Bendigo gains new music festival

By McIvor Times

BENDIGO is adding another musical event to its calendar, with the launch of a major new festival next month.

Bendigo Chamber Music Festival will be a five-day, 14-concert festival held throughout Bendigo from February 5 to 9.

In a major coup for the festival, members of the Chamber Orchestra of Europe will be the artists in residence, coming to Australia exclusively for this art-focused city.

“It is with great pleasure that the Chamber Orchestra of Europe musicians will be artists in residence for the new Bendigo Chamber Music Festival in an ongoing capacity,” Chamber Orchestra of Europe general manager Simon Fletcher said.

“COE was founded on the principles of excellence, innovation and energy, characteristics which we also recognise in this wonderful new project in regional Victoria.

“This is a perfect partnership and one we are excited to develop.”

From the Capital Theatre and Bendigo Art Gallery to the Sacred Heart Cathedral and Ulumbarra Theatre, attendees will have plenty of choice for venues.

The musicians visiting Australia are not only members of this world-class orchestra but hold principal or guest principal positions with some of Europe’s best known orchestras.

These players will be joined by eight top-flight Australia-based artists to round out an exciting line-up.

It includes Melbourne Symphony Orchestra concertmaster Sophie Rowell, principal viola of Sydney Symphony Tobias Breider and one of Australia’s leading pianists, Daniel de Borah.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for the community and visitors to the region to celebrate world-class chamber music in February,” City of Bendigo manager of tourism and major events Terry Karamaloudis said.

“The community engagement and education program will also offer a unique experience for local Bendigo choirs and musicians to perform with international and Australian artists.”

The festival will also feature two exciting encounters with the next generation of young artists, with Europe-based ANAM alumna Lily Higson Spence and a vibrant young chamber group from Australian Youth Orchestra.

“I am so thrilled to be able to invite some of my extraordinary colleagues from the COE to our inaugural Bendigo Chamber Music Festival in February,” co-director Howard Penny said.

“Combining the benchmark house style of COE music-making (honed over decades of working with the world’s best) with top Australia-based musicians is a recipe for unique quality and energy: a good reason to start a festival!”

The festival will also focus on education and working with the arts culture already within the city.

BCMF will run a week-long, in-depth music education program that will see the musicians visit 12 different primary schools in the area, give masterclasses to secondary and amateur musicians and hold cushion concerts for toddlers.

It has also invited community choirs from Adelaide and Melbourne to Bendigo for the festival.

They will work with the Bendigo Chamber Choir throughout the week, culminating in a main-stage performance on the Saturday.

You can get a premium full festival pass for $549, $479 for a full festival pass, $339 for the premium weekend getaway pass, $229 weekend getaway pass, $42/$37 for the evening gala concerts and $32/$27 for day concerts.

Tickets can be purchased by calling the Capital Theatre box office on 5454 6100 or online at

You can also find the full program online.