One hundred years after Russia’s revolutions, massive upheaval will theme the 2017 Canberra International Music Festival.

The Canberra International Music Festival has announced that Revolution: A Music Adventure from the Barricades of Time will be the theme of the 2017 festival.

“The vibe for the 2017 festival is Revolution,” explained Artistic Director Roland Peelman, “not because some people have described Brexit or the United States election as a revolution, but because one hundred years ago in Russia, amidst the ravages of war, a real and extraordinary revolution did take place. It gives us a chance to ponder the nature and the circumstances of radical change, not only in the political arena but in life itself.”

Canadian Brass, photo © Bo Huang

The festival will feature a number of international guests, including Canadian Brass – who will return to Australia after an absence of more than 20 years, as well as the Paris-based Van Kuijk Quartet, making their Australian debut with Israeli clarinettist Orit Orbach. Also making their Australian debut will be the Simón Bolíver Quartet from Venezuela. The complete list of international artists – including musicians from Singapore, China, the USA and more, will be released with the full programme in February.

William Barton

The festival has offered a taste of the events to come, however. Australian didgeridoo player William Barton will appear at the festival for an exploration of Aboriginal children’s songs and stories alongside Andrew Ford’s settings of traditional English nursery rhymes in Dreaming Across the Horizon. Photographer and story-teller William Yang will narrate Harvest of Endurance in the National Museum of Australia, featuring a 50-metre scroll – The Harvest of Endurance – depicting survival, resourcefulness and reward across two-centuries of Chinese contact with, and emigration to, Australia. The concert will feature 18 compositions especially composed for the scroll. Mozart and Shostakovich will feature prominently in the festival, as well as Australian composers such as Ford, Robert Davidson and Elena Kats-Chernin. There will also be something for the kids: Mister Tim and Ensemble Offspring will present Blinky Bill, a Koala Revolution.

“There is going to be so much to listen to,” said Peelman, “and so much to talk about.”

The Canberra International Music Festival runs from April 27 to May 7, 2017. Tickets are on sale now