Mary Dullea curates Soundings at the Austrian Cultural Forum London

Mary Dullea’s annual curatorship of Soundings Festival at the Austrian Cultural Forum in London took place from 14th to 17th May. This year’s Austrian composers were Belma Beslic-Gál, Peter Jakober and Veronika Mayer and UK representatives were Charlie Usher, Hannah Kendall and Ryan Latimer. Their works were rehearsed in workshops open to the public and performed in two evening concerts by musicians including the renowned Fidelio Trio (Darragh Morgan, violin; Robin Michael, cello; Mary Dullea, piano and curator), Austrian Duo Soufflé (Doris Nicoletti, flute and Theresia Schmidinger, clarinet), soprano Charmian Bedford and violist Reiad Chibah.

A fascinating highlight of this year's programme were composer portrait sessions with Piers Hellawell, Professor of Composition at Queen's University Belfast. Piers discussed and unravelled with the participating composers, trends in their recent work as well as the works to be performed in the 2 concerts. Last year’s initiative the ‘Soundings Academy’ was continued, this time with young composers. A round table discussion examined the role of festivals in the performance and promotion of contemporary music and panellists included Cheltenham Festival Music Director Meurig Bowen and Susanna Eastburn Chief Executive of Sound and Music. This exceptional week of interaction and creativity has become a key event in the music calendar of the UK.