Q & A with Jenni Flemming


This month we catch up with Jenni Flemming who tells us about the Australian Piano Duo Festival being held in Brisbane from 31st August – 7th September 2014.


How did the Australian Piano Duo Festival come about?


Chamber music has always been an important aspect of my own musical expression and is perhaps my most enjoyable performance experience, particularly with my duo partner and friend for more than 30 years, Brachi Tilles. I believe that piano students benefit enormously from developing the art of chamber music and extending their musical skills beyond the solo piano repertoire, through duo playing. This is the main reason for instigating this festival – to encourage the art of duo partnership between beginner, intermediate and undergraduate student pianists, and to foster the love of this exciting repertoire.


What makes the APDF unique?


It is the only festival of it’s kind in Australia; it brings together professional and student pianists from Australia in a non-competitive environment to work harmoniously together in masterclasses and concerts.


What should audiences expect from a festival focused on duos?


I think audiences love the “reparte” and vibe that comes from watching and listening to two or more pianists at one or two grand pianos – the level of excitement is heightened and there is an added element of risk and the expectation of communication between players. The repertoire is extensive, diverse in styles, from classical to jazz and improvisation.


How did the audiences respond to the last festival?


The 2012 APDF was a great success with audiences, professional pianists, students and their families. There was a healthy and exciting atmosphere that resulted from shared music-making in the masterclasseses and concerts. Piano students from UQ and the Conservatorium played together  perhaps for the first time. Students were chatting on face-book about their repertoire and rehearsals. It was quite extraordinary and satisfying.


Where will the concerts be held in 2014?


We are thrilled to have the wonderful Silver/Garburg duo from Israel in a pre-festival concert and masterclass at Theme and Variations. The festival concerts will be held in the Ian Hanger Recital Hall, Conservatorium, the Nickson Room UQ, BrisbaneCity Hall lunchtime series, and the new St. Peter’s Lutheran College Performing Arts Complex.


Who is performing in 2014?


There are over 20 professional pianists – Timothy Young, Anna Carson, Stewart Kelly and Sonia Lifschitz from Melbourne, Max Olding, Pamela Page (the patrons of the festival), Natasha Vlassenko and Oleg Stepanov, Stephen Emmerson and Angela Turner, Liam Viney and Anna Grinberg, Brachi Tilles and myself, Colin Noble, Mitchell Leigh, Therese Milanovic, Gayle Pryce-Davies and Oliver She. A concert featuring two pianos and percussion will feature percussionists Vanessa Tomlinson and Nozomi Omote, and of course, Young Conservatorium and tertiary students.


What are your plans for future APDFs?


It is my plan to run the festival every two years, to take the festival to regional Queensland and NSW in the future, and ultimately to see the APDF grow into a truly National Festival.


More information about the APDF can be found on social media and their website.


Artistic Director of the Australian Piano Duo Festival, Jenni Flemming is a performer, accompanist, teacher, adjudicator and examiner.  She has given concerts worldwide and has performed with the Queensland, Melbourne, Canberra and Adelaide Symphony Orchestras as well as for Queensland Ballet productions.  

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