City to host early music festival

Some of the oldest venues in New Zealand's first city will soon echo with the notes of early music.

And the organiser of the inaugural New Zealand International Early Music Festival - to be held in Dunedin in March next year - is hopes the event will become a drawcard for the city.

Details were unveiled this week by festival artistic director Christopher Clifford, who said the festival would run from March 1 to 9.

The programme featured eight morning, evening and lunchtime concerts, to be staged at St Paul's Cathedral and the All Saints' Anglican Church, together with a Renaissance-themed closing picnic at Seacliff.

Performers from Dunedin and other parts of New Zealand were already booked, as was Australian lutenist and academic John Griffiths, of Melbourne.

However, more concerts could be added if additional funding from potential donors was confirmed before the festival began, Mr Clifford said.

Early music, which covers a span of more than 1000 years - including the medieval, Renaissance and Baroque periods - offered an ''infectious'' mix of rhythms, percussion and ''unusual'' instruments, he said.

The festival was supported by individual donors and the Otago Community Trust, which had together contributed $5000 towards a modest budget of just $20,000, he said.

Organisers hoped to raise the remaining $15,000 by March, but the festival would proceed regardless, even if some concerts had to be dropped to fit the budget, Mr Clifford said.


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