MonthJanuary 2019

The Australian Haydn Ensemble – Haydn’s Nature

Thursday 14 February 2019
Wesley Uniting Church, Forrest
Tickets: $35 – $60
Bookings: 1800 334 388 or or at the door
Facebook Event Page:

AHE opens its 2019 season with a string quartet program celebrating Haydn’s love of the natural world. Two of Haydn’s beloved string quartets, Sunrise (the String Quartet Op. 76 No. 4 )and The Lark bookend the program.

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BOLD II – a dance festival

Various venues in Canberra 13 to 17 March 2019

The second iteration of this festival and conference continues to explore and celebrate the changes that come with age. The Festival is unique in Australia and provides a platform for the work of older artists who are still working to celebrate their longevity and the positive health impacts of dance and creativity.  BOLD II also espouses a cross-generational exchange of ideas and experiences and cross-cultural connections.

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Sharon Peoples – artist in residence at Tuggeranong Arts Centre

Tuggeranong Gardens
January to February 2019

A six-week residency at Tuggeranong Arts Centre sees Sharon Peoples, renowned fabric artist, exploring the gardens of the Tuggeranong suburbs. She will make work reflecting her observations of the garden, not just as a physical place but as a spiritual solace and refuge.

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Nature’s Spectral Arch

Suki and Hugh Gallery Bungendore
2 February to 17 March 2019

Nature’s Spectral Arch explores aspects of a changed environment around the former slate mining village of Corris, Wales where the artist recently completed a month-long artist’s residency with Stiwdio Maelor. With time and with a gentle persistence and dignity, nature is reclaiming this once degraded landscape.

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Interchange – a group exhibition M16 Artspace

Opening 6:00pm on Thursday 7 February 2019, all welcome
Then Wednesday – Sunday, 12:00 – 5:00pm until 24 February

Interchange is a collaborative group exhibition featuring the work of members of Ausglass and the New Zealand Society of Artists in Glass (NZSAG). It will be a satellite event to compliment the Ausglass and NZSAG hosted COLAB Conference in Whanganui, New Zealand, from 15 – 17 February. 

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The Song Company – Treble Helix Unlocked

Touring from 9 February to 2 March
In Canberra at Wesley Music Centre Friday 1 March at 7.30pm
Information and bookings including for season tickets at

Always scintillating, The Song Company begins its 2019 season with Treble Helix Unlocked – featuring glorious music of the early16th and late 15th century. The Company will gather around a single music stand and read in the original musical notation from a facsimile of the Eton Choirbook.

The Song Company has been working in rehearsal with Tallis Scholar and current Musical Director of Trinity College Melbourne, Christopher Watson. The ensemble will be joined by Roberta Diamond, recently studying in Basel, and Dan Walker from Canberra.

Sublime music is promised and, as always, an experience for the mind and soul.

Listen to Barbie’s interview with Antony Pitts, Artistic Director of The Song Company.

Nicky Pellegrino – A Year at Hotel Gondola

Hachette NZ 2018

New Zealand resident Nicky Pellegrino is the author of 10 fiction novels which draw on her Italian ancestry and visits to family in southern Italy.

A Year at Hotel Gondola is the latest of these and the first I have read. Her website tells us that she focusses on friendship, food, passion and family secrets.

Listen to Barbie’s interview with Nicky Pellegrino
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Robyn Sisman – Weekend in Paris

Penguin Australia, 2003

Holiday reading and book fairs take one in all sorts of directions.

I am sorry I didn’t come across the work of Robyn Sisman during her lifetime. Gosh, there is just so much to read out there.

Robyn Sisman had a career on the other side of publishing before becoming a novelist. Three of her five novels: Special Relationship, Perfect Strangers and Just Friends were all Sunday Times best sellers.

Born in Los Angeles, Sisman moved to Somerset and had been married to biographer Adam Sisman. She died in 2016.

She had a career on the other side of publishing before becoming a novelist. Three of her five novels: Special Relationship, Perfect Strangers and Just Friends were all Sunday Times best sellers.

Weekend in Paris is another one of those journey of self-discovery novels, rather satisfying however in its outcome and not too maudlin as some of these are.

An obituary in The Guardian says of her books: they are funny, fluent descriptions of what it is to fall in love, of obstacles encountered and overcome. But Robyn was no romantic: she was clear-sighted and without sentimentality or illusions, and her fiction has a spiky quality, both inhabiting and unsettling the genre. She was her own most unsparing critic, and never appreciated how talented she was.

Stellar – a sharing presented by the Australian Talented Youth Project

Stromlo, Saturday 2 February 7-8pm

Stellar brings together a range of young people from across Australia with a passion for dance, music and science.

Drawing inspiration from observations of the skies and the 50th Anniversary of the Moon Landing they will share stories, movement, text and music with an audience at Mount Stromlo Observatory.

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Madeleine St John – Ladies in Black

Text Publishing, Melbourne Australia, 2018
First published in Britain by Andre Deutsch, 1993

The fact that the ‘praise for’ at the beginning of this novel comes from some of my favourite Australian writers is a dead give away that it is something special – Delia Falconer, Joan London and Michelle de Kretser variously praise Madeleine St John’s deft prose, ironic, sharp and insightful writing and capacity to evoke memory.

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John Purcell – The Girl on the Page

Harper Collins, Fourth estate, 2018

John Purcell first published with Penguin Random House under the pseudonym of Natasha Walker with the erotic fiction trilogy The Secret Lives of Emma – which I haven’t read. He is Director of Books at Booktopia, apparently Australia’s largest online bookseller, and has an insider’s knowledge of the book publishing industry.

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