Premium chamber music purveyor Musica Viva has pulled out all the stops for its international concert season next year. The program crescendos from the intimacy of classical guitar duo Karin Schaupp and Pavel Steidel through solos, duos, trios and quartets to the ecstatic brilliance of Perth soprano Sara Macliver and acclaimed UK period performance band Academy of Ancient Music.
Audiences also will be able to sample major works by four Australian composers: Peter Sculthorpe, Ross Edwards, Carl Vine and Matthew Hindson.
"I thought it would be nice to look back at the 10 years of featured Australian composers," says Vine, the Perth-born composer and Musica Viva artistic director. "We also wanted to demonstrate our ongoing and genuine commitment to Australian music. It's not an added extra - it's fundamental to the program."
In another first, Musica Viva is featuring the classical guitar as an instrument in its own right, with German-born Schaupp and Czech virtuoso Steidl presenting a history of the classical guitar duo on historic and modern instruments. Composers include Paganini, Granados, Janacek and Ross Edwards.
Next off the block is the Nirgebsterb Trio, a young German piano trio making their first Australian tour for Musica Viva. The trio will be joined by ACO principal viola Christopher Moore for a program of Mahler, Beethoven, Edwards and Schumann.
On a more serious note, 2013 sees the final Musica Viva tour for legendary string quartet the Tokyo Quartet before it disbands. It will be performing Mozart, Schubert and Sculthorpe's String Quartet No.16, which it premiered in 2005.
"Last year Kikuei Ikeda (violin) and Kazuhide Isomura (viola) announced they were going to retire," Vine says. "We were expecting two new members to join the group. But there will be none. The good thing is they leave at the top of their game."
Popular Chinese-born cellist Jian Wang makes a welcome return to Perth, this time as a solo and chamber player. He is joined by pianist Bernadette Harvey for music by Bach, Schnittke, Puts and Brahms.
"Jian has been playing the Bach solo cello suites since he was nine," Vine says. "I think he's got them about right now and I love the way he plays them more than any other cellist."
The star of British quartet the Elias String Quartet "has definitely ascended" since its first Musica Viva tour as unknowns in 2009, Vine says. Included in its program is a new work by Australian composer Hindson specially commissioned for Musica Viva by lawyer Julian Burnside.
More solo Bach comes in the form of Canadian pianist Angela Hewitt's program, which features Bach's monumental Art of Fugue alongside piano transcriptions of Bach's music by legendary pianist Wilhelm Kempff.
Last but by no means least is the big one, the Academy of Ancient Music and Sara Macliver with a program of music by Locke, Purcell, Arne and Handel that forms part of the Perth Concert Hall's 40th anniversary celebrations.
Full 2013 season details visit musicaviva.com.au.