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Pop-up orchestra brings together world-class musicians to perform in spotted gum forest

Among the picturesque spotted gum forests of the New South Wales Far South Coast, 32 classical musicians will come together to create a pop-up orchestra.

Musicians have been hand-picked from symphony orchestras and ensembles in every state and territory in the country for the Four Winds Music Festival.

Some of the musicians are reuniting after disparate careers.

Others are meeting and playing together for the first time, with only days to rehearse in person ahead of a series of performances over the Easter long weekend.

The Four Winds Festival is set in a forest on the NSW Far South Coast.(ABC South East NSW: Vanessa Milton)

Flute player Lina Andonovska works in Ohio and resides in Dublin, Ireland. She has flown from the other side of the world to play in the orchestra.

“I think my heart has been filled with so much happiness ever since I got off the shuttle from the airport,” Ms Andonovska said.

“The musicians that are assembled as part of this year’s offering are some of the best musicians on the planet, but also some of my great friends from throughout my career.”

Lina Andonovska has flown in from Ireland just for the performance.(ABC South East NSW: Floss Adams)

The Four Winds festival has been running since 1991 and the calibre of the event attracts world-class musicians each year.

Creative director Matthew Hoy said the task of mounting a full-scale orchestra for the regional event was a significant logistical feat.

“Working with a group that establishes a rapport as a collective over a period of time, it’s very powerful,” Mr Hoy said.

“The other side of that spectrum is the sense of that energy and spark that comes when everyone’s coming into a situation and working out how it’s going to work.

“I think there’s a really unique energy that comes with that.”

The musicians have been practising their individual parts at home, and have been testing them out together throughout rehearsals this week.

Ben Northey has the task of coordinating the far-flung musicians for the performance.(ABC South East NSW: Floss Adams)

For conductor Ben Northey, the challenge is to pull the talented group together into a cohesive ensemble.

“It’s unique in the sense that we’ve got a short amount of time to get a lot of music together very quickly, so that adds pressure,” Mr Northey said.

“But it’s also one of the things that makes this project so exciting, is the fact we’ve got lots of different styles of music. And that keeps everybody completely focused and on the ball.”

It’s a challenge Ms Andonovska is confident the musicians can meet.

“I suppose there is a risk, because anything can happen,” Ms Andonovska said “But at this level of music making, there’s also a lot of trust. It’s almost like, there’s a safety net.

“There are so many kindred spirits in the ensemble. And it’s magical when it all kind of aligns.”

Matthew Hoy is also playing the cello in the performance.(ABC South East NSW: Floss Adams)

It’s something Matthew Hoy hopes comes across to the audience.

“I think ultimately for me, it’s that sound, and for audiences to experience that sound,” Mr Hoy said.

“And if we can bring that to somewhere, regional and somewhere like the context of Four Winds, in a beautiful space, to engage in music in a way that’s really appealing. Why not?”

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