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Captivating Contemporary Experiences : Melbourne Recital Centre's 2024 Program

Amelia Szabo
The last 15 years of live music at Melbourne Recital Centre have been nothing short of extraordinary. The venue has flourished as the nexus of live music in Melbourne, bringing to light an extensive line-up of multinational and genre-crossing acts. The upcoming 2024 program, ‘Captivating Contemporary Experiences’, continues this trajectory with performances by Beth Orton, Arooj Aftab supported by Mindy Meng Wang, Michael Rother and Friends, Folk Bitch Trio, and many more.

The Centre is one of the world’s few live music venues championing musicians and artists at every stage of their career. Continuing this tradition in their 15th year, the Centre will showcase both classical and contemporary performances from artists such as Icelandic pianist Víkingur Ólafsson, Australia’s own Courtney Barnett, contemporary New York string outfit Brooklyn Rider and English folktronica artist Beth Orton.

Programming Manager Shelley McCuaig emphasises the Centre’s versatility by saying, “The breadth of what’s on offer in 2024 reflects Melbourne Recital Centre’s commitment to distinctive and dynamic programming spanning Grammy-winning neosufi indie pop, desert noir, indie darlings, afro-futurist cosmic jazz, legendary experimental rock and so much more.”

The 'Contemporary' program's curated line-up epitomises the Centre’s commitment to quality, virtuosity and innovation. Like a crystal, which symbolises clarity and strength on a 15th anniversary, the Centre remains steadfast in showcasing transparent and authentic artistry in its performances. Here are our highlights from the program.

Courtney Barnett will be performing at Melbourne Recital Centre Friday 2nd February

Courtney Barnett

Embracing her audience with old and new music, Australia’s own Courtney Barnett will launch the program playing a two-part set exploring her latest album ‘End Of The Day’ before leaning back into the beloved works of her earlier records. 

Void of the punk poet's well-known wit and deadpan lyricism, ‘End Of The Day’ sinks into atmospheric guitar instrumentals that originally established the score for the documentary ‘Anonymous Club’. Notably, this album is the final release from Melbourne’s iconic Milk! Records, founded by Barnett alongside Jen Cloher in 2012. Barnett will be accompanied by acclaimed producer, drummer and collaborator Stella Mozgawa on synths for this first set. Selections from preceding albums will then make up Barnett’s second set, returning to her distinguishable style.  

Arooj Aftab will perform with special guest Mindy Meng Wang Friday 8th March at Melbourne Recital Centre

Arooj Aftab

Pakistani-American singer, composer and producer Arooj Aftab will make her Australian debut in March, performing her latest album, Vulture Prince.

Embodying the ethos of Melbourne Recital Centre, Aftab fuses genres, cultures and musical history within her music, influenced by Hindustani classical music and minimalist pop. She is also a Grammy Award winner, has performed at Glastonbury, Coachella and Primavera Sound, and had her single ‘Mohabbat’ included in Barack Obama’s official 2021 Summer Playlist.  

Aftab will be supported by Mindy Meng Wang, a Chinese-Australian composer and performer who specialises in the traditional Ghuzeng. Meng Wang has performed at the Melbourne Recital Centre numerous times as part of the Centre’s Artist-in-residence program in 2022.

Folk Bitch Trio will be performing Saturday 13th April at Melbourne Recital Centre

Folk Bitch Trio 

The gliding vocals and candid lyrics of Heide Peverelle, Jeanie Pilkington, and Gracie Sinclair will be showcased in the Primrose Potter Salon. With a stripped-back set, the trio will highlight their groundings in contemporary and traditional folk, alt-rock and country, all the while nurturing a firm ttranquilly.

Artists Lonnie Holley, Lydia Lunch + Joseph Keckler and Franck Vigroux will also perform across the ‘Contemporary’ program.

Michael Rother and Friends 

Forever the experimentalist, Michael Rother will overcome genre boundaries as he fuses krautrock, post-punk and avant-garde sounds while celebrating 50 years of Neu! and its legacy. Joined by longtime collaborators Hans Lampe (La Düsseldorf), Franz Bargmann (ex Camera) and Vittoria Maccabruni, Rother brings an idiosyncratic experience to the Centre.

The Centre’s crystal-clear vision for this momentous celebration is reflected through their chosen acts and it will undoubtedly be an electrifying few months for music-lovers with more acts to be announced over the coming weeks

Please find further details and the extended Captivating Contemporary Experiences line-up below:

Melbourne Recital Centre members presale: 11 a.m. Friday, October 27.
General on sale: 11 a.m. Monday, October 30.


Thursday 01.02.24 YoCiTY - Jarabi Band
Friday 02.01.24 Courtney Barnett
Thursday 15.02.24 Calexico
Wednesday 28.02.24 Feb Lonnie Holley + Moor Mother + Irreversible Entanglements


Friday 01.03.24 Michael Rother & Friends Play The Music of Neu!
Saturday 02.03.24 Yirinda
Friday 08.03.24 Arooj Aftab with special guest Mindy Meng Wang
Wednesday 13.03.24 Franck Vigroux & Antoine Schmitt 
Friday 15.03.23 & Lydia Lunch + Joseph Keckler


Saturday 13.04.23 Folk Bitch Trio
Wednesday 24.04.23 Beth Orton

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SEE ISSUE #06 HERE. The theme for this issue, Revelations, delves into the unfiltered aspects of life. It’s an appreciation and exploration of raw beauty, where authenticity reigns supreme; the unconventional is not just accepted but celebrated. In a world of manufactured perfection, this issue chooses to validate our quirks and idiosyncrasies. After all, they are what make us inimitable.

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