2014 is a bittersweet year for the festival, as it also bids farewell to Artistic Director Chris Latham.

The Canberra International Music Festival will celebrate its twentieth anniversary when it opens next week. This year’s festival also heralds Chris Latham’s last as Artistic Director.

The 2014 program, The Fire and The Rose, commemorates the centenary of the commencement of World War I and the 75th anniversary of the outbreak of WWII. With featured works by composers who were also soldiers, the program highlights the role that music and musicians played in war.

“One of the curious things about this year’s festival is that it’s actually a festival of young composers,” said Artistic Director Chris Latham. “Because these were composers who went off to war, they’re largely in their early 20s. And they’re being played by young musicians. Ultimately I think musicians are the embodiment of The Fire and The Rose.”

Latham’s final program lasts ten days and two weekends, and fuses the classical and the contemporary, the familiar and the new. He has scheduled works by Bach, Mozart, and Brahms, as well as composers in residence, prominent Australians Kats-Chernin, Westlake and Sculthorpe. A variety of ticketed and free events showcase these...