There is exciting news for classical music in Perth this month with the launch of the inaugural Darlington Spring Festival. Soprano Sara Macliver headlines the event which will run from 22-25th October. Three concerts will be spread across heritage buildings in Guildford and Darlington with a lunch concert package at Darlington Estate winery on the final day. It sounds very boutique, community-based and with a very promising music program (Trout Quintet, Vivaldi motet, Brahms Sextet).

The WA Academy of Performing Arts is also worth checking out this month with a fabulous array of concerts. New music by composition students takes centre stage at Spectrum Project Space on October 3-7th and in a series of works paying homage to Charles Ives on October 6th.

On the 4-5th London-based pianist Zubin Kanga performs a program of piano solos at WAAPA followed by a concert on the 5th in collaboration with Decibel ensemble. The concert includes the performance of a work by the student winner of the Difficult Commission award. 2nd year WAAPA music theatre students will tell the story of impoverished students living in an attic in their production of Rent (8-15th Oct), the modern remake of La Boheme.

Then from 10-15th WAAPA opera students present Britten’s comic chamber opera Albert Herring directed by Thomas de Mallet Burgess (Lost & Found). This is an ambitious opera for students to present but it has the potential to be fabulous theatre.

Finally on Oct 18th at WAAPA Australian composer and pianist Larry Sitsky brings his extraordinary playing and intellect to Beethoven’s piano works. “What would Beethoven have written if he had had a modern concert grand piano with its greater power, increased range and third pedal?”

On the 8th Art Song Perth present their final recital for the year: Lieder, L’Orient and Laughs. Local singers Caitlin Cassidy, Lucy Mervik and Herr Helmut Wunderlicher (aka Robert Hoffmann) will perform a range of vocal music accompanied by Marilyn Phillips.

There are two national tours this month.The Australian Chamber Orchestra will bring a reduced version of their national Baroque tour to Perth on the 19th. The Perth version doesn’t include soprano Julie Lezhneva and instead features five string players and recorder player Genevieve Lacey playing works by Bach and Vivaldi. Musica Viva’s national tour beings in Perth on October 3rd. The violin and piano duo Benjamin Meilman and Andrew Tyson have included on their program the premiere of a work by Jane Stanley, as part of Musica Viva’s Hildegard project. The commissioning of women composers is a subject close to my heart after spending years researching this area for my book Women of Note.

October 25th is opening night for WA Opera’s The Pearl Fishers. This is a new Opera Conference production directed by Michael Gow. The cast includes Emma Matthews as Leila and young local talent Wade Kernot as Nourabad, with Brad Cohen conducting.

The University of WA Wind students team up with St Mary’s Cathedral Choir on the 27th for a concert of sacred and instrumental works by Brahms and Barber.

The month ends with two children’s concerts on the 30th: Cappuccino Concerts Children’s Corner on returns by popular request with three-piece string ensemble Fiddlesticks introducing kids to music with lots of stories, interaction, dress ups and dancing.  WASO’s kids program is more impressive each year and I have high expectations of their presentation of the popular kids book The Gruffalo,with the film projected on the big screen and live performance of Rene Aubry’s magical score.