In the wake of Brexit and Trump, Artistic Director Roland Peelman explores social upheaval across history at the 2017 Festival.

Cataclysmic upheaval is the theme for 2017’s Canberra International Music Festival. This year it coincides with the centenary of one of the most significant events in the 20th century, and it was this that has inspired Artistic Director Roland Peelman.

“The Russian Revolution, or some would say, the coup d’état, of 1917 sent shock waves around the world and did away with the most backward-looking empire in Europe at that time,” says Peelman. “It was also the first Marxist revolution that worked.”

“Like the one in 1959 in Cuba, it succeeded in overthrowing the establishment and building a new social order. It also signalled the start of a number of similar revolts around the world: Mao’s Long March, the revolutions in Africa and Latin America – and the idea of the proletarian struggle taking over the world. Che Guevara and Trotsky never relinquished that fight, and became martyrs of the revolution. In Trotsky’s case, a simple ice-pick, in the hands of one of Stalin’s secret agents, became his undoing.”

Canberra International Music Festival Artistic...