From its outset in 2013, the Bendigo International Festival of Exploratory Music was determined to have a worldwide reputation.
It’s international reputation continues to build with founder and artistic director David Chisholm bringing a number of overseas artists to Bendigo for this year’s event as well as the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra.
“The big thing is the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, it is a huge leap forward in terms of our program,” Mr Chisholm said.
“They are coming to Victoria for the first time and have two programs (at the festival) which is really exciting. It’s an interesting collaboration to see major orchestra want to participate (in BIFEM).
“We are in our sixth edition now and have built a reputation globally. (The ASO’s involvement) began as conversation from their awareness of the work we're doing.
“They look for opportunities like this and are dynamic in terms of playing new music.”
The Adelaide Symphony Orchestra will perform works by Mr Chisholm and Jonathan Harvey at Ulumbarra on Friday night at 7.30pm.
On Saturday night, they will again feature at Ulumbarra when they perform works by Morton Feldman and Claude Vivier form 7.30pm.
“To have them performing two programs is really exciting,” Mr Chisholm said. “It is also the first time were are doing a broadcast out of Ulumbarra with ABC Classic coming on board.”
But for all the festival’s international reputation, Mr Chisholm said he hoped to engage more local audiences this year.
“The most challenging thing for us has been the local engagement,” he said.
“It’s interesting to see that it takes a long time for some people to engage. I know we are liked and respected but it’s more about trying to say to local people ‘here's a big-branded orchestra, it’s safe to come and see what we’re doing’.”
This year’s program does feature as many experimental acts such as people singing under water like soprano Juliana Snapper did last year.
“We have dipped our toe in the water with musical projects over the years,” Mr Chisholm said.
“Last year we had a lot of exploration. This year is much more a straight up and down recital.
“We still have 17 premieres this year but that’s at the lower end for us. It is a more lyrical tone than last year with a music focus.”
Texan percussion trio Line Upon Line (Saturday, 11am at The Capital), keyboardist Jacob Abela (Saturday, 1pm at the Old Fire Station), Bendigo composer Natasha Anderson (Saturday, 2.30pm at the Bendigo Bank Theatre) and a five-and-a-half-hour piano recital by Mark Knoop (Sunday, 10.30am at Ulumbarra) are some of the highlights on this year’s program.
“Natasha went to Bendigo Senior Secondary College and is a composer who has spent time between Bendigo and Berlin. She has retained that local connection which is a really strong element for the festival,” Mr Chisholm said.
“(Percussionist) Line Upon Line are doing a survey of North Amercian music, which is a bit less mainstream and the piano recital on Sunday is a marathon piece of music experienced in an epic way.”
Head to www.bifem.com.au for more information or to download the full program.