Albury Chamber Music Festival plans free launch concert on May 23 at St Matthew’s Church

Sally-Anne Russell
Sally-Anne Russell

In light of the success of the inaugural Albury Chamber Music Festival in 2016, music lovers will get an early taste of this year’s festival with a free launch concert on May 23 at St Matthew’s Church, featuring mezzo soprano, Sally-Anne Russell.

The 7pm concert will also feature performances by Albury’s award winning Chamber Music performers, Helena Kernaghan and Kaori Sparks.

The festival is to be held from November 17-19.

Founding artistic director of the Albury Chamber Music Festival, Helena Kernaghan finished her Masters in Music Performance (piano) at the Victorian College of the Arts in 2005, under the tuition of Dr Donna Coleman and Caroline Almonte.

She soon established herself as an accomplished chamber musician, accompanist and soloist, performing in Europe and Asia as a member of the Abraxas Piano Trio in 2000, before basing herself in Melbourne to complete her Masters Degree.

Fellow member of the Orpheus Piano Trio, Kaori Sparks on violin is a musician of rare talent and skill.

Kaori Sparks (nee Nogi) began playing violin at the age of four and gained entry to the Musashino Music University in Tokyo.

Kaori studied chamber music with renowned Hungarian musicians Sandor Nagy and Kalman Berkes.

She toured Europe as a member of the Tokyo-Budapest Ensemble five times between 2004-06. Kaori was born in Fukushima-ken in Japan, and first collaborated with Helena in a fundraising concert to raise money for her hometown after the devastating tsunami in 2011.

Organist James Flores will perform on the mighty Letorneau organ that features in St Matthews Church. He will be joined by local music students Caleb Murray (cello) and Bailey Cardwell (piano) who will also offer performances. This is the future of music for our area, which shows the wonderful tuition and musical opportunities currently available to keen and talented students.

NSW Governor David Hurley will be guest speaker and guest of honour for this event.

He will, among other things, speak about this year’s festival, and reflecting on what it means to offer world-class musical experiences in regional Australia.

Nance Grant, one of the great Australian voices of the 20th century, will be in Albury for this special concert event.

She is the patron of the Albury Chamber Music festival.  

Described as being one of the “elite” Australian sopranos, along with Dame Nellie Melba, Florence Austral, Marjorie Lawrence and Dame Joan Sutherland, Grant brings great credibility and distinction to the festival.  

Having attained the highest accolades as an opera performer, she epitomizes what the festival is striving to achieve – quality and distinction.

After retirement from opera, Grant taught with Dame Joan Hammond at the Victorian College of the Arts.

The Albury Chamber Music Festival is an initiative of the St Matthew’s Music Association Inc.

The festival’s goal is to bring quality chamber music, performed by some of Australia’s leading chamber musicians, to Albury and the Border.  

It is our hope that this will not only give much pleasure to classical music lovers, but also encourage and inspire young musicians to aspire to quality performances.