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Directors’ Welcome

This year we are again presenting not one, but two instruments not previously heard at SEMF: recorder and harpsichord! The fabulous young international recorder soloist Tabea Debus (Wigmore Hall, Edinburgh Festival, all major baroque festivals) will show us the virtuosity and versatility of this family of instruments, and will be joined by Australia’s own Donald Nicolson of Latitude 37 for some dazzling continuo and solo contributions.

Our other international guest is violinist Mats Zetterqvist, soloist, distinguished chamber musician and guest leader of Chamber Orchestra of Europe, who is making his Australian chamber music debut. Also new to SEMF this year are Emma McGrath, presently leader of the TSO and sought after concertmaster and chamber musician in Europe and the US, and the remarkable young violinist Harry Bennetts, recently appointed Associate Concertmaster of the SSO: a very classy violin trio!

We’re delighted to welcome back wonderful violist Caroline Henbest, and the SEMF core family of Ian, Tobi and Sara will of course bring their artistic X factor to the broad range of exciting repertoire this year. Baroque music will be a focus this year of course, with Handel, Vivaldi, Telemann, Scarlatti, Couperin and Purcell being featured, but also the more recent end of the historical timeline with works by Lutoslawski, Kitty Parker and Dani Howard. A string sextet favourite by Brahms stands alongside a ravishing work by Gliere for the same forces.

To celebrate the Beethoven year we have decided to bookend his career, performing his little-played but extraordinary late masterpieces, the piano Bagatelles, alongside two of his very early arrangements, fugues by Bach and by his teacher Albrechtsberger. “Inside the Music” this year explores those bits between the arias of a Mozart opera, where most of the dramatic action and psychological development occurs: the recitatives, and how their realisation is as crucial as the stage direction….

We hope this musical offering, with Monsieur Pierre’s exceptional food, and the warm Hunter family hospitality and stellar wines, combine to create an unforgettable festival for you!

Howard and Chris