It’s one of the more peaceful and beautiful offerings of Ballarat in summer.
The opportunity to sit in the cool quiet of a cathedral, church or heritage building and hear classical music played by some of the most talented artists in the world.
This year is the 22nd Organs of the Ballarat Goldfields festival, and it’s your chance to hear music rarely played anywhere in Australia.
This year’s program features guitar virtuosos Leonard and Slava Grigoryan, Italian master organist Giampaolo di Rosa, Irish soprano Emma Kate Tobia and the Babaganoush Gypsy Ensemble.
Some of the featured music includes work by Mozart, Bach, Handel, Telemann and Strauss, as well as rarely played compositions by Scarlatti and Franck.
Festival director Sergio de Pieri returns to Ballarat full of enthusiasm for this year’s musical program.
Mr de Pieri first came to Australia in the 1960s as a student of music, having graduated from the Benedetto Marcello Conservatoire in Venice where he was later a professor.
He founded the festival in 1995.
“This year the program is fantastic,” Mr de Pieri said.
“We have six or seven centuries of music to present, especially European music. We have England with Handel, we have Italy with Monteverdi, we have Schutz and Bach in Germany, and in France we have Rameau – all the big works that you never have the opportunity to hear.”
One of the treasures of the goldfields region is the number of Victorian-era pipe organs which have survived into the present day.
All over Ballarat and from Creswick through Clunes to Dunolly, Australian and international artists will play these instruments as well as their own disciplines, from brass through string to ensemble and orchestra work.
The opening night’s concert featuring the work of baroque composer Jean-Philippe Rameau (1683-1764) is a rare opportunity to hear the work of this celebrated but little-played French artist, says Mr de Pieri.
“This is a big work that you never get the opportunity to hear in a big concert,” he says.
“We have 70 people playing with original instruments on the first night; the first time you will hear something like this in Australia with Rameau.”
Another feature of the festival will be the launch of the new FIRE Chamber Orchestra.
The FIRE Chamber Orchestra will be playing works by Vivaldi, Chopin and the irresistible Concierto di Aranjeuz by Rodrigo.
The Organs of the Ballarat Goldfields festival runs from January 13-22, 2017.
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