Chick Corea (left) and Gary Burton.

Chick Corea (left) and Gary Burton.

Keyboard and vibes fusion compadres Chick Corea and Gary Burton head a sprawl of 300 artists from a dozen countries at this year's Melbourne International Jazz Festival from May 30 to June 8. Master US jazz-rock guitarist Larry Carlton and tenor sax royalty Joshua Redman will return, and Spanish guitarist Jorge Pardo will make his Australian debut on a program that artistic director Michael Tortoni calls ''the broadest in the history of the festival''. melbournejazz.com

 

Kats-Chernin inspired

Elena Kats-Chernin.

Elena Kats-Chernin. Photo: Nicole Cleary

Sydney composer Elena Kats-Chernin is inspired by her Sidney Myer Performing Arts Award conferred in Melbourne last week, not least for the ''playful'' design of the trophy itself: ''I see it as four of the music lines and the metal structure itself is like the fifth,'' she says. The $25,000 prize is handy too, as she completes her sixth opera, The Divorce, with Melbourne librettist Joanna Murray-Scott. Her fifth, George, will premiere in Hanover in September. Other artists recognised include contemporary circus Circa and playwright Daniel Keene.

Rub shoulders with top talent

The Melbourne Symphony Orchestra returns to Hamer Hall for the main event in its 2014 season launch this Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Principal guest conductor Diego Matheuz will lead the MSO Chorus and pianist Joyce Yang in Rachmaninoff's Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini as well as works by Borodin and Sibelius. Saturday night fans are invited to rub shoulders with the Venezuelan at a cocktail reception, with proceeds of the $120 ticket (not including the concert) earmarked for the MSO's community education project.