Canberra musical highlights of 2017
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Canberra musical highlights of 2017

From the Carillon chimes to Bach's Christmas Oratorio, there's plenty of music to enjoy this year in Canberra.

It's time to reach for your diary and consider the amazing range of music that lasts right throughout 2017, some from groups and performers that live among us here and some touring from other Australian centres or from overseas. There's a panoply of choice; something to suit every taste.

What could be a better way to enjoy Australia Day on January 26 than to listen to Leonard Weiss sending the Carillion chimes ringing out across Lake Burley Griffin at 1.30pm?

The Australian Chamber Orchestra will perform Bach's <i>Christmas Oratorio</i> with the with the Choir of London in December.

The Australian Chamber Orchestra will perform Bach's Christmas Oratorio with the with the Choir of London in December.Credit:Anthony Browell

February brings the first Australian Chamber Orchestra concert of the year at Llewellyn Hall on Saturday 4 when Pekka Kuusisto​ and American folk artist Sam Amidon​ present a murderous psychological drama exploring the music of Janacek. Then on Saturday, February 18 there's Canberra Symphony Orchestra's Prom Picnic concert in the grounds of Government House when Graham Abbott will conduct, featuring Guitar Trek.

On March 2 the Canberra Symphony Orchestra will presents the first of its new Australian Series at Gordon Darling Hall at the National Portrait Gallery, an event titled Companion Pieces to accompany the exhibition The Popular Pet Show.

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Musician Richard Tognetti and director Jennifer Peedom will collaborate in a distinctive combination of music and visual image.

Musician Richard Tognetti and director Jennifer Peedom will collaborate in a distinctive combination of music and visual image. Credit:Mark Rogers

On March 26 the National Capital Orchestra, conducted by Weiss, will present a concert at the Queanbeyan Performing Arts Centre featuring French horn soloist Rob Gladstones performing Gliere's Horn Concerto. On March 27 the musical Ladies in Black by Tim Finn, based on the novel by Madeleine St John, opens at the Canberra Theatre.

On Saturday, April 8 Weiss conducts the Canberra Youth Orchestra with a cappella group The Idea of North at Llewellyn Hall. At the end of the month, April 27, there's Revolution as the Canberra International Music Festival begins a 10-day program described as "a musical adventure from the barricades of time".

Have you the stamina to attend every one of these performances? If you aim to cover the complete festival it's best to purchase a Festival Pass and all information can be found at cimf.org.au. I've chosen five concerts that sound unmissable beginning with three to fill the day on Sunday April 30: a children's program, Blinky Bill, at 9.30 and 11am, Stalin's Piano at 2pm and Dreaming Across the Horizon featuring didgeridoo player William Barton at 6.30pm. As well there are Mozart Milestones, (Monday, May 1) and Russian Roots and Rags, Elena Kats-Chernin's music played by herself and Tamara-Anna Cislowska​, four hands, one piano (Saturday, May 6).

As winter approaches Salut! Baroque presents Performance Practice, on Friday, June 9 at Albert Hall - music from the baroque period. Musica Viva brings the Pacifica Quartet to Canberra to play Mendelssohn​, Haydn and Nigel Westlake at Llewellyn Hall on Tuesday, June 20.

July is the month for CSO's Opera Gala at Llewellyn Hall on Saturday 8. For this event chief conductor and artistic director, Nicholas Milton has invited six singers from the State Opera House of Saarbrucken​, where he is general music director and chief conductor, to perform favourite opera arias and ensembles.

Selby and Friends is one of the most popular ensembles to tour to Canberra every year and on Monday, July 10 at the Fairfax Theatre, National Gallery of Australia, Selby will present music by Elena Kats-Chernin, Dvorak and Ravel with Natalie Chee and Julian Smiles.

Canberra singers Sonia Anfiloff​ and Ben Connor now live in Vienna where Connor performs with the Vienna Volksoper​ and will add the role of Rossini's Figaro to his repertoire this year. They will perform a recital of songs by Barber, Wolf, Faure and Tchaikovsky and, later, by Cole Porter, Herb Brown, Weill and Novello for Art Song Canberra at Wesley Music Centre, on Sunday, July 23.

There are three very different concerts during August.

Saturday, August 5, ACO presents another distinctive combination of music and visual image with Richard Tognetti​ collaborating with BAFTA-nominated Sherpa director Jennifer Peedom​ in Mountain.

The Australian String Quartet brings Homeward, the music of Britten, Paul Stanhope and Dvorak, to Gandel Hall in the National Gallery of Australia on Sunday, August 6. On August 10 the Australian Haydn Ensemble presents Mozart's Oboe and the Hunt at University House, ANU.

A September highlight will be the Griffyn​ Festival running between August 29 and September 3. This group always has a new slant on music and performance and has created a devoted following in Canberra and interstate.

On September 14 Musica Viva presents the the virtuosic duo, Nicolas Altstaedt​ and Aleksandar Madzar​ performing cello sonatas by Debussy, Britten, Boulanger, Jankowski and more at Llewellyn Hall.

Head over to Queanbeyan again in October for From Broadway to Ballroom starring Liza Beamish and Lachlan Davis, in performances at The Q from October 26 to 28.

You can hear 22-year-old violinist Harry Bennetts in the CSO's new Recital Series concert with Meriel​ Owen in the Larry Sitsky​ Room, ANU School of Music on Sunday, November 5 and then, again, with the orchestra at Llewellyn Hall on November 8 and 9.

On November 11 Canberra Youth Orchestra plays with jazz musician James Morrison at Llewellyn Hall.

And so to the year's end: ACO will join with the Choir of London in Bach's Christmas Oratorio, on Friday, December 8 and the Australian Haydn Ensemble again brings Erin Helyard​ to conduct its final 2017 concert – his favourite CPE Bach, Haydn and Mozart – at Albert Hall, Wednesday, December 13.

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