Classical music festival boosts community spirit

JADE MCGARRY

The NSW country town of Tyalgum is using its annual classic music festival to bring the community together after a difficult August.

Tyalgum Music Festival

The Tyalgum Music Festival features international and local musicians, as well as a range of pop up concerts scattered throughout the town.

 

In August, fire destroyed several businesses in the small town of approximately 400 people, but the Tyalgum Music Festival is expected to boost community spirit. 

The festival, which starts on September 6, features chamber music in the historic Tyalgum hall, as well as an ethos of “music around every corner”, with pop up concerts scattered throughout the town. 

The line-up includes Tinalley String Quartet, Viney-Grinberg Piano Duo, Erik Griswold as well as many other acts.  

Festival co-artistic director Vanessa Tomlinson, who is also an Associate Professor at Griffith University’s Queensland Conservatorium of Music, is one of the masterminds behind the festival.  

Ms Tomlinson said the recent fires had devastated the community, but said the extra pressure created by the fires was combatted by the town’s ongoing community spirit. 

“We [The Tyalgum Music Festival community] were all devastated to hear about the fires, and we will of course be encouraging festival visitors to help out with funds to reconstruct the area in any way we can,” she said. 

“There is obviously a little extra pressure going on in town at the moment, but everyone continues to be generous and supportive, and I hope that all the guests we bring in will fall in love with Tyalgum just like always,” she said.  

Ms Tomlinson said the combination of the natural beauty of the region and the quality of the music was what made the festival so unique.  

“It [Tyalgum Music Festival] is about combining high quality chamber music with a beautiful natural setting,” she said.  

“The location was originally inspired by the amazing acoustic of the Tyalgum Hall, which has just this year been refurbished.”  

Ms Tomlinson, who is also an Associate Professor at Griffith University’s Queensland Conservatorium of Music, used her expertise and musical knowledge to shape the nature of the festival, integrating world-class musicians and local performers. 

Erik Griswold

Composer and pianist Erik Griswold is expected to provide one of the Tyalgum Music Festival’s highlight performances. Photo: Greg Harm

 

“Because the town is so small, the festival is also an opportunity to have the artists, audience and locals all hanging out together, sharing stories, chatting about the concerts, and sharing local hiking tips,” she said.  

“I think this informality is really special.”  

One of the highlights of this year’s festival line-up is composer and pianist, Erik Griswold, who is performing on Sunday.  

Originally from San Diego, Griswold now lives in Brisbane and composes for ‘adventurous musicians,’ performing as a soloist and collaborator with musicians, artists, dancers, and poets, this year preforming at the festival with the camerata orchestra.  

Performing at Tyalgum Music Festival this year gives Erik Griswold a chance to engage with likeminded artists and listeners. 

“I think that is amazing that you can have this really high level of music and world class musicians creating works right alongside the school bands and community bands and choirs and so forth… it is a fantastic exchange,” Mr Griswold said.  

“The atmosphere that Anna (co-artistic ‘Tyalgum Music Festival’ director) and Vanessa have set up is really inclusive and eclectic, it fits in with my aesthetic perfectly,” he said. 

“It [Tyalgum] is such a beautiful environment, it is a magical, almost spiritual, place… the place is very special.”  

The festival begins on Friday September 6 and runs until Sunday September 8.  

For more information and to buy tickets, visit tyalgumfestival.com.au.

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