New festival takes music out of a theatre and into a warehouse

MWMF Jack Jones - Irwin ThomasTaking some of Australia’s finest performers out of the concert hall and into an inner-city warehouse, the new Melbourne Warehouse Music Festival will smash barriers between classical and modern music with back-to-back concerts from 28 artists, from a range of genres, playing under the lofty tin roof of the Schoolhouse Studios in Collingwood this weekend.

Aussie rock legend Jack Jones is here from New York to play a rare solo acoustic performance in Melbourne; ABC Young Performer of the Year, concert pianist Hoang Pham will present a program of Beethoven and Chopin including Beethoven’s Pathetique and Moonlight Sonatas; and the Kammermusik String Ensemble will present a varied program including Brahms String Sextet No 1.

All-female band Bhan Tre will perform a mix of traditional Irish tunes and original songs with a Celtic flavour; Gypsy Jazz Swing band, The Furbelows will combine close harmony vocals with a hot club swing rhythm section; while La Prima Opera will feature stars of Australian Opera with Len Vorster at the grand piano.

Also in the stellar line-up is new music specialist cellist Blair Harris who will present an evocative solo concert of modern masterworks for cello; while national treasures, Jacqui Dark and Kanen Breen will detonate across the footlights in a debauched and greasepaint-spattered riot of musical abandon with musical director Daryl Wallis in The Strange Bedfellows.

“Something magical happens when musicians perform in unexpected places,” says Festival Director, soprano and founder of La Prima Opera, Alison Rae Jones – who has been passionate about performing in alternative spaces since appearing in legendary director Elijah Moshinsky’s staging of Benjamin Britten’s Turn of the Screw in a secret venue in a Dickensian laneway in London’s East End.

“The audience was a fantastic mix of seasoned Covent Garden opera-goers and locals from the Tower Hamlets housing estate having their first taste of opera,” continued Jones. “Seeing the wonder in their eyes as they took in the venue and opened their minds to something new inspired me to bring this concept to Melbourne. I wanted to expand on it by bringing together two-dozen artists from different genres and having them play over two full days.”

“Getting away from the inherent formality of traditional venues is the best way for artists and audience to raise excitement levels. I can’t wait to share this experience with Melbourne music-lovers who are keen to leap out of their comfort zones and discover something new.”

Melbourne Warehouse Music Festival
Schoolhouse Studios, 81 Rupert Street, Collingwood
Dates: Saturday 4 November (from 12.00pm) & Sunday 5 November 2017 (from 2.00pm)
Information and Bookings: (individual and festival passes available)

Image: Jack Jones (aka Irwin Thomas)