Stewart Kelly

Music

Melbourne International Festival of Lieder and Art Song

Melbourne International Festival of Lieder and Art Song (MIFLAS) provides essential training and performance opportunities to Australian singers and pianists in the art of song with international level masterclasses.

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MIFLAS ran for five years in Perth as the WAAPA International Art Song Academy and in 2018 moved to Melbourne, under founding Artistic Director Patricia Price. She is joined in 2019 by co-director Stewart Kelly to grow the festival and imbed it as an essential part of Australian singers training and of Melbourne’s cultural life. The festival patron is internationally acclaimed pianist and academic Graham Johnson OBE, the doyen of song accompanists and scholars who attends annually to teach along with other guest teachers.

The festival in 2019 will run from June 30 until July 5 and will feature intensive masterclasses, public performances and lyric diction classes. 16 singers and 8 pianists from around Australia and New Zealand will be selected from auditions to take part and students of voice and piano are encouraged to attend all open masterclass sessions to learn from masters.

The training of young singers and pianists in the art of song repertoire is often sorely lacking in Australia.

Sometimes misunderstood as less glamorous than singing opera, young voice students don’t realise what a vital part of their training it is and how much more difficult it can be to convincingly tell a story in a miniature song, with just piano and no visual props.

Likewise, the opportunity for developing pianists to gain experience in the art of playing for singers was seriously lacking in many courses.

Thus it was the dream of Patricia Price, one of Australia’s most acclaimed pedagogues to start a festival focused on providing this training from leading global performers and teachers. Running for five years in Perth, the festival moved to Melbourne in 2018. We need your support to help fund the 2019 program and to build on our dreams to expand the offerings for students and audiences in 2020 and beyond.

Testimonials from 2018 patrons on our website (miflas.com.au) are just a sampling of tremendous feedback received over the years.

Donations will be used to fund the staging of the festival in 2019, including the costs of the venue, the travel and fees of our guest teachers and the provision of some fee relief scholarships for talented students who couldn’t otherwise afford to participate.

It is hard to overstate the impact this week has on all who are involved. The educational impact of simply watching the classes for a week is profound and unavailable anywhere else in Australia. Thus the reach of the festival and your donations goes far beyond those lucky enough to be participants, but extends to the teachers, students and music lovers who attend the masterclasses and expand their own knowledge and skills.

Beyond that, donations will be used to plan a bigger festival in 2020 with an expanded offering of performances and masterclasses. With the timelines required to secure top talent we need to be booking for 2020 now and require the financial security to move ahead with those decisions.

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Stewart Kelly is one of Australia’s most eclectic pianists, performing regularly as soloist, duo partner, vocal accompanist and chamber musician.

He is also a pedagogue and broadcaster. He is on the faculty of the Victorian College of the Arts Secondary School and is staff pianist in the string faculty at the Melbourne Conservatorium. For six years he has been Artistic Director of the Con Brio Concert Series at the Arts Centre Gold Coast.

Stewart holds a Bachelor of Music with distinction and a Master of Music Studies, obtained while studying under the principal guidance of Gillian Wills, Diane Selmon, Stephen Emmerson and Timothy Young. He spent three years on full scholarship at the Australian National Academy of Music in the performance program. In 2014 he was appointed as a Fellow of the Australian National Academy of Music, Australia’s most prestigious music training institution.

Stewart has appeared as recital partner with artists such as William Hennessy, Wilma Smith, Charlotte Betts-Dean, Greta Bradman, Patrick Murphy, Timothy Young and Glenn Christensen. He is a engaged regularly by Opera Q, the Melbourne Recital Centre, Australian Festival of Chamber Music and other leading organisations.

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