Brisbane Music Festival launches 2022 program

The Brisbane Music Festival has launched its 2022 season program, ahead of the festival kicking off properly on 1 July with a performance from the festival’s Artistic Director and Brisbane-based pianist Alex Raineri and Ensemble Offspring’s Claire Edwardes. The festival, now in its fifth year, has steadily grown from humble beginnings, and is now at the point where the season boasts 17 premieres of new works from international and Australian artists across a handful of venues throughout the next six months.

Brisbane Music Festival

Alex Raineri. Photo © Peter Godfrey-Smith.

Ahead of the festival’s launch next week, Raineri laid out what is in store for the second half of 2022.

It’s such an expansive program, what do you think audiences can expect from this year’s festival?

It is indeed an expansive program, filled with a hugely diverse range of musical genres and stacks of incredible artists. An important part of the festival’s ethos is to equally balance the old and the new. There’s plenty of Schubert, Rachmaninov, and the classics, but there’s also rock, folk, jazz and pop shows, including a ‘re-imagined Radiohead’ offering in October. There will be lots of music and sounds that people mightn’t have heard before, including works by contemporary music giants such as Helmut Lachenmann, Jake Heggie and Gérard Grisey, alongside a large number of Australian works receiving premieres. 

How has the festival grown in the last five years, to the point where you are now programming 17 world premieres and performances from such a broad range of Australian and international artists across six months?

We’re now in our fifth year/fifth festival. I’m so thankful to patrons, supporters, partnerships, funding bodies, and my team for helping to foster the energy that has brought the Brisbane Music Festival to where it is today. I am still very ambitious about the vision of the festival moving into the future, but am also very proud of what it has become in a short amount of time. BMF programming will always be embodied by a commitment to giving voice to lesser known music alongside the well-known classics. In this year’s festival I’m very proud to be hosting artists from all over Australia, as well as touring artists from the UK, Germany, USA, Ireland, France and The Netherlands. To properly answer your question, it has involved a LOT of time and emotional investment but it’s so humbling to see the impact and dimension of the festival morph each year into something truly contributive to our growing community of patrons and the sector at large. 

 Are there any key ideas, or themes, running throughout this program for this year?

Old World Meets The New is the title of an upcoming solo show I’m giving in the festival, but also embodies the essential premise of festival programming. So much of ‘new’ classical art music is informed by the incredible legacy of masterworks from the past. Quite often in BMF programming, older, well-known works are reframed in new arrangements which shed new light and colour onto familiar musical landscapes. Speaking more generally, each performance offering is quite distinctively curated/themed and there’s a particular focus on and representation of vocal music in this festival.  

From the looks of the season program you are performing in a large number of the events yourself. How are you feeling as a performer, and as the Artistic Director, heading into this year’s festival?

I’ve signed myself up to play a lot of notes! Though, I am very accustomed to being in keyboard-overdrive (such is the life of a freelance pianist) so this doesn’t faze me. I’m particularly happy to go the extra mile preparing huge amounts of music when I am, at the core of it, deeply passionate about the work itself and making music with my chosen collaborators. As Artistic Director, I’m so looking forward to sharing my creative madness across the second half of the year. As a Producer, the work (and anxiety) never stops… 

Is there anything in particular you hope audiences take away from this year’s festival?

I hope the festival will provide entertainment and creative/spiritual nourishment to our patrons. I also really hope that we can invite you to engage with unfamiliar works and sounds, and that this can inspire a creative curiosity in patrons to listen actively and thereby harness the deep, powerful, undefinable way in which music can change and move us as human beings.   

More information about this year’s Brisbane Music Festival can be found at

Contribute to Limelight and support independent arts journalism.