Queensland Music Festival 2017 set to unite the state in song

QMF Hang with the QYO Manu Delago - photo by Mirko De Nicolo editorialKatie Noonan has released her first program as Artistic Director of Queensland Music Festival (QMF), revealing a program that spans contemporary and classical music, large-scale community events and education programs, and big names like Kate Ceberano, Montaigne, Isaiah, Lior, Steve Kilbey, David Hobson, Elena Kats-Chernin and Manu Delago, alongside big ambitions to unite thousands of Australians in song throughout July.

Ms Noonan used the announcement to call for Queenslanders to learn to sing, to use the power of music as a healing force for positive change, and to reach out to people who are isolated, whether socially or geographically, across the state. “I want the talented and passionate people of Queensland to be empowered to join the 2017 festival and help create performances that truly reflect the life of our diverse and vibrant state,” said Ms Noonan.

Queensland Premier and Minister for the Arts Annastacia Palaszczuk said QMF 2017 would bring over 100 performances to 45 cities, towns and remote regions over three weeks. “This year’s Queensland Music Festival program will have seven world premieres, including new works from esteemed Australian composers Dr Thomas Green, Elena Kats-Chernin, Joe Chindamo and Paul Hodge, and within the Score IT!, The Power Within, and Stradbroke Chamber Music Festival programs,” said Ms Palaszczuk.

“Queensland Music Festival will also feature an Australian orchestral premiere by Austrian composer Manu Delago, and a world premiere arrangement by the Brodsky Quartet’s Paul Cassidy. So, it’s more than just an impressive festival line-up.”

“Queensland Music Festival will also give a voice to those who want to unite against domestic violence, towns who face hardship, our remote Indigenous communities, women and young people struggling to get a break in the music industry, and making high-quality live music accessible for our elderly in aged-care centres.”

Katie Noonan, a passionate advocate for social justice, feminism and homegrown Queensland talent, said QMF was unlike any other music festival in the world in its vast geographic reach and the way it transforms lives through community projects that run for years and sometimes decades.

“I learnt about the world, its politics and its people through music, and I passionately believe in its power to educate and inspire,” said Ms Noonan. “Since QMF started 18 years ago, it has reached more than a million people through projects in 82 regions. In 2017 we will continue this amazing legacy and we encourage all Queenslanders to hear and be heard this July. If you can talk, you can sing.”

You’re The Voice is a monumental music event, which will see Kate Ceberano, Isaiah and Katie Noonan join thousands of singers on Saturday 29 July at Brisbane’s South Bank Piazza, and via livestream, to shine a light on the country’s domestic violence crisis. The massive project includes a Sony Foundation charity single of Farnham’s iconic anthem, featuring Katie Noonan, Kate Ceberano, Isaiah, Archie Roach, Troy Cassar-Daley and Montaigne.

The Power Within is the result of an 18-month project with six towns in Central Queensland, which have lived through the mining boom and bust, drought and flood. The colossal project in partnership with Isaac Regional Council will culminate in a world premiere musical spectacular in Moranbah on Friday 28 and Saturday 29 July – starring 200 people from the community and celebrating resilience and unity.

Songs That Made Me is a project offering mentorships with artists including Deborah Conway, Clare Bowditch and Hannah Macklin for several emerging female singer-songwriters in Mount Isa, Mackay and Gladstone. The project will see all the mentees perform in their hometowns with the celebrity mentors, and a special finale concert celebrating women in music will be held at the Tivoli on Sunday 16 July.

On Song is a touring program for six regional and rural school kids to learn from the amazing, award-winning singer-songwriter Jack Carty, and two will be selected to perform with him in Brisbane as part of QPAC’s Green Jam program on Friday 28 July.

Silver Memories will harness the healing power of music in a series of intimate concerts of classical and jazz music, performed by Queensland Conservatorium ensembles, at aged-care centres in Brisbane, Toowoomba and the Sunshine Coast.

Ensuring QMF reaches some of the most isolated corners of the state, the Bach to Bush tour will see percussionist John Morrison hop into the pilot’s seat to fly virtuoso cellist Louise King to nine Western Queensland towns for joint performances, workshops and masterclasses from Thursday 13 to Sunday 23 July.

Award-winning rocker Dan Sultan and bandmates Jan Skubiszewski and Danny Farrugia will fly into the remote Indigenous communities of Aurukun, Woorabinda and Palm Island from Friday 7 to Monday 10 July to stage special NAIDOC Week concerts and workshops featuring blues-rock, gospel and soul.

QMF will also feature many performances resulting from its ongoing Indigenous programs. From Wednesday 12 to Sunday 16 July, school bands from Aurukun, Coen and Hope Vale will come together for an intensive band camp before showing off their skills at the Cairns Indigenous Art Fair.

Internationally renowned musician Tjupurru will work with students to create inventive songs and soundscapes for The Didjeribone Show – which will tour Queensland schools. And Jessie Lloyd will present Mission Songs – a rare collection of Indigenous songs spanning the 20th century.

Other major regional events include the ever-popular Opera at Jimbour in the Western Downs on Saturday 22 July and Currie Street Music Crawl a free music festival in Nambour showcasing local established and emerging musicians on Saturday 8 July.

But it’s not all about the regions – Brisbane will be hosting some incredible ticketed and free events, including world premieres. On Saturday 29 July, Austrian hang soloist, composer, Björk drummer and international electronica collaborator, Manu Delago, will feature in a world premiere concerto written by emerging Queensland composer Dr Thomas Green to honour the father of Australia’s youth orchestra movement, John Curro AM MBE, in Hang with QYO.

Internationally celebrated composer Elena Kats-Chernin will perform 10 improvised musical sketches created in response to the artworks of two iconic Australian painters, Margaret Olley and William Robinson, in The Sound of Art.

Sanctuary, presented in partnership with Camerata, will present a new commission, composed by Joe Chindamo, featuring Diana Doherty and Alexandre Oguey, as well as showcase several new compositions and renowned guest artists, exploring the universal need for a safe haven in a troubled world, on Thursday 13 July.

16 Lovers Lane – a special concert on Friday 14 July at QPAC, will pay homage to one of Australia’s greatest albums, featuring the Go-Betweens’ Lindy Morrison, Amanda Brown and John Willsteed, with Dan Kelly, Danny Widdicombe, Luke Daniel Peacock, and a guest line-up including Steve Kilbey (The Church), Mark Callaghan (GANGgajang), Ron S Peno (Died Pretty), Katie and Tyrone Noonan (george), Montaigne, Sam Cromack and Jen Boyce (Ball Park Music), Tim Nelson and Zoe Davis (Cub Sport), Sahara Beck, and Kirin J Callinan.

Joh for PM is a satirical musical romp created by playwright Stephen Carleton and composer Paul Hodge, starring Colin Lane (Lano and Woodley), at Brisbane Powerhouse from Friday 7 to Sunday 16 July.

The stunning new hotel The Johnson will become a hotspot for 10 nights for Immersion – a series of boutique, multi-genre musical performances by QMF stars including Montaigne, Robbie Miller, and Deborah Conway with Willy Zygier – limited to just 20 audience members per event.

Acclaimed singer-songwriter Lior will perform two intimate shows for QMF at Brisbane’s Old Museum and the NOOSA alive! festival on Saturday 22 and Sunday 23 July. Twilight in the Red Box will present intimate instrumental and vocal performances by students of the UQ School of Music at the State Library of Queensland on Sunday 9, Sunday 16 and Sunday 23 July.

Many more events include the culmination of QMF’s long-running film scoring competition for school students Score IT!, including a lecture by Hollywood composer Cameron Patrick on Friday 28 July, the popular three-day Stradbroke Chamber Music Festival and the Australian premiere of Samuel Beckett’s radio play Words and Music.

The Jazz Music Institute will present JMI Up Late Series and JMI New Orleans Street Parade, while the Southern Cross Soloists will take you on a musical Journey Along the Silk Road. Further, there is the double-concert To the Earth / To the Sky held at the Spring Hill Reservoir and the Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium, and award-winning virtuosi Sitkovetsky Trio.

After Julia will present seven new works created by female composers inspired by Julia Gillard’s leadership and the inherent gender inequality it exposed, and virtuoso organist David Gray will perform classical and symphonic works on Brisbane’s historic 1934-vintage cinema pipe organ.

For those looking for something experimental, QMF will host Aurality – an augmented reality audio project, and Super Conductor and The Big Game Orchestra – an interactive video game with a live orchestra playing sound and video effects.

Katie Noonan said this year’s festival spanned many musical genres, with shows for the young and old and everyone in between, to stir the emotions. “You will laugh, cry, be wowed, informed and educated. You will be inspired, your eyes will be opened and your heart will be filled. You will have the opportunity to unite with your community and use your voice to make a difference,” said Ms Noonan. “This is a festival for all Queenslanders, so I urge you to hear and be heard.”

The 2017 Queensland Music Festival runs 7 – 30 July. For more information, visit: www.qmf.org.au for details.

Image: Manu Delago – photo by Mirko De Nicolo