Our inaugural Arts in the Valley Festival was held in 2007, the first of our planned biennial festivals of classical and contemporary music integrated with the visual arts. The hallmarks of Arts in the Valley are quality music performed by the best musicians in intimate settings with the spectacular backdrop of Kangaroo Valley.
Yvonne Kenny gave a recital of works by Schubert and Liszt. We commissioned 2 local composers Andrew Ford and Martin Wesley-Smith to compose a song for Ms Kenny. We also presented an Australian first in which musicians and artists (painters and sculptors) collaborated to create new works. The musicians and artists were Brett Dean with Heather Betts, David Pereira with Micky Allen and Alice Giles with Rosemary Madigan.
Another Australian first was the introduction of our Frozen Music Series. Audiences were given the rare opportunity to visit historic Barrengarry House or a stunning architect-designed house in Kangaroo Valley. The architect talked about the architecture followed by an intimate chamber concert.
These intimate concerts in local homes are now known as Hausmusik with houses chosen for their acoustic qualities as well as having interesting architecture and beautiful Kangaroo Valley views.
We invited local and regional sculptors to exhibit works in our first Sculpture Exhibition set in a stunning local garden. This highly successful event is now known as Sculpture in the Valley.
The 2009 Festival ‘Music and Words’ included the Frozen Music series and the Sculpture Exhibition, Visual Arts Exhibition, a Didgeridoo Workshop as well a concert series including Elizabeth Campbell and Ian Munro presenting ‘Judith Wright in Song’. ‘An Evening of Monologues’, with theatrical and musical solos specially commissioned for the festival was another highlight. The Goldner String Quartet and William Barton concert was a celebration of Peter Sculthorpe’s 80th birthday.
2011 once again included the Sculpture exhibition and Hausmusik concerts. Concerts featured the exciting Taikoz quartet, local aboriginal dance company Yuin Ghudjargah and The Song Company.
2013 ‘Valley Dreaming’ was a 3 day festival of music, sculpture and aboriginal performance. The Sydney Youth Orchestra and Canberra Youth Orchestra, conducted by Max McBride, performed John Antill’s Corroboree Ballet. Local aborigines performed a corroboree at the showground. Soprano Cheryl Barker and Baritone Peter Coleman-Wright with Piers Lane at the piano gave a Gala Recital. We closed this festival with a chamber music concert of works by Australian Composers.
In 2015 ‘Music and Art’ we presented exhibitions and screenings of relevant artworks in most concerts. Our performers included Simon Tedeschi and Kevin Hunt at the piano, Slava and Leonard Grigoryan on guitars, David Pereira played his cello while Carlos Barrios created an original art work and David Hudson played his didgeridoo and painted. The Sculpture in the Valley exhibition and competition was held in a new venue showing indoor and outdoor sculptures. Prize money was increased and many works were sold.
Kangaroo Valley Arts Festival is run by local volunteers and we thank the past and present presidents of our committee Elizabeth George, John Wright and Nick Minogue for their vision, leadership and hard work. Our artistic director Belinda Webster does an outstanding job creating all these festivals.