After a two-year hiatus and with a new name and look, between 22 and 25 September, Bellingen Muse will again fill the town with the sounds of fine music, featuring a program that reflects the beauty and creativity of Bellingen. Bellingen has a well-deserved reputation as a town that embraces fine music in all its variations and Bellingen Muse is set to reward that passion with a fabulous line-up of Australia’s foremost musicians.

This year’s program is ambitious, with 16 performances in 2 towns and multiple venues, promising something for everyone. You can expect to hear music from many styles and different cultures. This year the European western tradition amicably rubs shoulders with Afro-Cuban and Brazilian cultures. The thing that unifies all is the quest for excellence and virtuosity.

In Bellingen the festival will open with a gala night celebration at Cedar Bar & Kitchen, with performances by Paul and Trish Dean (Ensemble Q’s Artistic Directors), local soprano Michelle Der Kinderen and one of Bellingen’s favourite violinist’s Lachlan Wilkins.

As we wait for the return of our beloved Memorial Hall, Muse is delighted to explore the acoustic wonders of St Margaret’s Anglican Church. On Friday the virtuosic violins of Courtney Cleary and Adam Chalabi are followed by a concert featuring the harp and guitar of Emily Granger and Andrew Blanch. On Saturday the full splendour of five acapella voices will fill the vaulted ceiling when Vocal Detour sings ‘For the Beauty of the Earth’.

Saturday sees performances return to Cedar Bar where players from Ensemble Q will be joined by the Ensemble Muse Quartet to play a special program of solos, duets and ensemble favourites from the classical repertoire. Saturday night is an event not to be missed with Gai Bryant’s Caribé quintet turning the venue into a Cuban cantina, playing their Latin influenced Jazz.

In Coffs Harbour a special opening event features music created here in Coffs Harbour; a unique fusion of classical string quartet and jazz trio written by Pablo Blitzer, local sax and keyboard legend. The Ensemble Muse quartet will join the jazz trio for this truly remarkable work. Join the Festival crew and audience for refreshments and fabulous music at the Jetty Theatre Friday evening.

The Coffs Conservatorium concerts will headline Ensemble Q, featuring Paul and Trish Dean, playing a spectacular and emotional concert of vibrant Chamber Music. In their featured piece Dreams and Prayers of Isaac the Blind, written for clarinet/bass clarinet and string quartet, the concert hall becomes a Klezmer filled marketplace with ancient characters and awe-inspiring virtuosity.

In other events at the Coffs Con, the intimate beauty of harp and guitar will entrance the audience when Emily Granger and Andrew Blanch bring their Suite Magica to the stage.

Ensemble Offspring bring their own unique approach to the genre featuring music by living composers, including women and First Nation’s composers. Claire Edwardes OAM pushes the boundaries of percussion and is joined by clarinet, flute and harp over 2 amazing concerts.

The Jetty Theatre will feature the full complement of Caribé in the Friday night timeslot. Caribé crafts Cuban traditional and classical music forms in a contemporary way resulting in music that is unique and fresh. Seeing Caribé live is a communal experience incorporating classic Cuban music styles alongside percussive elements deeply rooted in rumba and Afro-Cuban culture.

Saturday at the Jetty you will experience Brazilian Carioca, which refers to anything related to Rio de Janeiro including the music created there. The Carioca Project is a deep dive into Brazilian samba, bossa nova and choro music styles. Intimate, lush bossa novas sit alongside energetic uplifting sambas and virtuosic instrumental choro music that originated in Rio in the 19th century.

What better way to finish our festival than with a concert from our beloved Bellingen Youth Orchestra, who are guaranteed to give an incredible performance at Stockton Hall at the High School. The passion, skills and commitment of the BYO players, tutors, parents, and supporters exemplifies what can be achieved by our beautiful community. This concert will include a performance by their advanced string players ‘Sinfonia’ who will be joined by some of the festival’s players.

With the assistance of Bellingen Shire Council we are able to offer a special price of $25 for tickets to our Grand Finale ‘after party’. This is the opportunity for locals, visitors, performers and festival goers to kick up their heels and celebrate. This party will be driven by the Caribbean and Latin sounds of performers from Caribe. The music will expect you to bring your dancing shoes.

See for the full program and ticketing.

Interested to Volunteer some time ?
We have a few gaps in our roster at Bellingen and Coffs Harbour, so if you would like to help staff a concert and then enjoy it for free please email