International conductor and classical singer Christopher Watson will offer Melbourne audiences a rare choral music experience as part of the St Patrick’s Cathedral Music Festival Weekend. Watson, a former member of the critically acclaimed Tallis Scholars in the United Kingdom, combines his love of fine choral works with a local knowledge of some of the best performers in the business.

The first in a three-concert series over the weekend of Friday 16 September to Sunday 18 September, ‘French Choral Classics’ (Friday 16 September, 8pm) presents for the first time a unique collaboration between professional church singers from across Melbourne, brought together for this performance of Duruflé’s exquisite Requiem as well as works by Dupré, Messiaen and Faure.

Another event showcasing the diversity of the festival’s music repertoire is ‘This Land’—the fourth incarnation of a musical collaboration between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities, first performed at the University of Sydney in 2017 by the Cathedral’s music director, Dr Philip Matthias, when he was director of vocal ensemble Echology at the University of Newcastle. ‘This Land’, according to Dr Matthias, ‘seeks to find “the threads that bind us together” as a nation, through music, spirituality and community … The music presented is a diverse mix of the traditional and contemporary, the spiritual and the sacred, all connected in their role of telling the stories of our great country’.

An amazing event ... everyone should hear this.
—audience member, This Land’, Sydney, 2017

Featured performer David Leha (also known professionally as Radical Son) is from the Kamilaroi nation of Australia and the South Pacific nation of Tonga. Effortlessly crossing genres from soul and hip-hop to opera and film, Leha is a standout vocalist and songwriter. His credits include roles with Opera Australia, NITV documentary pieces and leading-artist tours with the late, legendary Archie Roach.

‘This Land’ also features local operatic trio Mia Sorella, and Troy Kuhl on didgeridoo. The concert will be compered by Indigenous elder Melissa Brickell.

Closing events on Sunday 18 September include the Festival Mass with 40-voice choir at 11am, and at 3.30pm a free recital of grand organ masterpieces such as Bach’s Fugue in G minor and Widor’s ‘Toccata’ from Symphony for Organ No.5 featuring Oscar Herrick.

Music Festival Weekend, St Patrick’s Cathedral
Friday 16 September – Sunday 18 September

  • Friday, 8pm: ‘French Choral Classics’, including Requiem by Maurice Duruflé, directed by Christopher Watson
  • Saturday, 8pm: ‘This Land’ concert with David Leha, Shauntai Batzke and Mia Sorella, Troy Kuhl, St Patrick’s Cathedral Schola and Gregorian Schola
  • Sunday, 11am: Festival Mass, featuring 40-voice choir
  • Sunday, 3.30pm-4pm: Oscar Herrick, organ recital

Enquiries: | 0481 706 666

Ticket prices vary across events from $0 to $50. Children under 15 years are admitted free.