Latest News


June 2015

Vale Mrs Neilma Gantner

Mrs Neilma Gantner, 92 years on this planet, passed away peacefully on Monday 15 June 2015. She was surrounded by her family and friends in a place she loved: her home in Bermagui, New South Wales.

A published author, keen sailor and long-term resident of Barragga Bay just south of Bermagui, Neilma Gantner was devoted to the region. She founded the Four Winds Festival there in 1991, helping change the way the local community engages with music.

Neilma Gantner, along with John Ellingworth, first conceived the idea to bring high quality classic music from around the world to the Bermagui region, presented in an outdoor amphitheatre. Over the 24 years since the first concert in 1991, Neilma Gantner oversaw the transformation of Four Winds from a biennial festival to a cultural hub for the region.

The ambition to build a permanent amphitheatre and then indoor creative space the Windsong Pavilion with world class acoustics, reflected Neilma’s lifelong motto ‘When in doubt - do’, coupled with her belief in the power of music and unfailing support for the Four Winds vision.

Neilma Gantner was committed to creating opportunities for young people to become involved in all the arts, and was especially keen that Four Winds provides ways for people of all ages to participate in music making.

In February 2015, Neilma Gartner was one of four outstanding Australian authors featured at the Four Winds: Four Writers Literary event in Bermagui. Neilma’s latest book, My Travelling Life, which presents a collection of pieces and extracts from her personal journals, was launched at that event.

Neilma Gantner was also a founding member and Life Governor of The Myer Foundation. She was a member of the Sidney Myer Fund’s Arts and Humanities Committee and co- founder of the Kenneth Myer Asian Performing Theatre Series at the Arts Centre Melbourne.

Both the local community and Four Winds audiences were blessed with and inspired by Neilma Gantner’s love for music and nature.

Neilma Gantner was daughter of Sidney and Merlyn Myer and sister of Kenneth Myer, Sidney ‘Bails’ Myer and Marigold Southey. She was born in San Francisco and later graduated with a degree from the English Faculty at Stanford in the US.

Neilma Gantner was mother to Carrillo and Vallejo, grandmother to Cassandra, Vallejo, Dashiell, Yannis and Carlos and great grandmother to August, Salinger and Rueben.

A service and wake to honour Neilma Gantner was held at the Four Winds Windsong Pavilion on 18 June.

Neilma Baillieu Gantner
 7.11.1922 – 15.6.2015


Click here to read Daily Review tribute to Neilma Gantner, July 10 2015


Four Winds appoints its first Executive Director

The Four Winds Board today announced the appointment of David Francis as our first Executive Director. 

Speaking from Bermagui on the New South Wales far south coast, Four Winds Chair Sheena Boughen said ‘David Francis will enrich Four Winds’ iconic place in Australia’s musical life by bringing his wealth of experience to our innovative arts organisation.

‘David’s impressive arts background, musical expertise and enthusiasm for the Four Winds vision were stand-out qualities for this appointment.’

David Francis says ‘I am delighted to be joining Four Winds where I will help lead this dynamic organisation into its next exciting chapter.

‘With remarkable performance facilities in a stunning natural setting, Four Winds is now able to present inspiring music all year round.

‘The acoustic qualities of the recently completed Windsong Pavilion are unrivalled in Australia. I look forward to making this resource a creative home where musicians from all genres and traditions will be able to collaborate, create, perform and share their work.’

David adds, ‘Just as importantly, I will ensure that Four Winds engages with and enriches the local community. 

‘We will continue to deliver innovative learning experiences, both physically and on-line, and will use digital technology so that people from all over Australia and beyond can engage with our program.’

On commencing with Four Winds in mid-September, David expects to move to the Bermagui region, together with his partner and their two Whippets.

He looks forward to presenting a provocative Four Winds Festival in 2016, along with Artistic Director Paul Dean and Executive Producer Yarmila Alfonzetti.

David Francis bio

David Francis, originally from the UK, has built his career developing and nurturing organisations across the arts sector.  Music has been at the heart of his work having developed and launched the ‘PRS For Music Foundation’: a charitable foundation which is now the UK’s largest independent funder for new music.  He also led the team to create ‘Sound and Music’: the UK’s peak body for new music and sonic art.

David moved to Australia in 2014 to take up the position of General Manager of Sydney  Philharmonia Choirs Limited, Australia’s most established choral music organisation. In that time he has built new partnerships and expanded their program, engaging with more singers than ever before. 

Prior to moving to Australia, David was Director of Arts at Dartington in the UK: a rural centre where the arts, sustainability and social justice come together in a diverse program of activities including festivals, cinema, artist residencies, touring and a year-round program of exhibitions and performances.  

In 2013 David graduated from Exeter University Business School’s award winning a ‘One Planet’ MBA.  He is a fellow of both the Royal Society of Arts and the Clore Leadership Programme, and holds a post-graduate diploma in Vocal Studies from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, London.



March 2015


Paul Dean and Yarmila Alfonzetti have been appointed as the new Artistic Leadership Team behind the 2016 Festival. With outstanding joint reputations in the classical music industry and music education, Paul and Yarmila bring extensive programming and event experience to what will be a festival dedicated to the presentation of the very best in classic music.

Following from our successful 2014 Festival, previous Artistic Director, Paul Kildea, remains based in London and is therefore leaving Four Winds. We wish him well in the future. Our new team, with Paul Dean’s strengths as a musician and Artistic Director along with Yarmila as Executive Producer, bring creativity and innovation to our 18th Festival in 2016 celebrating Australian artists and new music. Sheena Boughen, Chair Four Winds

Paul Dean is a highly accomplished and internationally recognised solo, chamber and orchestral clarinettist and Artistic Director for the Australian National Academy of Music. Being appointed as Artistic Director of the Four Winds Festival is both an exhilarating and humbling experience. I envisage being a part of a rich and wonderful tradition driving it in exciting new directions as well. Four Winds has the opportunity to transform lives and showcases how to thrill and create great music from Bermagui to the world! I am thrilled to be joining this amazing journey. Paul Dean

Yarmila Alfonzetti is currently Head of External Relations for the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and prior to this was Head of Classical Music at Sydney Opera House. It is an exceptional and wondrous opportunity to be able to develop an artistic program for an environment like no other; fluid and fanciful, vast and intimate all at the same time. By sharing what Paul and I know and love about classical music, this major event will influence the lives of local school children and educators, composers and musicians, as well as the festival-goers who never fail to be entranced by the unique experiences they have at Four Winds. Yarmila Alfonzetti

Reframing the festival for Easter 2016, with continued links in education and the community, the festival will be showcased at Nature’s Concert Hall: The Sound Shell and The Windsong Pavilion at Bermagui on the south coast of New South Wales. Community links will continue to be a significant component of the festival with Liena Lacey the local Creative Producer, integrating festival artists into the broader program of events throughout the year.


January 2015

9 January 2015

Four Winds : Four Writers Literary Event

Saturday 7 February 2015

Windsong Pavilion, Four Winds Rd, Barragga Bay

Four Winds invites you to attend FOUR WINDS : FOUR WRITERS, on Saturday February 7th, a national literary event featuring four outstanding Australian writers, in conversation with Margaret Throsby. The event will be held in the glorious indoor Windsong Pavilion at Four Winds, south of Bermagui, and you will be in the company of Nicholas Jose, Rodney Hall, and playwright Hannie Rayson.

As well, Neilma Sidney, better known as local identity Neilma Gantner, the founder of Four Winds, will be present as the fourth writer, already with seven novels and three books of short stories to her name. Her son Carrillo Gantner will read extracts from the book and throughout the day, Robert Boughen will play classic jazz interludes on piano.

Nicholas Jose will launch Neilma’s latest book My Travelling Life, a collection of pieces and extracts from her personal journals that invites us to travel with her, navigating the seas and skyways through ports and cities and meeting a cast of intriguing characters along the way. Now in her nineties, Neilma Sidney’s book is a “rare, late-life gift” to the reading public, Nicholas Jose comments.

In discussion with Margaret Throsby, these Australian writers will also present extracts from their latest works. Nicholas Jose, author of seven highly regarded novels and Professor of Creative Writing at Adelaide University, presents Bapo, his new collection of short stories, many set in China. Rodney Hall, former Four Winds Artistic Director and well known for his evocative writing, much of which is based around the people and places of the NSW South Coast, will present Popeye Never Told You: Childhood Memories of the War. Hannie Rayson will perform a piece from Hello, Beautiful! Scenes from a Life, a memoir.

Don’t miss this unique opportunity to be part of literary history in the making and experience the beauty of the Four Winds site in southern NSW. At the same time, purchase an autographed copy of My Travelling Life and enjoy a chat with all the writers over a glass of wine.

Tickets to this event are $65/Concession $55 plus booking fee (includes a delicious lunch, tea and coffee) and are limited to just 160 patrons, so book online now! The curtain will rise at 10.30am on Saturday 7 February in the indoor Windsong Pavilion located on Four Winds Road, 10kms south of Bermagui, NSW on the Bermagui-Tathra Road. For further information call the Four Winds office on 02 6493 3414. Parking available on site. Cash bar. Books for sale.

CLICK HERE for Ticketing Information


December 2014

23 DECEMBER 2014

Bermagui Carols by Candlelight 2014

Article: Bermagui Carols by Candlelight 2014 | Photos’. By Melinda Cairns Hack, Bega District News, 23 December 2014

A BEAUTIFUL evening, great line up of artists, spacious venue and a crowd full of the spirit of Christmas combined to create a wonderful Bermagui Carols by Candlelight event on Saturday. Read more


October 2014

13 OCTOBER 2014

Olga Masters Festival: Windsong highlights

Article: Olga Masters Festival: Windsong highlights’. By Albert McNight, Bega District News, 13 October 2014

As part of the Olga Masters Festival held over the weekend, a day of events was held at Four Winds’ Windsong Pavilion. Taking place on Sunday, it sold out before opening with around 150 people attending including around 40 members of Olga Masters’ family. Read more

9 OCTOBER 2014

Tourism Future Summit Gets Industry Networking

Article: Tourism Future Summit Gets Industry Networking’. By Stan Gorton, Narooma News, 9 October 2014

AROUND 150 tourism operators and organisations from around the South East got together for two days of networking and brainstorming as part of the Tourism Future summit organised by Sapphire Coast Tourism.. Read more


September 2014

24 September 2014

Acacia Quartet at the Windsong Pavilion

If you haven't seen the Acacia Quartet before, you might wonder why we are so excited to have them performing at the Windsong Pavilion. Well...

Acacia Quartet has quickly won great respect for their versatile and inventive programs which often couple established repertoire with the unorthodox. In 2013 Acacia was nominated for both an ARIA Award and an APRA-AMCOS Art Music Award. Their performances feature regularly on ABC Classic FM, Fine Music 102.5 and Qantas In-flight Entertainment.

In just four years Acacia has released as many albums, including their ARIA-nominated recording of songs with soprano Jane Sheldon, North + South, and the complete string quartets of Elena Kats-Chernin, Blue Silence (Vexations840), selected as 'Editor's Choice' in Limelight Magazine and 'CD of the Week' on ABC Classic FM and nominated for a 2013 APRA-AMCOS Art Music Award.

In the 2013 and 2014 seasons Acacia's engagements have included at Melbourne Recital Centre, The Concourse in Sydney, the National Gallery of Victoria, Woodend Winter Arts Festival, Peninsula Summer Music Festival, Bellingen, and Music by the Sea Festivals, along with live broadcasts on ABC Classic FM and Fine Music 102.5FM. This year also marks the release of Lyle Chan's String Quartet (Vexations840) with a critically acclaimed 3-city national tour, and another 4 concert tour with ABC Young Performer Award- and Fine Music Kruger scholarship winner, Nick Russoniello for the release of his debut album, Between Worlds, created especially with the Acacia Quartet in mind.

You don't need to go to Sydney or Melbourne this time. Come to the Windsong Pavilion on Sunday 28th September at 3pm.

1 September 2014

'Coming Home' Olga Masters Festival: Sunday at Four Winds

Four Winds presents a dream of a day with performance and intimate storytelling as part of the ‘Coming Home’ Olga Masters Festival celebrating the life of Olga Masters (born Pambula 1919) one of Australia’s most recognised and awarded female journalists, novelists and short story writers.

Six of Olga’s distinguished children are ‘Coming Home’ and we welcome you to share in an intimate reunion and celebration of the life of their Mother and how her literary career inspired their pathways into literature, media and story telling in the public life. “My children are my finest books”, said Olga. Each of the Masters’ children has had an incredibly successful career in media and each shares Olga’s curiosity and her powerful story telling skills. Roy Masters is a well-known rugby league coach and commentator. Ian Masters hosts the American radio program Background Briefing. Quentin Masters is a successful film director. Chris Masters, a highly awarded investigative journalist and writer who worked with Four Corners for 25 years. Sue Masters has been named one of the 75 most powerful people in Australian television and is now the Executive Producer of Drama at SBS. Sue brought us Sea Change, Secret Life of Us and Brides of Christ. Deb Masters works as an ABC producer and her previous work includes Witness and The 7:30 Report.

The Olga Masters Sunday at Four Winds event, as part of the Festival, will be a day of swinging music of the depression era, conversation, local food, stories and a radio play, all entwined to give a sensual impression of Olga Master’s work and leave us reflecting on universal themes of the human condition: resilience, violence, love, honesty and creativity.

There will be panel discussions of Olga’s life and Olga’s daughters reading her radio play ‘A Clay Family’ with live sound effects! Enjoy musical performance by the charismatic jazz sensation Hetty Kate, recently part of ‘A Journey Through Jazz’ with James Morrison and the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. The Jazz Pack and David Hewitt, percussionist extraordinaire, are also performing.

Speakers include: Sue Masters, Executive Producer of Drama at the SBS; Deb Masters, ABC producer; Kate Veitch, author; Geordie Williamson, chief literary critic for The Australian; Craig Munroe, University of Queensland Press’ inaugural fiction editor and the man who launched Olga’s works.

Further information and tickets can be purchased from or call 6493 3414.

'Sunday at Four Winds' Ticketing Information

Seats for ‘Sunday at Four Winds’ are limited and advanced bookings essential. Adult $65, Pensioners $55. Tickets include a scrumptious bowl of soup and local artisanal bread and entitles you to free entry to the afternoon panel discussions on Saturday 11th October in Cobargo.

‘Coming Home’ Olga Masters Festival, 10 – 12 October, Cobargo & Bermagui.

More information and full program can be found at Olga Masters Festival Website


August 2014


13 August 2014

2014 Four Winds Festival in numbers

Thank you to all those who filled in the 2014 festival survey. Your feedback, comments and suggestions are deeply valued and considered in our planning for the future of Four Winds.

Favourite festival moments:

1. Richard Tognetti, Dejan Lazic and Giovanni Sollima together including ‘A Portrait of Three Artists’ with Margaret Throsby

2. Giovanni Sollima solo

3. Nature’s Concert Hall, the Four Winds venue

4. The quality of the musicians and music

5. The beauty of music at sunset at the Community Concert at the Bermagui Fisherman’s Wharf.

6. The Welcome to Country

Audience in numbers:

15% Increase in ticket sales compared to 2012 Festival

1,500 Audience numbers per day

2,000 Approx. attendance at Easter Friday Community event, Bermagui Wharf

72 % had attended Four Winds before

28% ere new to Four Winds

95% of audience would come again

Volunteers in numbers:

120 Registered volunteers (doesn’t include ‘unofficial’ volunteers who helped out over the weekend)

½ of the 2014 volunteers who had never before volunteered at Four Winds

21 Volunteer teams all together including four new teams - buses, wharf event, Windsong Pavilion films, and Windsong Pavilion tours

Four Winds Support:

$32,138 Total donated during or after 2014 Festival

39% of these donors were new

35% of these donors were 2nd time donors

18% of these donors were 3rd time donors

8% of these donors were 4th time donors

A selection of our favourite quotes…

“Much has changed since 1991, when a group of friends first carted a piano into a paddock and listened to Beethoven among the bellbirds.”

“Please keep creating this corner of heaven on earth and thank you for doing so”

“… wonderful to have such a unique and intimate experience.”

“Four Winds’ beautiful facility is amongst the best you’d expect to find anywhere in the world.”

“All those involved who make this wonderful festival possible are the stars of the show. Can't wait for the next event!”

“For me the festival is a chance to go outside the normal bounds of the concert hall. The beauty of the classics is undeniable and wonderful, but a life of beauty becomes soporific. A challenge, being taken outside my comfort zone adds excitement and provides zest for living. That is part of being a festival. Incidentally a warning bell 5 minutes before starting would be a great help!”


July 2014

22 July 2014

Zephyrs presents The Alister Spence Trio at the Windsong Pavilion

Link: PDF of Zephyrs latest Enews. By Roger Stuart, Zephyrs Chair.

Audience quotes: 'What great musicians, what interplay’... ‘Wonderful acoustics, a beautiful venue and site’... ‘A great way to spend a winter Sunday afternoon’ ...Read more


April 2014

22 APRIL 2014

Bermagui Four Winds ‘among world’s best’

Article: Bermagui Four Winds ‘among world’s best’. By Ben Smyth, Narooma News, 22 April 2014

Mr Claringbold said between the Soundshell and the Windsong Pavilion, Four Winds’ “beautiful facility” is “amongst the best you’d expect to find anywhere in the world”. Read more

22 APRIL 2014

Review: Rich sonorities and pyrotechnics at Four Winds

Review: Rich sonorities and pyrotechnics at Four Winds. By Judith Crispin, City News, 22 April 2014

OVER the Easter weekend I headed to Bermagui on the South Coast for the biennial Four Winds Festival. In late autumn sun, 2,000 music lovers reclined on blankets and folding chairs for two marathon six and a half hour concerts. Read more

21 APRIL 2014

Four Winds Festival review: Music flows where the wind bows

Article: Four Winds Festival review: Music flows where the wind bows. By Harriett Cunningham, Canberra Times, 21 April 2014

Much has changed since 1991, when a group of friends first carted a piano into a paddock and listened to Beethoven among the bellbirds. Read more

19 APRIL 2014

Bermagui Four Winds Festival 2014 | Photos

Article: Bermagui Four Winds Festival 2014 | Photos. By Ben Smyth, Narooma News, April 19, 2014

16 APRIL 2014

Bermagui Four Winds Festival tunes up

Article: Bermagui Four Winds Festival tunes up. By Albert McKnight, Bega District News, April 16, 2014

THE Four Winds Festival is “ready to go” according to chair of the festival board Sheena Boughen. “The Auric Quartet has just arrived and is rehearsing with David Hewitt, and it feels like the magic is coming alive,” Ms Boughen said yesterday. Read more

9 APRIL 2014

Sounds Like Sydney

Article: the Four Winds Blows through Bermagui

The 2014 Four Winds Festival is set to take place in Bermagui on the NSW south coast from April 17th- 20th. Held every alternate Easter, the festival aims to spark diversity and excellence in the performing arts, offering opportunities to performers and audiences, developing venues and creating community partnerships.

Although the festival dates back to the early 1990's, this is Paul Kildea's first year as its Artistic Director. A former Young Artist at Opera Australia, Paul Kildea has conducted throughout Australia and Europe and for 4 years was Head of Music at the Aldeburgh Festival followed by artistic posts with the Perth Festival and Wigmore Hall, London, where he was Artistic Director. Read more

4 APRIL 2014

Arts NSW media release

Article: opening of the Windsong Pavilion

This year's Four Winds Festival will feature the opening of the Windsong Pavillion, a purpose built performance space that features state-of-the-art acoustic design and seating for 160.

Four Winds is a biennial festival of classic, cultural and world music. Read more

2 APRIL 2014

Narooma News

Article: More than music at Four Winds

THIS year's Four Winds Festival runs from April 17-20 with the first two days at Bermagui before moving out to the Barragga Bay site, nine kilometres south, for the weekend.

The site will open at 7.30am each morning with coffee and hot cross buns on sale for the early comers. Read more


March 2014

22 MARCH 2014

Canberra Times

Article: Child of destiny pulls off a coup

Perhaps destiny had an eye on Paul Kildea as he visited Bermagui in his youth, appraising him as a future artistic force to plan and direct the Four Winds Festival, the music and arts celebration that has grown with each biennial presentation since its baptism in April 1991.

As a student at St Edmund's College in Narrabundah, Kildea's music-making consisted of playing in the school's concert band. Then he met a piano teacher, Keith Radford. Read more

14 MARCH 2014

Bega District News

Article: Four Winds singing praises of Nature's Concert Hall

THE winds of change are blowing into Barragga Bay this month in the lead-up to Easter's Four Winds Festival.

The final touches are being put on the Windsong Pavilion, completing "Nature's Concert Hall" - a world-class performance venue set in beautiful bushland 10 minutes south of Bermagui. Read more

3 MARCH 2014

Four Winds Windsong Pavilion - enriching Nature’s Concert Hall in Bermagui, NSW.

Press Release: The P.A. People Pty Ltd

13 MARCH 2014

At The Wharf, a free concert on Good Friday 18th April

We are proud of our musicians, of our stunning natural environment and of the wisdom and hard work of our local fishermen that brought us all The Bermagui Fishermen's Wharf. We want to celebrate all three (and show it off to the visitors) by having a concert at the wharf - filling the space with beauty and surprise that let's us see our place in a whole new way. This free concert is a wonderful way to launch the Easter weekend Four Winds Festival and celebrate the joy of music.

3 MARCH 2014

Four Winds Windsong Pavilion - enriching Nature’s Concert Hall in Bermagui, NSW.

Press Release: The P.A. People Pty Ltd

13 MARCH 2014

At The Wharf, a free concert on Good Friday 18th April

We are proud of our musicians, of our stunning natural environment and of the wisdom and hard work of our local fishermen that brought us all The Bermagui Fishermen's Wharf. We want to celebrate all three (and show it off to the visitors) by having a concert at the wharf - filling the space with beauty and surprise that let's us see our place in a whole new way. This free concert is a wonderful way to launch the Easter weekend Four Winds Festival and celebrate the joy of music.

6 Top Tips for a Fabulous Time...

1. Stroll through the Bermagui Fishermen's Wharf and enjoy great music all afternoon. If you'd like to sit, BYO low to the ground chairs or rugs. No tables please. The roadway between the building and the water will be closed to cars.

2. Bring a picnic or enjoy food from the restaurants at the Wharf and other food stalls. There'll be a sausage sizzle, soft drinks, cakes, coffee and ice-cream available. Always a good idea to bring plenty of water.

3. Please leave the parking space at the Wharf for people with limited mobility, artists and production. Everyone is encouraged to park legally around town and walk to the event. Please don't park in front of driveways, on footpaths or on bridges.

4. The music starts at 3pm and the sun sets before it ends, so bring clothing for all weather.

5. Are you going to the festival on Saturday and Sunday? Bring your festival tickets along and beat the queues by collecting your wristband on Friday afternoon at the wharf.

6. Look out for our volunteers in red to answer any of your questions.

Watch a clip and read more about our headline artist Michelle Nicolle.

February 2014


21 FEBRUARY 2014

Four Winds Festival is in the Air

The premiere performance of a newly composed piece of music for Four Winds Festival will be played at Nature’s Concert Hall, the glorious natural amphitheatre at Barragga Bay on Saturday, April 19.

Read more here at Narooma News Online.

January 2014


24 JANUARY 2014


Four Winds attracts a world of talent.

Four Winds artistic director Paul Kildea is thrilled to be presenting a world-class line-up of performers at this year's festival from April 17-20.

Read more here at Bega District News.

November 2013


20 NOVEMBER 2013

First sounds at the Windsong Pavilion

The new Windsong Pavilion being completed on the Four Winds Festival site is a purpose built, acoustically designed recital hall. This significant indoor performance venue compliments the festival's outdoor Soundshell, the main stage of the bi-annual festival, set in a bush amphitheatre known as Nature's Concert Hall. Shellie Morris, who will feature at the 2014 festival next Easter, played the first sounds in the Pavilion.

Chair of the Four Winds Festival Board, Sheena Boughen, says the venue is to accommodate a wide range of performance types, including musical performances across all genres, through to multimedia projects, and film screenings.

Click here to see footage of the first sounds and read full article by ABC's Bill Brown


October 2013


01 OCTOBER 2013

What Are Arts Festivals Really All About?

In recent years it seems as though every major city in the world has its own arts festival.

The recent history of the arts festival goes back to the post war years when civic leaders began looking to the arts to animate cities and build civic pride. The Edinburgh Festival -- perhaps the most famous of them all -- began in 1947, and today’s festivals are too numerous to list. But what are arts festivals really about and whose interest do they serve?

Our Chair, Sheena Boughen discusses the role of the festival on Weekend Arts, Radio National.




July 2013


09 July 2013

When Four Become One

Her violin tucked under her chin, Francesca Hiew makes a discreet but audible sniff that is the cue for the music to begin. She and the three other members of the Auric Quartet are rehearsing Mendelssohn's String Quartet No 2 in A minor. The introduction is an Adagio, with quietly consonant chords and a little melodic fragment that Mendelssohn borrowed from a song of his, Ist es wahr? (Is it so?).

Great article featured in The Australian about our recent resident musicians. Read more...

June 2013


26 June 2013

Auric Quartet Residency Inspires

Geoffrey Badger and Sheena Boughen flanked by the
Auric String Quartet - Jarrad, Matthew, Kate and Francesca.

Did you come and see the final concert marking the end of the Auric Quartet’s residency here in the Bega Valley? What an incredibly beautiful afternoon of music by and for the local community and supported by the Auric Quartet from the Australian National Academy of Music (ANAM).

As a result of their residency here Auric had time to prepare for the finals of the Asia Pacific Chamber Music Competition, and beautifully played a piece by Mendelssohn at the concert. It was truly awe-inspiring! But what was really special about the concert was the passion and enthusiasm from the quartet and all the young string players as they played side by side.

Sheena Boughen says “These kinds of collaborations don’t work unless there is someone pulling it all together locally. That’s Geoffrey Badger. From choosing the repertoire that the Bega Chamber Orchestra, Heartsong Choir and Auric can play together to running rehearsals, organising lessons and concerts, and supporting the quartet in realising the power of community engagement. His work as music educator here in the Valley is what has made this first residency so successful from both sides. The quartet have left inspired by the generosity and appreciation from the community, totally enamored with the beauty of our place and asking when they can return! And you should hear what some of the parents have said about their young string players after lessons with the quartet members.”

Megan and Ian Campbell whose son Jim plays the violin said “It's like the light went on for Jim, he went from struggling to do his regular practice to hard to make him stop. He is very inspired.”

Our hope is that the opportunities that we can help facilitate through music education within the local community touch lives in meaningful ways. Of course our vision is to continue to excite festival participants with the music of Four Winds but when visiting artists are given the opportunity to spend time immersed in the community, sharing their music and teaching skills, transformation occurs for both community and the visiting musicians.

Tune in to ABC Classic FM on the 9th and 11th of July to hear Auric competing in the finals of the Asia Pacific Chamber Music Competition.


5 June 2013

Joining Forces: Free Concert with Auric Quartet

The delightful Auric String Quartet - Francesca, Kate, Matthew and Jarrad.

Join us for a special concert in Bega this Saturday 8 June, at 3pm in the Mumbulla School Hall. Entry is free.

The Auric Quartet, who have been in residence in the Bega Valley over the last month, will join forces with the Heartsong Choir, the Bega Chamber Orchestra and Molly Campbell to play the pieces they have been working on during this residency. Many of the usual suspects will be represented: Vivaldi, Telemann, Bach, Mozart, as well as some more contemporary pieces.

It's all got a wonderful lively dynamic that just makes you sit up and be proud to be part of music making in our region.

You'll discover that the Auric Quartet are a remarkable group of young string musicians who not only play so beautifully and intelligently, but they understand the value of being involved in making music from within a community.

They are here through a unique collaboration between the Australian National Academy of Music (ANAM), Four Winds Festival and the Bega Chamber Orchestra, and have been supporting and inspiring local musicians through concerts, lessons, and ensemble work.

May 2013


15 May 2013

Auric String Quartet in the Community

The Auric String Quartet put on a show at the
Mumbulla School at the beginning of their residency.

Keep up to date and view photos of the delightful Auric String Quartet involvement with our community on our Facebook page.

Make a note in your diary for Saturday 8 June for the free concert featuring Auric and local musicians!
Mumbulla School Hall, Bega, 3pm.

April 2013


24 April 2013

Auric Quartet Here For Four Winds Residency

The Auric String Quartet in performance - Kate Sullivan,
Francesca Hiew, Matthew Laing and Jarrad Mathie.

Four Winds is delighted to announce the first project in a new partnership with the Australian National Academy of Music (ANAM). In May we will introduce and welcome the Auric String Quartet, an ensemble associate of ANAM. Kate, Francesca, Matt and Jarrad are taking up residency with us for three weeks to inspire and create beautiful music in a program of intensive rehearsals, teaching and performing. Auric will split their time between Bega and Bermagui, as well as teaching individual students and rehearsing intensively amongst the spotted gum at Barragga Bay.

ANAM is Australia's premiere performance training institution for the country's finest young classical musicians. Kate Sullivan, Francesca Hiew and Jarrad Mathie are alumni of ANAM while Matt Laing is currently in his 3rd year studying with Caroline Henbest, who performed at the 2012 Four Winds Festival.

The Auric String Quartet was formed in April 2012 to perform quartets by Zemlinsky and Britten, as part of a fellowship project at the ANAM. Encouraged by positive reviews of these performances, an ease of collaboration, and a shared passion for quartet playing, the goal of forming a professional ensemble was a natural ambition.

In February 2013, the Quartet had its first public engagements as a quartet, performing Bartók, Britten and Adès at the Perth International Arts Festival Quartetthaus as part of ANAM Quartetthaus with guest cellist Michael Dahlenburg.

The partnership offers Auric the opportunity to rehearse for the Asia-Pacific Chamber Music Competition in July and contribute to the Four Winds outreach program by providing lessons for young string players in the region, and by performing with and for the community.

While in the region, the Quartet will work with the Bega Chamber Orchestra, Heartsong and other groups. They will also be making school visits and have offered one-on-one lessons. For more information about their program or to book individual lessons, please call Geoffrey Badger on 6492 0518 or the Four Winds office on 6493 3414.

There will also be two opportunities to see the Quartet perform – at the beginning of their stay when they will perform at the Mumbulla School Hall in Bega on Sunday 19 May at 3pm ($15 per head, children free, tickets at the door *NOTE CHANGE OF DATE*), with a program featuring Britten and Haydn. At the end of their residency, there will a free presentation involving students and local musicians, also at the Mumbulla School Hall in Bega on Saturday 8 June at 3pm.

We are excited to be able to share this partnership, which extends the commitment Four Winds has to music education in our region.


18 April 2013

MPs visit Four Winds and turn the first sods

Image of Dr Mike Kelly and Four Winds supporters
Mrs Neilma Gantner (founder and patron of Four Winds),
Michael Darling (Four Winds Board member), Dr Kelly,
Sheena Boughen (Chair, Four Winds) and Neilma’s sister and
Four Winds supporter Marigold Southey

Member for Eden-Monaro Dr Mike Kelly recently visited the Four Winds Festival site to be briefed on plans for the Pavilion. He said that he was proud that the Federal Government had been such a strong partner of Four Winds.

“We know how important it is to foster a strong arts culture in our region, both in terms of the local community and in enhancing our tourist appeal,” Dr Kelly said.

“It has been a pleasure to work so closely with Four Winds over the past few years, and it gives me great pride to think that our Government has provided more than $2million in funding towards this ever-growing festival, including $1.67million from Regional Development Australia for construction of the magnificent Sound Shell and Pavilion.

“This new Pavilion will be another string to the Festival’s bow, attracting musicians from across the globe as well as giving local students and teachers a world-class facility in their own backyard.”

Member for Bega Andrew Constance also visited the site during the week. He was particularly interested to learn about the Pavilion’s acoustics, funded by artsNSW through the NSW Department of Trade and Investment. The enhancements made possible through this grant will contribute to a world-class, indoor performance facility in the region.

“The Four Winds project is an important showcase for NSW as it highlights how a regional community can conceive and achieve an ambitious project that will benefit the whole State,” said Mr Constance.

“Launching programs in the Pavilion will be a major part of the next Festival over Easter 2014,” Four Winds Chair, Sheena Boughen said.

Mr Constance and Dr Kelly contributed to excavations by turning a sod or two.

Both commented on the significant and wide ranging voluntary contributions made to the development of this project and over $1million raised from individuals and foundations.

Four Winds will start construction of the Pavilion later this month. See photos from the MPs' visit and follow construction through our Progress Blog.


One year to go!

artist's impression of inside the new pavilion

This month we start the one year countdown to Festival 2014 so put the 18th, 19th and 20th April 2014 in your diary!

The D.A. for the Pavilion has been approved! We now have 12 months until the building must be complete so construction will commence shortly. The wires for our three-phase power are up and connection is expected in the coming weeks. Once building commences you will be able to follow the journey though our Progress Blog, from turning the first sod to the first sounds resonating from the new Pavilion at Festival 2014.

The program is coming together with the commissioning of new work underway. Previous artistic director Genevieve Lacey expanded the artistic reach of the festival with her chosen collaborations with Australian musicians from a range of genres. Paul Kildea continues the role of musical incubator, driving new music creation and performance by and for Australian artists and listeners, with the explicit intent of encouraging musicians to try unusual collaborations and to perform in new contexts.

Did you know that more often than not musicians that are brought together to collaborate in the performance of new work through Four Winds continue to play and create together into the future? The collaboration of Karin Schaupp and the Flinders Quartet resulted in a national tour and an ARIA-nominated ABC Classics recording. Lou Bennett’s Four Winds engagement has led to an on-going commission and writing partnership between the Black Arm Band and Gondwana Choirs. Since we first brought Mark Atkins and William Barton together these artists, from different playing traditions, have continued to perform as a duo.

Projects conceived by our artistic directors have also given artists’ works multiple performance opportunities. Our commissioned work, Bright Birds, composed by Damian Barbeler, is being recorded again by ABC for broadcast across the network.

And last festival, Four Winds also brought together two divisions of the ABC for the first time. Bill Brown from ABC South East NSW combined his multi-camera footage with ABC Classic FM’s recordings. These beautifully captured performances can be viewed on the ABC South East NSW website. As Easter approaches re-live last year’s favourites curled up with your laptop and a good drop!

We look forward to connecting with you all as we count down to Festival 2014. In the meantime, keep an eye on the Progress Blog for the construction of the Pavilion, and on Facebook and Twitter for other updates and bits and pieces.

Enjoy the sparkling days and cooler nights,

The Four Winds Team


January 2013

Benjamin Britten

Benjamin Britten book launch

We are very excited that Paul Kildea, our Artistic Director is in London to launch his new book! The book is being published to mark the beginning of the Britten centenary year in 2013.

Benjamin Britten: A Life in the Twentieth Century, the first major biography of Britten in twenty years, explores the life and music of this extraordinary artist. Paul is also presenting three lectures (7, 14 and 21 February) about Britten with Gresham College (London). You can read more about these lectures at

For more information about the book go to

The book is available on pre-release sales through a number of online book sellers or order it from your local book shop!


December 2012

AbaF NSW/ACT giving award

Four Winds Festival wins AbaF NSW/ACT giving award

The Four Winds Festival at Bermagui has won the AbaF NSW/ACT giving award for its capital campaign to raise money to create Nature’s Concert Hall on the festival site at Bermagui. This award is in recognition of the $3.3m raised from 300 individuals, Federal and NSW governments, foundations and pro bono labour to value of $.5m.

Nature’s Concert Hall, with a Sound Shell designed by Philip Cox, and launched at Easter, and a Shed (designed by Clinton Murray), to be built in 2013 will give the region a high quality venue for a range of artistic endeavors. Both buildings were designed as a pro bono donation. Australian Business Arts Foundation (AbaF) aims to stimulate this type of arts activity and encourage the role of business and the arts partnering.

Chair Sheena Boughen, who with board members Sian Morgan Hall and Rob Tacheci attended the award dinner, commented,

“This award congratulates us all on raising the total funds required. Our Sound Shell has been welcomed, and our second building will provide a creative space for residencies and workshops, a performance space for 160 people with state of the arts acoustics and production equipment, meeting space and a kitchen. We will be open for business by the end of 2013. With broadband connectivity, all users of the space will be able eventually to connect and create with groups in our region or in Beijing or Berlin.”

“This is an award for our community and our audience and a vote for the role that arts plays in our life. We thank everyone who has invested in us and given a vote of confidence to the region. Also we thank Mr Gantner who has leased the land long term to Four Winds in a generous donation, and Genevieve Lacey for her support.”.

“The arts are core to a worthwhile life, and our economy and are worth more than $30 billion annually to Australia’s GDP. We know in our region that hundreds of people participate in music making and the arts, both as performers and support roles.

We congratulate the Queensland Symphony orchestra on their national award for this category and are inspired by their success.”


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