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Barossa Music Festival

The Barossa Valley of Australia hosts this superb music festival with a medley of performing artists.

The Barossa Valley is known primarily for its superb wine, but is also the location of one of the finest music festivals in Australia. The combination of sparkling wines, one of Australia's most scenic areas (just 75 minutes from Adelaide, in South Australia), and wonderful music is hard to resist for even the most jaded concert or festival goer. And there is logic in all of this: many of the best wine makers in the area came from Europe and to some extent they have managed to recreate a Central European landscape and culture in the area. So it's no surprising that this area should boast such am excellent music festival.

As you drive through the richly landscaped and colourful valleys with their small, quaint and so very European villages and vineyards you could almost be excused for thinking that you are back in the middle of Austria... rather than a 22 hour plane flight away!

This year features a typically diverse fare including performances by Die Kammermusik Zurich string sextet, the Manchester Camerata, the Peterson String quarter of Berlin, the Jones Trio of Australia, the Trio of London, Jane Peters (one of Australia's most respected violinists), and Kenny Drew Jnr, well known to jazz fans.

The Zurich ensemble was co-founded in l960 in Switzerland by Barossa born violinist Brenton Langbein. Some of his compositions together with those by Martinu, Mahler, Bach, Strauss, Brahms, and Schumann will be played at this year's festival. The Manchester Camerata specialises in baroque music and will be directed by Nicholar Kraemer. The Jones Trio is made up of Australian Maureen Jones, Japanese violinist Takaya Urakawa, and Italian cellist Amedeo Baldovino.

In addition to the expected range of concerts, there will be a number of novel activities including a performance of "The Tempestuous Garden", an opera based on the life of Alma Mahler, an Opera Serenade and Dinner featuring the works of Mozart, a Music Fair to be held at Seppeltsfield (a name well known to wine drinkers!), and master classes, symposia and concerts by the Barossa Spring Academy.

In fact after a long, wet and cold winter in the southern parts of Australia, it is hard to imagine a better and more civilised way to celebrate all of the goods thing of life than this festival.

Over 20,000 people are expected to attend the festival, and who knows, maybe some of the readers of the Global Arts Review may be enticed to pack their bags for "south of the border" to experience Australia at its most attractive and cultured. Me? It's still raining and cold in Victoria.... and the Barossa Valley is a good ten hours away by car.

Further information can be obtained from the festival office on 61 8 8239 1990, fax 61 8 8239 0440.

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