In his first eclectic programme as Artistic Director, Nick Deutsch presents a fascinating season of contrasts.

The Australian National Academy of Music has launched its 2017 season, a diverse programme of rare and innovative musical offerings, featuring guest artists from at home and abroad. “Our objective is to expose our young musicians to a great range of important repertoire and genres so that they are equipped to face anything the profession throws at them,” Artistic Director Nick Deutsch told Limelight. “I suppose the common theme would be the excellence, energy and enthusiasm with which the musicians take on each of these diverse and challenging programmes.”

ANAM Artistic Director Nick Deutsch

The season – Deutsch’s first programme in his role as AD – draws on the work of composers like Beethoven and Strauss as well as music by Frank Zappa and Radiohead guitarist and composer Johnny Greenwood – whose response to Penderecki’s Polymorphia will sit on a programme in May alongside Brahms’ First Symphony. “I think the broader the exposure young musicians have to various types of music, the broader their musical horizons become,” explained Deutsch. “Even sitting on juries for orchestral auditions, one can immediately hear through a candidate’s Mozart concerto or orchestral excerpts if they have a depth of musical knowledge behind them. It is a big challenge for a training institution today, to be able to confront young musicians with a wide scope of different musical genres, but it’s something we do have the ability to do at ANAM and take very seriously. Most institutions will teach their students about it, here at ANAM we actually perform it.”

American soprano Brenda Rae

The students will perform these challenging programmes alongside visiting international artists such as American soprano Brenda Rae, British pianist Imogen Cooper, British violinist Anthony Marwood, percussionists Steven Schick, Jan Williams and William Winant, and innovative European chamber group, Ensemble Modern. “The point of difference between ANAM and other training institutions is that at ANAM our visiting artists – all musical titans – not only instruct our young musicians, they share the stage with them as colleagues,” said Deutsch. “It’s an amazing opportunity and the results are extraordinary. You just have to set foot in the building to feel the energy and excitement. It’s a real osmosis effect.”

Australian soprano Greta Bradman

The students will also have the opportunity to work with Australian artists, including Richard Tognetti and Greta Bradman. “Both Richard and Greta are amazing internationally recognised artists who just happen to be Australian,” said Deutsch. “I think it is great that our musicians see that despite growing up isolated from the rest of the world, it’s still possible for Australians to make their musical mark internationally.”

With 19 season concerts and 180 public events across the year – not to mention a newly launched national touring programme – Deutsch is hard-pressed to pick the performance he’s looking forward to the most. “They will all be extraordinary,” he said. “From the Adès homage to Couperin conducted by Nicholas Carter which opens the first programme, to Anthony Marwood performing the Beethoven Violin Concerto which closes the last one. I challenge you to come to them all and tell me what you think.”

And what will audiences take home from the experience? “They will get a 19-course degustation menu executed to the highest level by the superstars of tomorrow, today!”

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