The Adelaide Festival is the grand dame of Australian arts festivals, having set a benchmark for international multi-artform festivals since its inception in 1960. I have had a wonderful time working with the very best team a festival could assemble. The 2010 Festival, marking the 50th anniversary, was a blast, but with the 2012 program, which will be unveiled on October 19, we will unveil something truly exciting. Already we have announced our opening event, a performance by one of my heroes, the great Ennio Morricone, with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, as well as a wonderful production of Pinter’s The Caretaker starring Jonathan Pryce, and the Bernstein Mass with Jubilant Sykes conducted by Kristjan Järvi.
The Australian Art Orchestra was founded in 1994. In my imagination was an ensemble that could traverse the fields of notated music and improvisation with equal expertise, but it has proven to be much more than that over the last seventeen years. Sure, the AAO has played complex notated works and jazz repertoire, but it is in its exploration of new territory with traditional songmen from Arnhem Land, with Balinese and Carnatic master musicians, and in its various exciting projects reinvestigating elements of the Western classical and jazz traditions from an improviser’s perspective that it has really found its direction. There are many more pathways to follow, and the musicians of the AAO always amaze me with the depth of their ideas.
In 2005, I began working with the Queensland Music Festival team as Artistic Director. The challenges of a statewide music festival with a strong community focus in a place as big as Queensland are daunting, but the results are deeply satisfying.