The Winter Solstice (Mid-winter) has been celebrated over thousands of years in the northern hemisphere as a time of rebirth. Our ancient forebears celebrated this turn of the seasons with festivals, feasting, singing, dancing and erected the major stone at Stonehenge to point to the mid-winter sun. We don’t quite go this far but, for several years, Peninsula Music Society has been marking the winter solstice with a weekend festival of three concerts of fine music to suit many tastes. Complimentary Box Stallion wine and Red Hill Cheese from 6:30pm on Friday and Saturday nights add to the festivities.

BE WOWED. On Friday 20 June at 7:30pm, we have a new artist from the Old World in Nemanja Radulović, an electrifying, young French-based violinist, who has thrilled audiences around the world. He has been described as one part pop idol, two parts Lisztian Romantic heroism (The Australian 2012) and has recently scored an exclusive global recording deal with Deutsche Grammophon. He will join local favourites, Ensemble Liaison for an exciting evening of gypsy passion which includes works by Haydn, Khachaturian and Williams. Hold on for an emotionally-charged program of music brimming with virtuosity and beauty.

EXPERIENCE SOMETHING NEW. Saturday 21 June at 7:30pm features Australian Octet, the new flagship ensemble of the Melbourne Chamber Orchestra. Unique in Australia’s musical life, the Australian Octet is dedicated to performing music for five to eight strings. Eight of our country’s most eminent string players have been brought together to form the Octet under the leadership of renowned Director William Hennessy. The program includes works by Shostakovich, Brahms and a work by Richard Mills performed as part its world premiere season.

BE ENCHANTED. On Sunday 22 June at 2:30pm the flamboyant, brilliant young pianist, Stefan Cassomenos whose performance has been described as ‘a model of clarity, depth of expression and irrefutable musical logic’ (West Australian, April 2013) will enthral you on the Society’s Schimmel Concert Grand with Liszt’s romantic masterpiece, the Grand Sonata in B minor, together with works by Beethoven, Rachmaninoff, Ligeti, and Vine.

All in the great acoustic at the Peninsula Community Theatre where FREE PARKING makes it all so easy! Tickets (around $40) from Farrell’s Bookshop, Mornington; Robinsons Bookshop, Frankston; the door from one hour prior to concert or by phone 9789 8392. More details at www.pmsmusic.asn.au.

The Peninsula Music Society was established in 1962 and has a long history of presenting fine music concerts on the Mornington Peninsula featuring leading Australian and international artists. Seven professional concerts are presented each year in the Peninsula Community Theatre, a venue whose acoustic is acclaimed by musicians and audience alike. PMS also conducts student support and education activities to encourage young local musicians. These activities include a Bursary competition for tertiary and secondary students, workshops and masterclasses. The cost of the student support and education activities is met through the generosity of sponsors, donations and PMS itself. For the past few years, total Bursary award money has been $20,000.

DAVID FICKLING, PENINSULA MUSIC SOCIETY (Guest Writer)