Elgar, Harty, Taneyev, Arensky, Vierne, Pierné, Bruch and Borodin (Hyperion).
The Orava Quartet is emerging as one of Australia’s most exciting chamber music ensembles. Their debut album, recorded in August 2017, is scheduled for release in February 2018 on the Deutsche Grammophon label.
Winner of the Musica Viva Australia Tony Berg Award for the Most Outstanding Australian Ensemble at the 2013 Asia Pacific Chamber Music Competition, the Quartet studied in the USA with the Takács String Quartet, and performed at the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC, Aspen, and at the Juilliard School. The Orava Quartet has also performed extensively in Canada, China, Singapore, United Arab Emirates, Hong Kong and the Philippines, and is a regular guest at Australian chamber music festivals including the Melbourne Festival, BBC Proms Australia (Melbourne), Brisbane Baroque, the Australian Festival of Chamber Music, the 2015 and 2017 Musica Viva Festivals and the 2015 and 2016 Huntington Estate Music Festivals. Highlights have included performances for Queen Sofia of Spain and Pope Benedict XVI.
The Orava Quartet is the Quartet in Residence with Camerata, Queensland’s chamber orchestra.
Helpmann Award-winning soprano Taryn Fiebig is one of Australia most popular and versatile artists. In 2017, she sang Musetta (La bohème) for Opera Australia; Michal (Saul) for the Adelaide Festival; major roles in Pinchgut Opera’s Triple Bill and the title role in The Merry Widow for West Australian Opera; in concert, she was soloist with Sydney Philharmonia, Auckland Philharmonia and the Opera Australia Orchestra.
She returns to OA in 2018 in Metamorphosis, sings Musetta and the title role in The Cunning Little Vixen for West Australian Opera and makes major concert appearances at the Adelaide Festival and for Sydney Philharmonia.
Taryn has performed with all the major Australian opera companies, the Australian Chamber Orchestra, Australian Brandenburg Ensemble and the Sydney, West Australian, Adelaide and Queensland Symphony Orchestras. Internationally, she has sung for the Edinburgh Festival (as Lucy Joy in Opera Australia’s production of Bliss), in America for the LA Ear Unit and in the UK with the English Chamber Orchestra and for BBC Radio 4.
The Australian National Academy of Music (ANAM) is dedicated to the artistic and professional development of the country’s most exceptional young musicians. ANAM’s vision is to develop the country’s future music leaders, distinguished by their artistic skill, imagination, courage, and by their contribution to a vibrant Australian music culture. The only institute of its kind in Australia and one of a few in the world, ANAM is renowned for its innovation, energy and adventurous programming and is committed to pushing the boundaries of how classical music is presented and performed. ANAM’s musicians take part in an intensive course of one-on-one lessons, masterclasses, seminars and rehearsals alongside solo, chamber and orchestral public performances.
Damien Eckersley is a double bass artist at the Australian National Academy of Music and a member of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. He has performed as principal bass with orchestras in Australia and all over the world including the Tasmanian, Melbourne, Queensland Symphony Orchestras, Orchestra Victoria, the Melbourne Ring Orchestra, the Vienna Chamber Orchestra, the Graz Philharmonic, the Tönkunstler Orchester and Orchestra Ensemble Kanazawa.He has also performed with the Sydney Symphony, Australian Opera Orchestra, the Orchestra of the Vienna State Opera the Australian World Orchestra and the WDR Symphony Orchestra Köln.
As a soloist, Damien has performed with orchestras and in recital in Australia, Austria, Germany and Japan.Damien is passionate about education and combines his studio teaching with coaching young musicians in chamber music and orchestral technique as well as giving masterclasses throughout Australia and Asia.