November 12, 2020
Arts & Culture

On the Terrace: a free treat for music lovers

Adelaide’s North Terrace cultural precinct will be alive with the sounds of chamber music on Sunday, with local ensembles performing for free in some of the city’s most treasured spaces.

On the Terrace is presented by Chamber Music Adelaide (CMA) in collaboration with the Art Gallery of South Australia, SA Museum, State Library of SA, the Migration Museum and the University of Adelaide.

The seven core groups supported by CMA – Adelaide Baroque, Ensemble Galante, Kegelstatt Ensemble, Recitals Australia, Soundstream New Music, The Firm and Various People Inc ­– will join with guest artists to perform what are described as 15-minute “musical vignettes” in galleries and foyers of the North Terrace buildings between 11am and 4pm on Sunday.

This is the fourth year On the Terrace has been presented, with CMA general manager Bridget Alfred saying it was born out of a desire to provide new performance opportunities for the ensembles, while also showcasing chamber music to people who may not previously have experienced it.

“There was an aim to demystify that fine-art music and create an audience that may not have existed before,” she says.

“It is pretty unique and I think the whole arts ecology in Adelaide really supports this sort of event… there’s a willingness to try different things.”

On the Terrace at the South Australian Museum in 2019.

While keen chamber music fans are likely to scan the program in advance, visitors to the various participating institutions may be lucky enough to accidentally come across a performance.

The State Library’s beautiful Mortlock Chamber and the University of Adelaide’s Bonython Hall will host On the Terrace for the first time this year. Other 2020 performance spaces are Gallery 9 of the Art Gallery, the Migration Museum’s Chapel and Gallery 7, and the SA Museum’s Pacific Cultures Room.

Around 20 musicians will take part in the performances, including four soloists: cellist Tom Marlin, viola player Aiden Sullivan and classical guitarist Caleb Lavery-Brook (all with Recitals Australia), and pianist Michael Ierace (The Firm).

Audiences can expect a diverse repertoire, from Baroque to contemporary. While Kegelstatt Ensemble will play French composer Jacques Ibert’s 5 Pieces for Oboe, Clarinet and Bassoon, for example, Various People will present songs from the Spanish Renaissance performed by mezzo soprano Cheryl Pickering and Philip Griffin on the vihuela (a Spanish stringed instrument).

For something completely different, head to the Art Gallery of SA’s Gallery 9, where Soundstream’s Derek Pascoe and Gabriella Smart will perform the world premiere of new work Tensile against the backdrop of the colourful Chromatopia exhibition.

Soundstream describes Tensile as an exploration of a sonic world created by found objects: “Using mattress springs as a live electronic base, industrial objects are played to create a transformed soundscape.”

A performance in the Art Gallery of SA during last year’s On the Terrace.

Bridget says the program for On the Terrace is designed so people can wander between performances, with three opportunities to see most of the works.

“It’s very family-friendly. There’s a lot of interaction with the artists… they will chat with the audience and talk through what they are doing. That’s another really lovely part of it.”

For many of the musicians, On the Terrace will be their first live performance since this year’s COVID-19 shutdown.

“It has been a challenging year for so many and one of the things we’re cherishing is that renewed sense of connection,” Bridget says.

“Chamber music’s strength is the ability to be small and flexible, so CMA ensembles are able to connect quickly with live audiences. We look forward to welcoming people to these wonderful institutions and to experience On the Terrace as a real celebration and bringing together of our community.”

On the Terrace is free and takes place from 11am until 4pm this Sunday, November 15. The full program is available online.


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