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2017 Artists

Artistic Director Carl Vine says: "although we will have the usual smattering of unusual and modern works, the 2017 festival will feature a much larger proportion than usual of great classics and popular favourites. There will be surprises as well, but this will be the Year Of The Great Classic!"

Thematic threads run unobtrusively through this year’s repertoire. We’ll have the complete set of Beethoven’s three ‘Razumovsky’ quartets, written to inspire and entertain their noble commissioner. At least one of them makes a nod to Russian folksong, so it’s nice to run that idea down a different path, through some tuneful Scandinavian folksongs, brilliantly arranged and played by the extraordinary Danish String Quartet. Proof that beauty in music knows no age barriers, the teenage Mendelssohn’s peerless String Octet makes an appearance to emphasise all that is rich and fantastic about the sound of strings. And it’s a particularly mellow year, with the warm tones of a mezzo-soprano, the viola, and the cello all highlighted.

Carl and Musica Viva have assembled a thrilling line-up that will showcase a mix of dazzling International and Australian talent; and combines established artists little known in Australia, or new to the Huntington stage, with some of our firm favourites.


EXCLUSIVE:Olga Kern, Piano (USA). 'Call it star quality - music likes Kern the way the camera liked Garbo' (THE WASHINGTON POST).

With her vivid stage presence, passionately confident musicianship and extraordinary technique, the striking pianist captivates fans and critics alike.



EXCLUSIVE : The Danish String Quartet (SCANDINAVIA). ‘The finely honed brilliance of a fiery diamond’ The Wall Street Journal.

The Danish String Quartet headline the Festival as   one of the most sought-after chamber ensembles in the world. Their vigorous, unstuffy, whole-hearted approach to playing has seen their career trajectory skyrocket, and brought them invitations from everywhere, including Wigmore Hall, the Lincoln Center, and now Mudgee. ‘We only play music we like,’ is their motto, and their Festival repertoire is no exception. 


Caitlin Hulcup, Mezzo Soprano (AUSTRALIA) ‘Hulcup was enchanting… her voice is rounded with deep warmth and rich focus, and without a hint of excessive vibrato…She shaped each phrase like glowing light’ Sydney Morning Herald.

Caitlin Hulcup is an Australian mezzo now resident in Vienna,with a busy schedule taking her to the great opera houses of Europe, and occasional visits home to star with Pinchgut Opera and the major state companies. Her characterful stage presence and breadth of musical interests – she originally trained as a violist – as well as her award-winning art-song interpretations, make her the perfect fit for Huntington.


The Goldner String Quartet (AUSTRALIA) ‘Precisely remarkable…sublimely lovely’ The Australian.

 It wouldn’t be a Huntington Festival without the Goldner String Quartet. Exemplifying the best in Australian performance, the Goldners play with an unbeatable unanimity of sound and artistic purpose, honed by over 20 years of experience.They are a gift to a festival director, comprising four unique musicians who shift easily between the soloist spotlight, and the gently respectful world of chamber music.


EXCLUSIVE: Paul Merkelo,Trumpet (CANADA) 'Unusual lyrical gifts' (GRAMMAPHONE).

Renowned as one of the finest trumpet players of his generation, Paul Merkelo is the Principal Trumpet with the Orchestre Symphonique de Montreal and guest with Orchestras around the world.


Alexandre Da Costa, Violin (CANADA) ‘Irreproachable technique, sensitivity and temperament’ Neue Zürcher Zeitung

Born and raised in Montreal, the violinist Alexandre da Costa made his concerto debut aged eight and has more than fulfilled that early promise, with a busy and remarkable career in the northern hemisphere that has seen countless awards and 25 notable recordings, including for Sony Classical and Warner. He is also developing the next generation of artists as Head of Strings at WAAPA. A brilliant virtuoso, Alex is also a warm and engaging presence on stage, and a welcome addition to the pantheon of remarkable Huntington artists.

Ian Munro (AUSTRALIA) ‘Munro played with tender reverence’ Sydney Morning Herald.

Ian Munro makes a welcome return to Mudgee as one of Australia’s premier keyboard soloists and a sought-after colleague. It is an unusual combination: a virtuoso pianist with the charisma to hold the audience as a soloist, and yet with the sensitivity to bring out the best in his fellow musicians on stage. His special relationship with the Goldner Quartet (all are members of The Australia Ensemble @UNSW) brings an extra intimacy to their performances together.


Orava Quartet (AUSTRALIA) ‘Warmth of sound, sublime inner-voicing and spontaneity’ The Age.

The Orava Quartet has won the hearts of the Huntington audience, as the brilliant young guns of Australian chamber music. Youthful brilliance combines with a rare thoughtfulness to create inevitably memorable performances.


Caroline Almonte  PIANO (AUSTRALIA) 'Expansive...Excellent' (SYDNEY MORNING HERALD).

Australian Pianist, Producer and Presenter, Caroline Almonte has a reputation as a gifted, versatile and sensitive artist.


Bennett Tsai CELLO (AUSTRALIA) 'Grand Prize Winner, String Section, 2017 Enkor International Music Competition'.

In 2016 at the age of 13, Bennett became the youngest performer to win both the FM 102.5 Young Virtuoso Award and the MBS National Young Virtuoso Award.