NSW Central Tablelands will be the setting for the most exquisite weekend of classical music to grace the region when the first Oberon Chamber Music Festival comes to town November 24-26.
The three-day celebration of joyful music-making takes place at the historic and newly-restored Malachi Gilmore Hall - with its magnificent acoustic - and features the cream of Australia's musicians - both vocal and instrumental.
And artistic director and inspiration behind the festival is Wentworth Falls local, now Lawson resident, virtuoso violinist Emma Jardine - leader of the internationally acclaimed Streeton Trio.
From the internationally-acclaimed Streeton Trio (pictured below right) to specially created ensembles featuring the country's leading musicians (soprano Susannah Lawergren, harpist Emily Granger, local clarinettist Peter Jenkin, oboist Diana Docherty - plus a slew of stars from the Sydney Symphony Orchestra among them), this will be very special experience to welcome in the summer... in a very special place!
The town is no stranger to chamber music, having hosted the Kowmung Music Festival from 1997 to 2007. Organisers then were keen to use the beautiful art-deco Malachi but it was functioning as a warehouse at the time. Since 2018 - when Lucy and Johnny East purchased the site - it has been restored to its former glory and revived as a multi-purpose arts space, serving the community as it was originally intended.
Artistic director Jardine sees Oberon as a natural choice for a chamber music festival. "It's such a beautiful part of the country - rolling hills, beautiful scenery, and now that the Malachi has been restored, it's the perfect spot to hold a chamber music festival."
Lucy East agrees. "The musicians are going to be on the auditorium floor, surrounded by the audience," she explains. "Suddenly you're right inside, you can see the music on the music stand, actually feel the instruments vibrate and experience the palpable energy, intelligence and musicality flying out of the musicians."
In addition to five mouth-watering concerts from Friday evening to Sunday afternoon, music specialist and animateur Andy Bromberger will appear over the weekend, giving entertaining and informative free "Meet, Greet and Eat" tasty pre-concert talks. And there's a special schools concert on Friday afternoon too.
The rise in digital events may have increased accessibility to the arts in regional areas, but as Emma Jardine explains, they're no substitute for the exhilarating atmosphere of a live event.
"One thing that the COVID lockdowns taught us, is how much we feed off the energy of the audience," she says. "They bring life to the performance as much as the musicians do. And a venue as enchanting as the Malachi makes all the difference - it will surely turn the expected outstanding performances into absolutely magical ones."
With celebrated works by Schubert, Beethoven and Ravel to the sensual tango music of Astor Piazzolla, the Oberon Chamber Music Festival promises the unique opportunity for locals and visitors alike to enjoy a breathtaking, romantic and spectacular weekend of music at a unique venue.
The Oberon Chamber Music Festival
Friday, November 24 to Sunday, November 26.
Malachi Gilmore Hall - 124 Oberon Street, Oberon.
Full program, tickets and more information:
The festival is sponsored by Oberon Council through the Reconnecting Regional NSW Community Events Program
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