THE 18TH BANGALOW MUSIC FESTIVAL 9-11 August, 2019
The 18th Bangalow Music Festival 2019 (BMF), proudly owned, operated and
presented by Southern Cross Soloists (SXS), one of Australia’s most formidable
and long-running chamber music ensembles, performed its final concert No 9
Scheherazade at the historic A&I Hall in Bangalow yesterday to stupendous
applause. The sell-out audience honoured the 15 musicians on stage, conducted by
Colorado Symphony Assistant Conductor, Christopher Dragon with multiple, rousing
standing ovations. The stellar 18th BMF (9-11 August) program under the theme of
Conversations through Chamber Music played host to over 30 internationally
regarded and young up and coming artists, with 15 featured artists across nine well
attended and curated concerts and three side-bar events.
To close out the successful 18th edition of the Festival, yesterday afternoon’s finale
Concert 9 consisted of a Concerto for Two Cellos in G minor, RV 531 by Antonio
Vivaldi performed by SXS cellist extraordinaire Blair Harris and highly regarded
international guest of the festival, New Zealand Chamber Soloist and cellist James
Tennant. The 18th BMF finished on an absolute highlight with Rimsky-Korsakov’s
Scheherazade in a chamber version of this exotic tale of love, intrigue and adventure
as the audience relived the story of One Thousand and One Nights from the Arabian
Nights. This large-scale grand finale, arranged by SXS Composer-in-Residence John
Rotar, showcased the virtuosic talents of the SXS ensemble and the high calibre of
the Featured Artists of the 18th BMF.
Further standouts of the 18th BMF were internationally regarded classical guitarist
Karin Schaupp and the Orava Quartet, each stirring audiences to raptuous ovations.
Packed audiences were enthralled by Concert No. 2 – Eastern European folk music
and Jewish mysticism with Mahler’s vocal masterpiece and Golijov’s epic
composition about the great mystical Kabbalist rabbi from 800 years ago, known as
Isaac the Blind which featured Orava Quartet and SXS virtuoso clarinetist Ashley
Smith. Concert No 6 shone a spotlight on the virtuosity and artistry of the SXS,
finishing with the remarkable Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini led
by uber-talented SXS pianist Alex Raineri, as well as the mesmerising double
concerto Sanctuary by Australian composer and jazz pianist Joe Chindamo.
Artistic Director Tania Frazer thanked the Patrons, Sponsors and audience, both
returning and new, stating it was ‘the best festival yet’ and announced dates for the
19th Bangalow Music Festival – 13-16 August 2020, which includes the official
Festival program and pre-Festival events.
The Festival was overwhelmed with support from a record number of local
businesses including Ninbella Gallery, Zentvelds Roastery, Bangalow Real Estate,
the Country Women’s Association (Bangalow), The Cellars, Butcher Baker, The
Italian Diner, Seaweed Cuisine and JuJu Byron and The Wine Tradition, and
Elements of Byron.
Interstate and international visitors came from as far as New Zealand, Newcastle,
Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, with some having to drive from southern capital
cities due to the climatic chaos causing scheduled flights to be cancelled over the
The Festival also included the announcement of the winner of the 2019 Bangalow Art
Prize supported by SXS and the BMF, Ninbella Gallery, MHL Legal & Notary and the
Bangalow Business Community Sponsors. The Bangalow Art Prize is a fine art
competition with a cash bursary prize of AU$1000 awarded to the winning artist’s
impression of the Bangalow region that “portrays the vibrant and/or diverse makeup
of the Bangalow landscape and community”. The prizewinner’s work along with the
two runners were on display in the foyer of the A&I Hall for the duration of the
Festival and will be exhibited at a later stage at Ninbella.
The competition drew a record 37 entries across multiple mediums with three
nominees selected. The three top place getters were determined by two celebrated
arts luminaries. Australian, local artist Lindy Lee and established National curator
Alison Kubler. The winner of the 2019 Bangalow Art Prize is Rune A-ith for her
woven sculpture 9 Cocoons (Inflorescence of the Bangalow Palm).
A further announcement at this year’s 18th BMF was the recipient of the Australian
Decorative and Fine Arts Society (ADFAS) Byron Bay inaugural: 2019 BMF Young
Musician Award. Award winner and local Lismore/Goonellabah flutist, Jemima Drews
also performed at the Festival this year. The BMF Young Musician Award will be
presented annually to an outstanding young musician from Northern NSW.