Banging the drum to kick off the show

A YOUNG audience helped kick off the Bendigo International Festival of Exploratory Music on Friday.

Lead by percussionist Madi Chwasta, kids explored the sounds of drums, wood blocks, xylophones and even terracotta pots at a Cushion Concert held at The Capital on Friday morning.

Chwasta also performed with the Argonaut Ensemble for their premiere performance of Neon Pig at Ulumbarra on Friday night.

BIFEM continues on Saturday and Sunday with performances from 10am to 10pm around the city.

Festival founder and artistic director David Chisholm said he was excited for the fifth BIFEM.

“It seems to become more and more meaningful each year,” he said.

“Things come together out of nowhere and all sorts people around world come to one place and so much good music made.

“I’m looking forward to everything. I love seeing the jigsaw puzzle (of the organising a festival) come together.”

The festival hasn’t shied away from new and unique performances with acclaimed soprano Juliana Snapper performing underwater on The Capital stage last night.

“Each year has so many different challenges,” Mr Chisholm said. 

“We have never put anyone under water (to sing) before but it is an accumulative effort. The team we have is solid, so many musicians return and it is a well oiled machine. It’s exciting.”

Mr Chisholm said he was excited to see Polish duo Sultan Gagavik.

The composer-performer duo will perform on Saturday night at 8pm and Sunday afternoon at 1pm at Trades Hall in View Street.

In their Australian debut, the duo – who perform in plastic masks – will perform an hour of live electronics music they have created has been made in Bendigo.

Another highlight planned for this weekend include the Small Infinites concert at Sacred Heart Cathedral on Saturday at 2pm.

The performance of Capricorn’s Nostalgic Crickets from the Argonaut Clarinet Orchestra hopes to include 49 clarinets.

“We have 35 so far and counting,” Mr Chisholm said.

“It will be nice to have a mass performance of clarinets through local volunteerism and people who are passing through.”

See the full BIFEM program by logging on to