‘Piazzolla was the man who made me believe that it was possible for me to create, that music was not something that had to come from Europe.’

- Osvaldo Golijov

Emma Pearson (pictured above) is one of Australia’s most captivating sopranos. She joins curator James Crabb and an impressive line up of some of Australia’s finest musicians on Saturday, August 26 to perform Osvaldo Golijov’s rarely performed song cycle, Ayre (2004). One of the centrepieces of the weekend, this 40-minute masterpiece weaves Arabic poetry with Sephardic folk tunes and electronics, transcending the boundaries of genre in a wondrous combination of beauty and disorientation. Reviewing the first recording of the work released on Deutsche Grammaphon, Alex Ross wrote in The New Yorker:

‘If a modern classical work could ever crack the Top 40, this is it: Golijov has created a new beast, of bastard parentage and glorious plumage.’

Over the next few months, we’ll be taking you through some of the works you’ll hear across our flagship weekend, beginning with the Golijov. To find out more about the composer and this fascinating work, click on the link below to read our program notes.


'In essence then, if classic is what remains as a model and universal is what belongs to everyone for all time, Piazzolla's tango is universal and classical music even if he called it "music of cafés", a creation immortal and luminous nonetheless, like a star that has become substance in the sounds of the soul.'

- Horacio Ferrer

After a lifetime fraught with controversy, Piazzolla has emerged as one of the most influential contemporary composers of all time, his iconoclastic legacy now unquestioned within the canon of Western classical music. Elevating the tango from its humble origins into a form of high art entirely his own, he fused the improvisatory freedom of jazz with the baroque counterpoint of Bach and the harmonic language of Ravel, Stravinsky and Bartók. The result was Tango Nuevo - music 'for the ears, not for dancing'.

"I was freezer than Shostakovich or Prokofiev. They suffered so much from politics. We didn't. It wasn't life or death for us."

- Sofia Gubaidulina

Sofia Gubaidulina is internationally celebrated as one of the world's most captivating living composers but, like Dmitry Shostakovich, her innovative style initially met with stiff resistance from the musical establishment of the Soviet Union, denounced as 'noisy mud instead of real musical innovation'. Since the 1980s, following Gidon Kremer's championing of her violin concerto, Gubaidulina has earned an international reputation, and at the 55th Biennale di Venezia in 2013, she received the Gold Lion for her life's work, joining the like's of Luciano Berio (1995) and Pierre Boulez (2012). A devout member of the Russian Orthodox Church, Gubaidulina associates music with notions of mysticism and transcendence. 'Seven Words' is one of her most iconic works, showcasing the accordion and cello in highly innovative ways. This contemporary tour de force chronicles the last seven words of Jesus Christ in what is arguably one of the most vivid and dramatic depictions of the scene in music.

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