It is worth stating up front that what the Australian National Academy of Music has achieved with its expansive ANAM Set is extraordinary; for its scale, depth, and for the fact that its conception came out of an undeniably devastating period for musicians and composers globally, this project will certainly go down in Australian music history. The works that have arisen from the year-and-a-half-long project are, as ANAM Artistic Director Paavali Jumppanensums up, “an immense survey” of living Australian creativity and innovation, the scale of which will hopefully be aspired to, if not fully replicated, many times in the future.

The backbone of the idea – commissioning sixty-seven composers to each write a piece for one of ANAM’s 2021 musicians – seems simple enough; but the scale of the work, from finding the composers, to pairing them with musicians, from the gargantuan task of administrating the program, to finally categorising the works into palatable concert-length performances, is staggering. Attending the opening night of the three-day festival felt like joining marathon runners at the moment of crossing the finish line; we, the delighted and trepidatious audience, played no part in getting to that point, but we sure were...