Mimir Chamber Music Festival returns to Southbank

Curt Thompson founded the Mimir Chamber Music Festival in Texas 22 years ago. He decided to start a Melbourne leg after he moved here to become associate professor of violin and head of strings at the Melbourne Conservatorium seven years ago.

But the story really begins in the USSR.

“My teacher in the US was a very famous Soviet violinist who defected after a concert in the early ‘80s in West Berlin,” Mr Thompson told Southbank Local News.

“She was hiding for a period of months and found her way to Melbourne via a visa who someone called Sir John Hopkins arranged for her.”

“She moved to the States where I met her, but when she retired, she moved back to Melbourne. I visited her before her death and met Sir John Hopkins who thought I should apply for the job I now have.”

Now the festival is in its seventh year in Melbourne and has some of the world’s finest chamber musicians descending on Southbank again from August 24 to September 1.

Mr Thompson said the festival will feature the “cream of the crop” of chamber music from the US.

The festival, held at the new Ian Potter Southbank Centre, will feature guests including Joan Derhovsepian, viola (USA), Jun Iwasaki, violin (USA), Joh Novacek, piano (USA), Stephen Rose, violin (USA) and Brant Taylor, cello (USA).

Mr Thompson said one of the differentiating parts of the festival was its “dual focus” on performance and education. As part of the festival, Mimir guest artists will also mentor young musicians from the Melbourne Conservatorium and secondary schools from across Victoria.

“On the one hand I’m looking forward to watching the lights go on for the students who will be so excited to work with these artists,” Mr Thompson said.

“But I’m also really thrilled to be in our new facility at the Ian Potter Southbank Centre, it will be hard to hear better performances in Melbourne.”

For more info finearts-music.unimelb.edu.au/events/mimir

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