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The Creative Issue – News for Creatives | May 20, 2022

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Brisbane Music Festival Streamed Series with Alex Raineri

Brisbane Music Festival Streamed Series with Alex Raineri
Claire Matthews

The third Brisbane Music Festival, curated by pianist Alex Raineri, will be presented in 2020 as an entirely digital series.

Held from June 6th to October 10th, performances will be live-streamed every second Saturday 6-7pm (AEST) in ten programs.

The festival will showcase twenty Queensland artists of international acclaim, with tickets just $30, and all proceeds going directly to the artists.

Featured artists include Southern Cross Soloists, Ensemble Q, Kupka’s Piano, Eva Kong (soprano), Oliver Scott (cello), Katie Stenzel (soprano), Marian Heckenberg (double bass), Jenna Robertson (soprano).

Four BMF Young Artists, Jemima Drews (flute), Laura Raineri (voice), Shuhei Lawson (cello) and Dario Scalabrini (clarinet), will also perform.

The Creative Issue caught up with Alex Raineri on all things streaming.

The Creative Issue: What is the experience like for you as an artist to perform in a live-stream? How does it compare to a live show?

Alex Raineri: The festival starts on Saturday, but I have been in other livestream events with other presenters. It’s a bit of an odd feeling, in that, in the live performance, you derive so much of the energy from the feedback from the crowd. So, when you’re live-streaming, I think you have to imagine that crowd and that impact. It’s also a really interesting way to have a close, intimate connection with the unique, front-row seat concert experience.

Tania Frazer, artistic director of Southern Cross Soloists

TCI: How challenging was it to set up a professional streaming/ recording studio at home? Would you recommend it for other artists?

AR: My festival is suited to live-streaming. Part of the idea of the festival is to present concerts in non-traditional spaces. Actually, I have used my music studio for live performances before. It’s quite a small studio, but it works really well, got enough space to set up the recording gear. In terms of practical logistics, it was kind of already in place. I’m really grateful for my sound engineer, who has worked with me for all the Brisbane Music Festivals so far, and had the ability to project the festival online.

TCI: How have you seen the BMF grow in the past 2 years, and what are your expectations for audience attendance in the 2020 digital series?

AR: Over the past two years, it’s been really exciting to watch what essentially started as a little project of mine, grow into something really quite substantial and meaningful in a lot of ways. What’s exciting for me as a presenter is the ability to provide work for artists and have a platform to produce new work, and for the festival to be for sharing music and sharing art with people. It’s quite inclusive. In terms of artistic curation, we can present more traditional classical music, alongside more contemporary performances. That’s also part of my festival philosophy, to have an equal balance between old work and new work.

Paul Dean of Ensemble Q

TCI: How excited are you to provide an employment opportunity for QLD artists during this time?

AR: This has been a really challenging and disrupting time for the entire arts sector. That’s undeniable. In a way, it’s very humbling and exciting for me to have the possibility to do my part in supporting the Queensland arts industry. I think it’s an interesting time as well for patrons of concerts, or any patrons of the arts. Any kind of ticket purchase has a much more tangible and meaningful contribution to the industry, at a time where artists are suffering all over the country. Even though this adjusted, online mode of sharing music does not necessarily have the same kind of magic as a live performance, there are some really special aspects. It’s a really important and crucial time for people to be consuming art, to be watching concerts, to continue the positive, creative message. To keep sharing stories.

Eva Kong soprano

TCI: What do you think are some key lessons learned from our isolation experiences?

AR: That’s a difficult one! When this all hit, it was a very confusing time. The idea of presenting a streamed festival was a fairly recent one. So, I’ve organised, curated and put it together in a much shorter timespan. I would usually take a full year to curate a festival, and launch a few months out. Whereas, for this, I launched a week before my opening concert. So, I’m really focused to spread the word as much as possible at the moment.

I really want to be transparent about charging for tickets. This is to support our artists, and all proceeds go directly to them. Our festival is not for profit. There is a lot of online content that is for free, but we can’t expect artists to keep performing for free. This is a call for support.

In terms of lessons learned, I think it’s more of the idea that there’s always ways to keep music going, and to continue the fundamentals of music. We’re here to share stories. We’re here to give people very meaningful artistic experiences. We can still celebrate and share, even in this time of crisis.

Brisbane Music Festival Concert 2019 at St Mary's Church, Kangaroo Point, Brisbane

TCI: Now that restrictions are easing, do you have any plans for getting back to physical performances?

AR: I guess all we can do is see what happens. We’re very lucky in Australia that we seem to be doing a lot better than the rest of the world. We also have the benefit of not being so cramped together, like in a lot of European and American countries. So, I don’t have any personal control, of course. We do have plans for my next festival, which will be curated as a live performance festival. There may continue to be a large component of life still be online, which will change the way things are presented in the future. I think, during this time, everyone has learnt to up-skill and adapt. I can’t imagine that all these good adapted practices won’t continue into the future.

The Details:
All events are streamed on the Brisbane Music Festival homepage.
A private link to live-stream is provided to ticket purchasers on the morning of the performance.
6/6: Performance #1 – Threads (Alex Raineri)
20/6: Performance #2 – Harlequin (Jemima Drews / Laura Raineri / Alex Raineri)
4/7: Performance #3 – Gravity (Marian Heckenberg / Oliver Scott / Alex Raineri)
18/7: Performance #4 – Wonderland (Katie Stenzel / Alex Raineri)
1/8: Performance #5 – La Vie en Rose (Southern Cross Soloists)
15/8: Performance #6 – Eva (Eva Kong / Alex Raineri)
29/8: Performance #7 – Fantasy (Dario Scalabrini / Shuhei Lawson / Alex Raineri)
12/9: Performance #8 – Around the World (Jenna Robertson / Alex Raineri)
26/9: Performance #9 – The Romantics (Ensemble Q)
10/10: Performance #10 – New Sounds (Kupka’s Piano)