“Soak it up,” is Ben Opie’s advice for newcomers to the Peninsula Summer Music Festival. For the oboist and co-founder of the Inventi Ensemble (with flautist Melissa Doecke), the 2019 Festival on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula will be his first as Director – but he’s by no means a newcomer, having performed there with Inventi.

“I’ve been down for probably about six of them as an audience member as well,” Opie tells Limelight. “So I feel like I have been part of the Festival in various different ways.”

Peninsula Music Festival Ben Opie and Melissa Doecke. Photo: supplied

In his first year at the helm, Opie hopes to build on the “strong foundation” set up by the Festival’s founder Julia Fredersdorff, who incorporated a wide range of music from early music to jazz in the Festival’s line-up. “That’s what I was thinking when putting the program together,” Opie says. “And then also about how we could potentially activate some more venues that are on the Peninsula and also bring in a bit of diversity and collaboration as well.”

For Opie, one of the highlights of the upcoming Festival is Song & Story, a work by Melbourne-based cellist...