It's been a 25-year journey for the Organs of the Ballarat Goldfields, but for the 2020 edition, there are a few new ideas.
Friday night's grand opening performance will be at St Alipius' Church on Victoria Street for the first time.
Dr Gary Ekkel will direct an ensemble featuring the Schola Cantorum of Melbourne and the Melbourne Baroque Orchestra performing a reconstruction of Bach's St Mark Passion.
The nine-day program continues across a variety of venues, from the venerable St Patrick's Cathedral to tiny churches in Yandoit and Snake Valley.
Italian violinist Paolo Tagliamento, 22, will perform at five shows, wielding a 1701 Pietro Rogeri violin from Milan.
Arriving in Ballarat on Thursday, he said was nervous about taking the antique instrument on the flight.
"I've had this one since 2015, previously I had some other ones, but not compared to this one," he said.
"There's a foundation in Italy, in Milan, probably the biggest and most famous collection in Italy, and they give them to young Italian musicians and already famous maestros.
"It's amazing, it's a great honour."
His first Australian shows will be at the Ballarat Mining Exchange, performing the Dvorak Bagatelles.
Interestingly, he will be accompanied by Anthony Halliday on a harmonium, a technical organ-style instrument.
"I've never played with a harmonium, actually," he said.
"It's a great way for the public to hear this music, there are many things we propose that aren't so common, so it's good to have a dedicated audience."
He'll also perform in Mildura, Melbourne, and Sydney, at a special show organised by the Italian Institute of Culture.
"It's an incredible coincidence, because the president of the Italian Institute of Culture in Sydney was the last director in Madrid, so he knows me - we tried many times to organise a concert in Madrid, and it was never possible, the Italian Institute was right next to the school where I was studying, but we've managed it here in Australia," he said.
Festival co-organiser Judy Houston said she was proud to have Mr Tagliamento in Australia - he will also be part of special shows at the historic Yandoit Uniting Church with his friend and colleague, guitarist Massimo Scattolin.
"It only holds about 120 people, so we're repeating the concert (on Thursday)," she said.
"They're trying to save that little church, all of the others have been sold and turned into houses and BnBs, but this is the last one, the community want to keep it as a public building, so we're going to take Paolo out there.
"We're also putting him in the Wendouree Performing Arts Centre, St Patrick's Cathedral, and the Mining Exchange - we're going to make him work very hard."
Mr Tagliamento doesn't quite see it that way.
"I say it's music, it's not work," he said.
Tickets to the opening night recital will be available at the door, and the full program is available online.
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