10 days to go until 8 powerful world premieres and 101 artists feature at Port Fairy Spring Music Festival

Port Fairy Spring Music Festival

October 14 to 16, 2022, Port Fairy, Victoria

One hundred and one. That’s the number of artists set to make history over three days at this year’s Port Fairy Spring Music Festival (PFSMF) in what will be a joyous and groundbreaking return after two years silenced by COVID 19. The theme for the Festival is REGENERATION – to reconnect, recharge and regenerate – and it starts in just 10 days.

From celebrated works of the past to inspirational classics of the future, the PFSMF returns to the must-do calendar of music lovers and arts adventurists with EIGHT WORLD PREMIERES, and 36 world class events performed by local, visiting, emerging and established musicians, set in one of the most magical places on earth.

Of the 101 artists in this year’s Festival, 38 are returning, and 63 are making their PFSMF debut, including the internationally acclaimed Goldner String Quartet.

Under the baton of Artistic Directors Monica Curro and Stefan Cassomenos, the PFSMF begins with the Kawai Opening Gala featuring Yuin composer Brenda Gifford’s Miriwa which paints a joyous picture of the sky and its relationship to Country, together with the intimate chamber orchestra version of Gustav Mahler’s lustrous Fourth Symphony.

Titled REGATHERING, the concert will be conducted by the esteemed Fabian Russell, and features rising superstar soprano Rebecca Rashleigh, and an ensemble of impeccable instrumentalists.

“After opening with Miriwa, Brenda Gifford’s offering of renewed voice to the Dhurga language, alongside Mahler’s magnificent Symphony No 4, the PFSMF celebrates eight world premieres.” (Full list below.) “Anne Norman reimagines sounds of Port Fairy wetlands, Brenda Gifford invokes Barra Barra, the timeless sea, James Ledger showcases James Crabb’s dazzling virtuosity, Bryony Marks rescores footage from our uncomfortable past, Thomas Green’s multi-faceted prism shines across three new works, and Dermot Tutty nurtures voices of the future with his oratorio, co-written with Port Fairy children,” said co-Artistic Director Monica Curro.

“We are thrilled to welcome the Goldner String Quartet for their first time to Port Fairy, and the return of adored festival favourites – Songmakers pay tribute to our Festival Patron, Lauris Elms, and also to tango maestro Piazzolla. Anna Goldsworthy makes a triumphant return with Brahms, Pejačević and Haydn, Adelaide-based ensemble Various People in Invocations will reconjure their intimate world, and festival icon Stephen McIntyre hosts a feast of Schumann and Schubert,” she said.

“We reveal a treasure trove of youthful brilliance – the wunderkind Wattleseed Ensemble, the prodigious Partridge String Quartet, the bodacious Black Square String Quartet, rising superstar vocalists Louis Hurley and Rebecca Rashleigh, and our very own local “Regenerators”. The Stiletto Sisters and Cairo Club Orchestra will raise the roof off the Drill Hall, and Port Fairy legends Anna-Lee Robertson and Leah Oswin will share their gift of song.”

“Our sweetest joy in returning in 2022 is to reunite with friends from the Southwest and beyond, in two special events – a new collaboration with the Find Your Voice Collective affirming humanity through creativity; and our epic Closing Gala, again assembling a splendour of talent and expertise from local instrumentalists and choristers alongside esteemed soloists and maestro Michael Dahlenburg, in an ode to our ceaseless human capacity for regeneration.”

This year will also see The Sensorium, an innovative multimedia installation unveiled and, with the ringing of the Federation Handbells a new Festival venue will be welcomed in St Brigid’s Crossley.

The Port Fairy Spring Music Festival was created in 1990 by the late British/Australian composer Michael Easton ARAM and the pianist Len Vorster and has been staged as an annual regional music festival since.

Over 32 music-filled years, the Artistic Directors have included Marco van Pagee, Len Vorster, Erich Fackert, Stephen McIntyre, Anna Goldsworthy and Iain Grandage. Continuing their legacy are current Artistic Directors, Monica Curro and Stefan Cassomenos with 2022’s offering a feast of classical and contemporary ensemble music in fresh and collaborative programming, combining and celebrating the talents of highly regarded established artists with the very best of Australia’s new and emerging young performers and composers.

In addition to an incredible chamber music program, there’s also cabaret, jazz, orchestral and choral music, opera, film, interdisciplinary artistic collaboration, accessible performances, and free events in a program of 31 presentations over three days. Schools concerts, masterclasses, pre-concert talks, artist ‘talks and conversations’, and art exhibitions all enhance the appreciation and involvement of Festival patrons and the community.


“Brolga Dawn” by Anne Norman – Saturday October 15 at 3.30pm

Anne Norman’s new work, for shakuhachi and 12-part choir, incorporates field recordings of birds from the western district wetlands, in scintillating surround sound.

“Barra Barra” by Brenda Gifford – Sunday October 16 at 2pm

Brenda Gifford is a composer and proud Yuin woman whose culture is the basis of her arts practice, and her new work “Barra Barra” for string quintet, commissioned by Port Fairy Spring Music Festival, conjures the transcendental power of the ageless sea.

“Talk” by James Ledger – Sunday October 16 at 10am

ARIA-winning composer James Ledger’s “Talk” is written for classical accordion, and is commissioned by virtuoso accordionist James Crabb, who has commissioned and premiered numerous new works for classical accordion.

“Mothers’ Suite Sweet Mothers” by Thomas Green – Sunday October 16 at 10am

Commissioned through the ABC’s Fresh Start Fund, “Mothers’ Suite Sweet Mothers” for violin and piano is a five-movement work, each movement representing a stage in the life of mother and child, from earliest tender moments with the infant, through to a time when the child, now grown, breaks the bonds of childhood and the mother must let them go.

“The Sensorium” – music by Thomas Green, visual artwork co-curated by Gareth Collison and Monica Curro – Sunday October 16 from 10am to 3pm

The many sonic landscapes of composer and sound wizard Thomas Green are symbiotically paired with images from dynamic visual artists from Southwest Victoria, as part of an immersive installation co-curated by the legendary and multifaceted art guru Gareth Colliton, alongside Festival co-director Monica Curro.

“Australia Fair? Volume I” by Bryony Marks – Sunday October 16 at 11.30am

Presented alongside a montage of Australian National Film and Sound Archive footage of “ordinary” Australian life spanning the 1920s to the 1960s, “Australia Fair? Volume I” is written for string quartet, and highlights how notions of Australian identity and gender expectations have fluctuated throughout the decades — Marks’s masterful music simultaneously serving the images, and going way beyond, into non-verbal commentary.

“Guardian Spirit” by Thomas Green – Saturday October 15 at 7.45pm

Written for electronics, percussion and string quartet, “Guardian Spirit” is an utterly unique, continuous set, with highly energetic sections interspersed with finespun, dream-like moments — the music growing organically from delicate beginnings, featuring what in a parallel universe might be called classical sounds, into exuberant, constantly surprising hybrid of electronic dance music and percussively driven art music.

“And the Sweetness Worked its Charm” – collaboratively composed by Dermot Tutty with Port Fairy schoolchildren – Sunday October 16 at 3.30pm

Commissioned by Port Fairy Spring Music Festival for the 2022 Closing Gala: “Regeneration” brings together instrumentalists and choristers from all over Southwest Victoria alongside Melbourne musicians and magnificent soloists. This new work for tenor, choir and orchestra is composed collaboratively by Dermot Tutty together with Port Fairy school children, who join the Port Fairy Spring Music Festival Orchestra and Chorus to sing the world premiere of their new piece.

Port Fairy Spring Music Festival

October 14 to 16, Port Fairy, Victoria

Concert tickets, Festival passes and all information at PORTFAIRYSPRINGFEST.COM. AU

The Port Fairy Spring Music Festival acknowledges the Gunditjmara people, traditional owners of the areas now encompassing Warrnambool, Port Fairy, Woolsthorpe, and Portland, and pays respects to their Elders past and present.

| Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | #afcm

/Public Release.