Kathleen McLennan (Clarinet), Helen Spurgeon (Obeo), Margaret Stewart (Flute) and Tania Frazer (Obeo), Creative Director of the Bangalow Music Festival.
Kathleen McLennan (Clarinet), Helen Spurgeon (Obeo), Margaret Stewart (Flute) and Tania Frazer (Obeo), Creative Director of the Bangalow Music Festival. Mireille Merlet-Shaw

Classics return to Bangalow

THE sounds of champagne flutes clinking and musicians performing Tchaikovsky and Beethoven wafted over the streets of Bangalow yesterday as the town launched the line-up for its annual classical music festival in August.

Perth Tenor Alexander Lewis, a Young Artist at the prestigious New York Metropolitan Opera who has been mentored by the likes of Placido Domingo, was announced as one of the featured acts at the 12th Bangalow Music Festival.

Australian-born London-based pianist Jayson Gillham, who has won many major awards including the Commonwealth Musician of the Year, will also be at the event which last year sold more than 2500 tickets.

The Silver-Garbung Piano duo, whose busy international performance schedule includes Carnegie Hall and the Lincoln Centre along with violinist virtuoso Qian Zhou, soprano Felicitas Fuchs from Germany along with flutist Emma Shall will perform during the three day event.

Tania Frazer, festival creative director and a member of the Southern Cross Soloists who co-organise and perform at the event, told the crowd at the Bangalow Hotel that the line-up was centred around a new generation of musicians who were on the cusp of big international careers.

Ms Frazer said the top-drawer talent the festival continued to attract despite being based in a small country town was "amazing".

"A lot of festivals like this run six to seven years and run out of steam, but I think we're picking up steam," Ms Frazer said.

The main venue, the A & I Hall, was a particular asset.

"All musicians want to play in it because the sound is so glori- ous," she said.

Other highlights at this year's event is a lecture-style discovery concert exploring the science behind music's ability to evoke human emotions.

The locals night on Thursday, now called Festival Prelude, will feature all of the headline acts.

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