The Melbourne Cello Festival returns to the MCM

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Distinguished cellists from around the world have come together for the second biennial Melbourne Cello Festival, which commenced on Monday 25 September at the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music (MCM).

The week of concerts, masterclasses and panel discussions celebrate the wide-reaching influence of the cello in classical and contemporary music, and features internationally-renowned musicians including Tsuyoshi Tsutsumi (Japan/USA), Inbal Megiddo (Israel/New Zealand), Edith Salzmann (NZ/Germany), Brandon Vamos (USA), and the Melbourne Conservatorium’s own Howard Penny and Alvin Wong.

Young cellists aged 8–15 kicked off the action on Monday at the Melbourne Cello Festival Kids Day: a day-long program featuring a variety of workshops, activities and performance opportunities for budding cellists.

Last year’s festival hit the CelloXtravaganza! will make a welcome return to the Festival on Sunday 1 October, when a festival orchestra of cellists and double bassists will present selections from film music arranged especially for the occasion.

Dr Alvin Wong, Artistic Director of the Festival and Lecturer in Cello at the MCM, described the Festival as an opportunity for cellists from around the globe to come together in celebration of their wonderful instrument.

“The atmosphere at the moment in the Melbourne Conservatorium is very exciting; there are groups of people rehearsing in every corner making beautiful sounds,” said Dr Wong.

“We are excited to have even more artists and a longer festival than last year,” Dr Wong said. “Because of that, we’ve been able to provide a program with much more variety: popular works by composers such as Beethoven, Debussy and Hans Zimmer, as well as some much more rarely heard music.”

The first evening concert on Tuesday features guest artist duos in concert, while Wednesday evening’s concert will showcase two works by Chinese composers Gao Ping and Bright Sheng, with a monumental finale by Kodály, performed by Tsuyoshi Tsutsumi.

On Thursday, Australian Cello Award-winner Yelian He will give a special recital with pianist Yasmine Rowe in their homecoming performance, after spending over ten years in the UK. Friday evening’s concert will treat audience members to chamber music works by master Viennese composers Schubert and Brahms.

Dr Wong is looking forward to the entire program of concerts, which will see invited overseas artists perform with the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music’s own distinguished musicians.

Dates: 25 September–1 October
Location: All events will be held at the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music in Parkville

Banner image: Chancellor’s Concert. Photo: Prudence Upton.