6 September 2022

Play music and they will come ... to Goulburn for the city's first chamber music festival

| Sally Hopman
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Two musicians

George Washingmachine and Simon Tedeschi will perform at the inaugural Chamber Music Festival in Goulburn on the weekend of 16-18 September. Photo: Keith Saunders.

There’s one lesson you hear the loudest at Hume Conservatorium: learn to love the music – from contemporary to classics and all those genres in between.

Since it was founded in 1985 as the centre for music education across the NSW Southern Highlands and Tablelands, the Hume Conservatorium, or Con, in Goulburn, has been spreading the musical word to the hundreds of school children it teaches regularly through to the 80-year-olds who live to carry a tune – and all those other musicians who learn their craft through the school.

Today, according to the chair of the Con’s board, Ed Suttle, about 70 per cent of the music taught in the school is contemporary. Nothing wrong with that, he says, except that there’s more than enough room to ensure that more classical styles of music are heard too.

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“Music is education,” Mr Suttle said. “It teaches us so much. Yes, we are a centre for music, but we don’t want to be just a centre for contemporary music, we are so much broader than that.”

To that end, in 2019, the board examined ways to boost the teaching of more classical styles of music in the school, particularly chamber music. You’d think it probably wasn’t the best time to consider wholesale change, with the arrival of a pandemic and people forced to isolate from each other, but it worked.

“Because our students couldn’t come into the Con, they had to study from home and a lot of the parents found themselves helping out, becoming music teachers for their kids,” Mr Suttle said. “The side-effect from that was how many parents began to remember their love for music, particularly classical because they had become close to it again – the next thing you knew we had all these parents signing up for music classes too.”


Chair of the Hume Conservatorium in Goulburn, Ed Suttle, says the Chamber Music Festival will have something for everyone. Photo: Hume Conservatorium.

With this renewed passion for music came a move by the board to reintroduce classics of all kinds to the Con’s audience – and the inaugural Chamber Music Festival of Goulburn was born.

On the weekend of 16 to 18 September, the Hume Con will host some of the best chamber music performers in the land, including acclaimed classical pianist Simon Tedeschi, who will team up with jazz violinist and vocalist George Washingmachine for some Gershwin classics and jazz standards.

The entertainment starts on the Friday night with a gala event, featuring Ensemble Offspring’s Claire Edwards on marimba and Jason Noble on bass clarinet with American harpist Emily Granger.

On the Saturday morning, local artists Richard Lane and Glenn Amer will take the audience on a trip Down Memory Lane with Songs They Danced To. Just before the concert, visitors will be invited to take a quick refresher in some old dance steps, with a little help from the Goulburn Social Dance Club, so they’re ready to waltz across the floor to classics like Blue Moon and The Way You Look Tonight.

Group of singers

The Sydney Chamber Choir will be one of the star attractions at Goulburn’s first Chamber Music Festival. Photo: Hume Conservatorium.

Big crowds are expected for Saturday afternoon’s concert featuring Simon Tedeschi and George Washingmachine playing Gershwin classics as well as numbers from Cole Porter, Oscar Peterson and Fats Waller.

On the Saturday night, Goulburn’s St Saviours Cathedral will play host to the Hume Con’s choir, Vocalocal, performing with local schools and the Sydney Chamber Choir.

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This will be followed by a special performance of Paul Stanhope’s Requiem which has been nominated in the APRA AMCOS Art Music Awards for Choral Work of the Year.

“Visitors will see the best of the best over the weekend,” Mr Suttle said, “and we are so proud to be able to bring something like this to them.

“It will also be such a wonderful experience for our young performers to be able to play with musicians like this.”

Bookings are now open for the inaugural Chamber Music Festival in Goulburn with ticket information available here.

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