Based at Belconnen Arts Centre, two resident music companies bring diverse programs to Canberra.
Musica Viva is Australia’s oldest independent professional performing arts organisation. Basing their office at Belconnen Arts Centre with their mainstage concert series at Llewellyn Hall, this truly national company is the world’s largest presenter of chamber music. A significant part of Musica Viva’s activities includes outreach and education through Musica Viva in schools, and the Canberra office runs professional development events and master classes from Belconnen Arts Centre several times a year.
The Griffyn Ensemble
Described as “akin to a religious experience” (The Australian), and “Canberra’s premier chamber ensemble” (CityNews), the Griffyn Ensemble is a theatrical chamber ensemble, who break down the barriers of genre and recontextualise music from around the world.
The Griffyn Ensemble are a sextet of composer/director (Michael Sollis), soprano (Susan Ellis), double bass (Holly Downes), harp (Meriel Owen), violin (Chris Stone), and flute (Kiri Sollis).
Past programs have included Island Universes, classical music inspired by Australia’s closest neighbours in Melanesia; Behind Bars, an installation in Old Melbourne Gaol with music written by composers in prisons and concentration camps; and Cloudy With A Chance of Rain, part weather-forecast, part-concert.
The Griffyn Ensemble have been broadcast on ABC Classic FM, toured for Musica Viva In Schools, and were shortlisted for a 2008 Australian Classical Music Award. Since 2006, the Griffyn Ensemble have performed over 80 Australian premieres and over 15 world premieres, and their Canberra concert series regularly sells out.