Music alumnus creates festival for homegrown talent

Alex Raineri is the founder and artistic director of the Brisbane Music Festival. Photo: Israel Rivera

Queensland Conservatorium alumnus Alex Raineri created an epic 12-month music festival to showcase the musical talent in his hometown.

Now in its fourth year, Brisbane Music Festival (BMF) has grown from humble beginnings to a year-long celebration that takes classical music out of the concert hall and into churches, art studios, basement dives and digital spaces.

Pianist Alex Raineri. Photo: Stephen Henry

As an award-winning concert pianist, Alex has toured the world and collaborated with the country’s top orchestras, but his true passion is BMF — a platform that allows him to showcase the best homegrown talent and champion new music.

After moving the festival online last year, Alex attracted a global audience, and is back with an ambitious program of 24 concerts and seven world premieres.

“It initially started as my personal passion project, but this festival has grown beyond my wildest dreams,” he said.

“The BMF is now a major contributor to the Australian arts scene, and a platform for the curation of incredible music, played by Australian artists for a global audience.”

After completing a Bachelor of Music at the Queensland Conservatorium with First Class Honours and a University Medal, Alex came back as a sessional lecturer, helping nurture the next generation of talented musicians.

“My time at the Con gave me the foundation to put on something ambitious like BMF and helped me build a network of collaborators,” he said.

“I really had a blessed journey with so many wonderful mentors, and now between teaching and creating a platform with BMF, I’m able to give back and help showcase all the talent in this city.”

Master of Music Studies student Francis Atkins.

Among the many Queensland Conservatorium staff, alumni and students on the BMF bill is pianist Francis Atkins, who was selected for the festival’s Young Artist Program.

The Master of Music Studies student embraced the chance to collaborate with his musical heroes on exciting new work.

“I’m getting the opportunity to premiere new work by Australian composers and perform with a bunch of really talented professional musicians who are just as passionate as I am,” he said.

“Prepping all of the repertoire in short timeframes has been a challenge, but it’s given me new skills that I’ll need in the industry.”

Francis said he was taking every opportunity to collaborate and perform after months of COVID lockdowns last year.

“It definitely makes you appreciate it — there are no nerves before a performance anymore, just joy,” he said.