Peninsula Summer Music Festival 2020

PSMF Affinity QuartetIn a sonic delight of classical vocals and instrumentalists, gypsy folk song, jazz, opera and immersive musical moments for children, the exquisite sounds of the Peninsula Summer Music Festival will spill out across Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula for 10 days from 1 January 2020.

In his second year as Artistic Director, Ben Opie has fashioned a program of inspired collaborations which sees the Festival return to the region’s beautiful places and extend to unusual spaces with a myriad of unique musical experiences.

“In 2020, the Peninsula Summer Music Festival continues to embrace its adventurous nature,” said Mr Opie. “Every artist has jumped at the opportunity to explore how we can share music with people in new ways. Whether local or international, everyone comes together in January 2020 to share incredible music in new and interesting ways on the Mornington Peninsula.”

The sassy gypsy sounds of the Stiletto Sisters kickstart festival frivolities in Hair of The Dog – the annual festival opening performance on New Year’s Day. Led by the breathtaking violinist virtuosity of Hope Csutoros with dynamic piano accordionist Judy Gunson and the talents of Jo To on double bass, the seductive blend of Hungarian gypsy, tango and love songs from around the world will raise the roof of the rustic Briar’s Barn – a charming new venue for the 2020 festival.

In a program highlight, UK based Louisa Hunter-Bradley (voice and recorder) returns to Australia to join Melbourne based early music specialists Lizzy Welsh (violin) and David Macfarlane (harpsichord) for Scorned Women at Balnarring’s Hurley Vineyard. Together they embark on an early Baroque journey of instrumental and vocal virtuosity, applauding music written for women, by women and celebrating singer and composer Barbara Strozzi’s 400th anniversary.

A gloriously fervent concert takes place at Moorooduc Estate: Appassionata – Peter de Jager, one of Australia’s most unique and versatile musicians breathes new life into two foundational keyboard works, Beethoven’s intensely stormy Appassionata Sonata and Bach’s Partita in E Minor. This impassioned piano performance will be in an epic display of artistry.

Festival audiences are in for a rare treat with Spring Sea – Music for Dreams with two master musicians Riley Lee and Marshall McGuire performing music from Japan, Australia and France. The collaboration of Lee on Shakuhachi, the only non-Japanese person to be bestowed with the title of Grand Master, and McGuire on Harp creates a haunting dream-like experience. The combination of two ancient instruments from vastly different traditions generates a unique and powerful musical voice.

Set within the vines of Montalto Vineyard and Olive Grove, the much-loved Festival favourite Twilight Jazz returns with Alinta & the Jazz Emperors. Alinta Chidzey, currently playing Velma in Chicago and Dutch tenor saxophonist, composer and band leader Remco Keijzer preside over a soulful evening of jazz with Sam Keevers (keyboard), Chris Hale (bass) and Darryn Farrugia on drums.

St John’s Anglican Church in Flinders hosts the Recital Series – three concerts across one day – Great Romantics Winner, cellist Carol Wang; Lee Abrahmsen and Caroline Almonte in Strauss, Wagner & Schubert and Water has No Equal with Duo Eclettico Justin Kenealy (saxophone) and Coady Green (piano).

St John’s is also the venue for the Candlelight Concert, Hear the Music She Makes. Georgina Lewis (piano), Natasha Conrau (violin) and Stephanie Arnold (cello) of Solstice Trio free the piano of its classical traditions to perform new works by female composers Hildegard von Bingen, Andrea Keller, Nadia Boulanger, Nat Bartsch and others.

First Nations interdisciplinary artist, Eric Avery’s practice is grounded in dance and music. His new work, created especially for the festival, will be performed within Flinders’ Everywhen Artspace gallery where artworks by Indigenous artists from around the country will be displayed.

PSMF Artistic Director and Inventi Ensemble co-founder, Ben Opie invites families to an outdoor adventure to uncover musical delights in Haydn Seek & The Big Summer Sing In.

The Festival is calling for children to participate in a very special community singing event, led by composer and choral music veteran, Scott Buchanan. Two choirs, 5 – 8 years and 9 – 13 years – will learn an all Australian repertoire with an ensuing performance at The Big Summer Sing In.

Bring a picnic and discover wonderful music hidden amongst the trees and bushes of Balnarring Civic Reserve with Inventi Ensemble. This delightful musical experience will capture the attention of the whole family and will include a special concert of the PSMF Children’s Community Choirs.

Gustav Holst’s The Planets is a monumental work in the classical music canon and audiences will have a rare opportunity to hear it as it has never been heard before at the hands of Inventi Ensemble. What was originally conceived for symphonic orchestra will be performed by five musicians Melissa Doecke (flute), Peter Clark (violin), Molly Collier-O’Boyle (viola), Paul Zabrowarny (cello) and Ben Opie (oboe).

This performance also features brand-new works by acclaimed composer, Johannes Luebbers who has a wealth of experience across a wide range of music. Witness this astounding performance of astronomical proportions!

In a unique Festival pairing; beautiful classical music will reverberate throughout the Peninsula Hot Springs with four divine performances. The Rathdowne String Quartet, made up of Australia’s finest young musicians, present gorgeous chamber music on the unique amphitheatre stage before exploring the surrounds performing roving, intimate performances for bathers. In Pop up Yoga and Violin Experience, exceptional violinist Veronique Serret will be providing live accompaniment to yoga sessions with music specifically created for the practice.

Japan’s Miyama Tokito-McQueen and Melbourne’s Ryan Williams present never before seen works, curated especially for the Festival in Unknown Mirrors. With Williams on recorder and Miyama McQueen-Tokita on koto, together they perform a carefully prepared program to enhance the experience of bathing in another pop up performance at the Peninsula Hot Springs.

Closing out the Festival is the Opera Gala with Adrian Tamburini – a concert of operatic treats featuring works by some of the greatest composers of all time, including Mozart and Handel. Acclaimed baritone Adrian Tamburini will by accompanied by Inventi Ensemble in this world class performance, which also takes place in the surrounds of the Peninsula Hot Springs.

The Peninsula Summer Music Festival runs 1 – 10 January 2020. For more information and full program, visit: for details.

Image: Affinity Quartet (supplied)