Bellingen Fine Music Festival main concerts

Not long now until Bellingen’s Fine Music Festival, and details of the five main ticketed concerts have just been released by Bellingen Community Arts Council .

Concert 1 ‘Youth and Exuberance’

Presented by Camp Creative in memory of Peter Nance

Friday 22nd September, 7.30pm, Bellingen Memorial Hall

A magical night of music including the premieres of Three Sketches, a commissioned work by Sally Whitwell (Festival Composer-in-Residence) performed by the Bellingen Youth Orchestra and HSC student compositions performed by the Acacia Quartet. The Acacia Quartet will also perform another composition by Sally Whitwell and pieces by Javier Alvarez and Nick Wales. The Youth Orchestra itself will delight the audience with its usual brilliant performances of popular classical pieces. A highlight this year will be a movement from the Concerto for Trombone and Orchestra by Henry Wolking featuring young soloist Blaise Borrer.

Enjoy supper before the concert in the company of young musicians in the Senior Citizen’s Centre, Maam Gaduying (Meeting Place) Park from 6pm.  Help support the Bellingen Youth Orchestra by taking advantage of the delicious food that will be available at intervals and pre-concert suppers.

Concert 2 ‘A Touch of Paradise’

Saturday 23rd September, 2.30pm, Bellingen Memorial Hall

Prizewinning piano trio Strelitzia have been widely praised for their innovative programs, which typically feature the great masterpieces of the Classical, Romantic and Twentieth Century chamber music repertoire alongside lesser known gems from around the world, as well as fresh new contemporary works. Strelitzia comprises pianist Michael Curtain, Lucy Warren, violin and cellist Eleanor Betts. Tony Burke in Classikon has described their playing as “nothing short of superb in its programming and delivery”.

For the Bellingen Fine Music Festival their program includes Shostakovich’s hauntingly beautiful Piano Trio No 1 in C Minor and Haydn’s energetic Piano Trio in C Major. They will also perform Ravel’s Piano Trio in A Minor, widely regarded as a virtuosic masterpiece for piano, violin and cello and Lighthouse, a recent work by brilliant young Australian-British composer, Alicia Grant.

Concert 3 ‘Keyboard Extravaganza’

Presented in association with Musica Viva Australia

Saturday 23rd September, 7.30pm, Bellingen Memorial Hall

We present internationally renowned piano duo Elena Kats-Chernin and Tamara-Anna Cislowska as the headline act for this splendid concert. The evening begins, however, with the talented young ensemble from the Coffs Harbour Regional Conservatorium, The Academy. They will be performing the 2nd movement from Vaughan Williams’ Piano Quintet and Mozart’s delightful Divertimento in F Major K138.

In the second part of this concert you will be spellbound by the amazing double-handed performance of Elena Kats-Chernin and Tamara-Anna Cislowska – both of whom began their brilliant careers as child prodigies. Limelight writes of this partnership: ‘In Cislowska, Kats-Chernin has found the perfect transmitter and musical partner who combines technical prowess with a particular depth of understanding for these works: they are a true dream team’. 

Elena has created works in nearly every genre, from orchestral compositions to chamber music and opera, from ballet to string trio and intimate compositions for piano to rags to music for robots. Tamara-Anna is one of Australia’s foremost pianists, winner of many awards both here and overseas.

The evening’s program for the Bellingen Festival includes a variety of Kats-Chernin’s wonderful compositions with intriguing titles such as Unsent Love Letters, Tropical Nights and the very popular vocal number for wordless soprano and orchestra, Eliza Aria. 

Concert 4 ‘No Boundaries’

Presented in association with Musica Viva Australia

Sunday 24th September, 11.00am, Bellingen Memorial Hall

Dance via Spain to Argentina and Brazil and back with Duo Histoire’s vibrant program and enjoy the atmosphere from the dance halls of Buenos Aires on the Bellingen stage A unique combination of classical guitar and saxophone, Duo Histoire features award-winning musicians Brazilian classical guitarist Murilo Tanouye and saxophonist Nick Russoniello.  One of Sydney’s finest emerging classical duos, they always deliver fresh performances in a variety of musical styles. They will bring you tangos by Granados and Piazolla, a waltz by Nicholas Russoniello and a touch of Greek drama with film-music by Antonio Carlos Jobim from the 1959 movie Black Orpheus.

We are very excited to have Joe Chindamo and Zoe Black join us for this year’s festival. Individually, Joe and Zoë have forged stellar international careers and are amongst the most respected musicians in Australia. As a duo, they have established themselves as one of the most innovative voices in contemporary chamber music, “….tempestuous, passionate, romantic and full of surprises…..” (Composer, Chris Dench).

Their commitment to re-inventing classical masterpieces while drawing on other musical traditions such as bluegrass and jazz displays a daring disregard for boundaries, as you will discover as they perform Chindamo’s celebration of America in American Spirit and The Nine Lives of La Folia, which he describes as ‘following in the footsteps of Corelli, Vivaldi, Rachmaninov and numerous others’.

This promises to be a fantastic and unforgettable concert.

Concert 5 ‘Musica Exotica’

Presented by Bellingen Shire Council

Sunday 24th September, 2.30pm, Bellingen Memorial Hall

One of the features of the Bellingen Fine Music Festival is its celebration of traditional and folk music from cultures beyond the Western classical tradition. This year we are delighted to present the vibrant and unique Melbourne ensemble Tek Tek.   Tek Tek performs virtuosic and original music inspired by tropical jungles, late night Balkan weddings, 1960s chic, and shamanistic desert rituals and is building a wide following here and overseas.

The band, which includes Bellingen grown Esther Henderson, captivates audiences with exclamatory trumpet, hedonistic violins and organ, deeply pulsating drums and bass, wild psychedelic electric guitar, and a rich smearing of harmonized singing thrown on top.


The Bellingen Fine Music Festival is a not-for-profit event presented by the Bellingen Community Arts Council and organized by a group of volunteers committed to bringing fine music to Bellingen and to supporting the extraordinarily talented young musicians in our region. We aim to keep our prices as affordable as we can. 

Tickets for each concert are $35 for adults, $15 for students and free for children aged 12 and under.

Weekend passes are $140 for adults and $50 for students.

Tickets are available online at, from The Book Warehouse, 26 Harbour Drive, Coffs Harbour, the Bellingen Visitors Information Centre or at the Bellingen Memorial Hall door during the festival.