Metropolis New Music Festival 2014

Mythic Sounds & Storytelling

Recapturing the time when the world was full of mystery and the ancients ruled the land, the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and Melbourne Recital Centre present Australia’s most important festival of contemporary music, the 2014 Metropolis New Music Festival.

With a program inspired by mythology, music and natural beauty, the 2014 Metropolis New Music Festival, features ten world and nine Australian premieres over 12 days at Melbourne Recital Centre, 1 – 12 April.

The mysteries and majesty of the cosmos and its creation have captivated many composers, and inspired many composers and artists featured in this year’s Festival.

“The natural world and the stories we tell ourselves about it have been a rich source of inspiration to artists since the beginning of humanity. The musicians of Metropolis leapt at the opportunity to explore this theme and perform some of the most resonant and magical music in the repertoire,” said Kirsten Siddle, Melbourne Recital Centre’s Director of Programming.

Festival guests include one of the most stimulating and thought-provoking musicians of our time, Finnish conductor, pianist and composer Olli Mustonen, returning to Australia after his fascinating Beethoven cycle with the MSO, and conducting three orchestral programs he has devised to lead listeners through the mysterious and magic North; provocateuse at the keyboard Joanna MacGregor (UK); Finland-based Australian pianist Aura Go; Melbourne’s Forest Collective; Six Degrees; Syzygy Ensemble; Plexus featuring tenor Christopher Saunders; pianist Stefan Cassomenos with soprano Judith Dodsworth; and MSO soloists violinist Kristian Winther and Finnish baritone Juha Kotilainen and cellist Marko Ylönen.

In three spectacular orchestral concerts, the MSO and Olli Mustonen begin with Sibelius’s depiction of the forest god in Tapiola – a work that Mustonen sees as a launch-pad for contemporary music in Finland; other highlights include Australian virtuoso Kristian Winther performing Rautavarra’s Violin Concerto and the world premiere of Mustonen’s Sonata for Violin and Orchestra.

“As both a composer and performer, Olli Mustonen is uniquely positioned to guide us through this journey of myths and stories
from the Baltic states, including works by his teacher Einojuhani Rautavaara, his great friend Rodion Shchedrin and composers from the younger generation like Ilari Kaila,” said Huw Humphreys, MSO Director of Artistic Planning. The concerts will also premiere the two winning Cybec 21st Century Australian Composers Program compositions for 2014.

The chamber music program takes the audience through wintry and decadent gardens, touching on the mythology of the natural world with highlights including Six Degree’s Garden of Earthly Desire; Forest Collective’s The Garden of Ice influenced by their recent time in the Netherlands and Finland; Joanna
MacGregor creates an aviary in the concert hall with a concert titled Musical Toys; Syzygy Ensemble present pieces on the precision of a bee-hive; the world premiere of a new work by Perth composer Elliot Hughes, and the Australian premiere of Toshio Hoskawa’s Stunden Blumen. Pianist Stefan Cassomenos and soprano Judith Dodsworth will delight the senses with world premieres in Sappho’s Butterflies; and acclaimed composer Esa-Pekka Salonen’s gripping piano work Dichotomie in its Australian premiere by Aura Go.

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