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Posted by on Jun 19, 2008 in Media | 1 comment

Adelaide: South Australian Wine & Music


South Australia (SA) is often celebrated as the Down Under’s food and wine centre. Its capital city, the picturesque and laidback Adelaide, and its suburbs have rightly earned a well-deserved sobriquet of being the “cultural capital” of the country (and among the top liveable cities in the world). As a visitor here, I can vouch for the excellence of wine and the enjoyable concerts!

I hope to explore Australia’s extraordinary natural environment, history and indigenous culture…and the great outback. (Meanwhile I learn that “Aussie” Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman are set to star in an “epic” Australian outback movie with the goal of promoting the country’s spirit and luring more tourists Down Under, reports Reuters.)

A memorable Adelaide event that I attended recently was the “Young Accompanists On Show”, where one of the performers was 13-year-old Candy Liang. Her parents arrived from China only three years ago to start a business here, further contributing towards making this city a vibrating multicultural hub.

“Young Accompanists on Show”, which was presented by the Accompanists’ Guild of SA at Pilgrim Church as part of the 25th Anniversary celebrations of the Guild, was supported by the Adelaide City Council. I wonder how many civic councils/bodies in the world encourage young students/musicians in the field of classical music in their cities and suburbs. It was indeed a grand gesture — to offer two concerts by leading musicians, a lunch and a masterclass for young performers.

…All for free with a view to focussing on young accompanists and bringing different groups of people into the City for a cultural event. Having an Adelaide trained pianist (David Barnard — who at just 26 is now working very successfully out of London as a freelance pianist) at the centre of this event was an added bonus. David listened to the concert (mainly secondary school piano/wind duos), performed with three wind soloists from the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra in the concert, joined approximately 150 for lunch, and then conducted a very stimulating master class with the young performers.

Also, among the audience was the internationally-acclaimed pianist Malcolm Martineau. “I don’t think there has ever been anything quite like this in Adelaide before,” said a delighted Diana Harris, the moving spirit behind the musical event. “There are regular Wednesday lunch-time concerts but never for free and never with lunch and a M class added.”

During her career as an accompanist and artist, Diana has collaborated with hundreds of Australian and International musicians. She has encouraged many of her overseas performance associates to undertake residencies at the Flinders Street School of Music where she was principal lecturer until 2002. Later she joined the Elder School of Music at the Adelaide University as Head of the Continuing Flinders Street programs.

In support of her belief in the significance of the accompanist in a wide range of situations, Diana developed curricula to Honours Degree level. There are now fine young accompanists worldwide who began their studies with Diana in Adelaide. She is the founder and the driving force behind the Accompanists’ Guild of South Australia. The Guild format has been copied in Queensland and New South Wales and is on the drawing board in other states in Australia.

The indefatigable Diana had in 2000 directed a two-week Festival of Australian Music which involved 20 concerts presenting works by over 80 Australian composers. The Festival involved over 100 musicians who performed works from the 19th century to compositions commissioned for the occasion. During the Festival Diana performed as accompanist in several concerts bringing together her demonstrated passions for new composition, Australian music and collaborative piano playing.

The photo below shows Diana Harris with David Barnard…
Interview 061_1.jpg

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Copyright 2008 The Moderate Voice
  • AustinRoth

    A lot of people pooh-pooh Australian table wines. This is a pity as many fine Australian wines appeal not only to the Australian palate but also to the cognoscenti.

    Black Stump Bordeaux is rightly praised as a peppermint flavored Burgundy, whilst a good Sydney Syrup can rank with any of the world’s best sugary wines.

    Château Blue, too, has won many prizes; not least for its taste, and its lingering afterburn.

    Old Smokey 1968 has been compared favorably to a Welsh claret, whilst the Australian Wino Society thoroughly recommends a 1970 Coq du Rod Laver, which, believe me, has a kick on it like a mule: eight bottles of this and you’re really finished. At the opening of the Sydney Bridge Club, they were fishing them out of the main sewers every half an hour.

    Of the sparkling wines, the most famous is Perth Pink. This is a bottle with a message in it, and the message is ‘beware’. This is not a wine for drinking, this is a wine for laying down and avoiding.

    Another good fighting wine is Melbourne Old-and-Yellow, which is particularly heavy and should be used only for hand-to-hand combat.

    Quite the reverse is true of Château Chunder, which is an appellation contrôlée, specially grown for those keen on regurgitation; a fine wine which really opens up the sluices at both ends.

    Real emetic fans will also go for a Hobart Muddy, and a prize winning Cuivre Reserve Château Bottled Nuit San Wogga Wogga, which has a bouquet like an aborigine’s armpit.

    Thanks to MP!

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