Plan to make Bendigo new music centre

Bendigo Weekly | Bendigo Weekly | 07-Sep-2012

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Bendigo can build on its musical traditions, according to a composer who is planning an audacious new festival for the city.

"Bendigo is a perfect location and an incredibly musical city," David Chisholm said this week.

"I've moved here to tell people we do have the capacity, and sometimes it just someone to do it."

Mr Chisholm is planning a "mini-fest"  as the first step in the development of a plan to make Bendigo the national hub for new experimental music.

His "Prospectors Day" at the Capital's Old Fire Station on Sunday September 30 will present three concerts and provide information about the Bendigo International Festival of Exploratory Music, planned for September next year.

"Exploratory music is a tough sell everywhere, but there are audiences for this music," Mr Chisholm said.

"Melbourne is too big for a festival like this to have an impact, and across the world, these things happen in smaller cities.

"The Prospectors Day is my call the city to say, here's what I want to do, here's what's involved."

Mr Chisholm was chairman of the Melbourne Fringe Festival and has also worked in policy development for Arts Victoria, Chamber Music Australia and The Australian Opera.

He and his partner, Chilean guitarist Mauricio Carrasco, are now based in Bendigo.

Mr Carrasco will perform at the Prospectors Day concerts, along with recorder and accordion duo Windspiel from Germany and the trumpet player Tristram Williams and trombonist Ben Marks.

"I want to create a niche festival," Mr Chisholm said.

"The ambition is to create an academy for new music, because you do have to cultivate it.

"People say they don't like it but it's because they've had a bad experience, but if you get people who love to play it and do it well, then you can understand it.

"I grew up in the country in a working class family, and it was only since I started studying in the late 1980s that I began to appreciate this music.

"Now, I'm a passionate advocate."

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