Arts in the Valley was established in 2007 by two people who were passionate about quality music, sculpture and art and also about beautiful Kangaroo Valley – Elizabeth George and Belinda Webster OAM. Belinda was a lynchpin in guiding the Festival, as Artistic Director, from 2007 to 2018. Supported by a team of hard-working volunteers, the Festival has grown to include not only the biennial weekend of concerts and sculpture, but also visual arts exhibitions and choral workshops.
2017 Festival "Highly Strung"
The 2017 Festival theme was 'Highly Strung'. The highlight of the 2017 Festival was an amazing Saturday night performance by the acclaimed Goldner String Quartet, which included a touching piece composed especially by Martin Wesley-Smith in memory of one of the Festival founders, Elizabeth George. Festival-goers also enjoyed engaging performances in private homes by pianist Ian Munro and speaker Andrew Ford, accordion player Cathie Travers and soprano Annette Tesoriero, violinist Dimity Hall and cellist Julian Smiles and, a first for Kangaroo Valley, - a koto quintet led by the amazing Satsuki Odamura! As usual, Sculpture in the Valley was incredibly popular with locals and visitors alike, while on Sunday, visitors could enjoy a wildflower walk near beautiful Tallowa Dam.
2015 Festival "Music & Art"
At the fifth biannual festival exhibitions and screening of relevant artworks accompanied the music concerts. In several cases, artists created a painting during the performance. Guests were surrounded by gorgeous images and gorgeous sounds!
Our performers included Simon Tedeschi and Kevin Hunt at the piano, Slava and Leonard Grigoryan on guitars, David Pereira played his cello while Carlos Barrios created an original art work and David Hudson played his didgeridoo and painted. The Sculpture in the Valley exhibition and competition was held in a new venue showing indoor and outdoor sculptures. Prize money was increased and many works were sold.
2013 Festival "Valley Dreaming"
Our fourth biennial Arts in the Valley Festival was the first Australian arts festival to explore Aboriginal music and the way it has influenced several generations of Australian composers.
The day festival featured music, sculpture and aboriginal performance. The Sydney Youth Orchestra and Canberra Youth Orchestra, conducted by Max McBride, performed John Antill’s Corroboree Ballet. Local aborigines performed a corroboree at the showground. Soprano Cheryl Barker and Baritone Peter Coleman-Wright with Piers Lane at the piano gave a Gala Recital and the festival closed with a chamber music concert of works by Australian Composers.
2011 Kangaroo Valley Arts Festival
2011 once again included the Sculpture exhibition and Hausmusik concerts. Concerts featured the exciting Taikoz Quartet, local aboriginal dance company Yuin Ghudjargah and The Song Company.
2009 Festival "Music & Words"
The 2009 Festival ‘Music and Words’ included the Frozen Music series and the Sculpture Exhibition, Visual Arts Exhibition, a Didgeridoo Workshop as well a concert series including Elizabeth Campbell and Ian Munro presenting ‘Judith Wright in Song’. ‘An Evening of Monologues’, with theatrical and musical solos specially commissioned for the festival was another highlight. The Goldner String Quartet and William Barton concert was a celebration of Peter Sculthorpe’s 80th birthday.
2007 Inaugural Festival
Our inaugural Arts in the Valley Festival was held in 2007, the first of our planned biennial festivals of classical and contemporary music integrated with the visual arts.
Yvonne Kenny gave a recital of works by Schubert and Liszt. We commissioned 2 local composers Andrew Ford and Martin Wesley-Smith to compose a song for Ms Kenny. We also presented an Australian first in which musicians and artists (painters and sculptors) collaborated to create new works. The musicians and artists were Brett Dean with Heather Betts, David Pereira with Micky Allen and Alice Giles with Rosemary Madigan.
We invited local and regional sculptors to exhibit works in our first Sculpture Exhibition set in a stunning local garden. This highly successful event is now known as Sculpture in the Valley.
Another Australian first was the introduction of our Frozen Music Series. Audiences were given the rare opportunity to visit historic Barrengarry House or a stunning architect-designed house in Kangaroo Valley. The architect talked about the architecture followed by an intimate chamber concert.
These intimate concerts in local homes are now known as Hausmusik with houses chosen for their acoustic qualities as well as having interesting architecture and beautiful Kangaroo Valley views.
A word of thanks..
Kangaroo Valley Arts Festival is run by local volunteers and we thank the past and present presidents of our committee Elizabeth George, John Wright and Nick Minogue for their vision, leadership and hard work.