Back to All Events

Race against time, Australia's lost composer

  • Windsong Pavilion Four Winds Road Barragga Bay, NSW, 2546 Australia (map)

An event in words and music

The Flowers of War and Four Winds present the unknown and beautiful music of Frederick Septimus Kelly, Australia's lost composer, who visited Bermagui 100 years ago.

Readings from Kelly's diary by special guest Carrillo Gantner


Christopher Latham (violin)

Tamara-Anna Csilowska ( piano)

Louise Page ( soprano)

Christina Wilson (Mezzo)

Alan Hicks (piano)

The performance:

A stellar group of singers and performers will grace the stage of the Four Winds Windsong Pavilion in early August to perform Race against Time, a Flowers of War event about the moving story of FS Kelly, a rare musical genius who died in the Battle of the Somme.

July 1 marked the centenary of the horrifying first day of the Battle of the Somme, where more than 60,000 casualties were recorded. Among them were Australian artists and composers whose potential contributions to 20th century culture were lost on the battlefield.

In the days leading up to his death, Australian Frederick Kelly lay in the basement of a bombed-out farmhouse in France. Huddled around the stump of a candle, he continued to write a classic composition of the highest quality.

'He writes it out perfectly—there are no mistakes. “The manuscript is exquisite,' says Flowers of War director Chris Latham 'It's so well-made. It's inexplicable to me how he could make it without any piano.'

Two weeks later, Kelly was killed in action.

In arrangements by Latham that have been hailed as sensitive and poignant, Kelly’s songs will be sung by Soprano Louise Page, OAM, and Mezzo Christina Wilson.

Page, well known to South Coast audiences, is one of Australia’s most highly regarded and versatile singers. She has appeared in opera, operetta, oratorio, cabaret, recital and broadcasts, and in 2013 was awarded an OAM for services to the performing arts. Louise has recorded 7 CDs.

Christian Wilson is described as possessing "a voice to drool over" and "una voce stupenda", and has appeared in performances throughout Europe, the USA, Australia and the UK and was invited to sing before the Queen when she worked in the UK.

The two singers will be accompanied by Alan Hicks on piano.  One of Australia’s foremost accompanists and much in demand Alan performs regularly around Australia in recitals and Festivals with leading national and international artists. He also plays a key role in coaching budding singers to perform at the highest level in Canberra’s embassies..

Kelly’s music will be played by Tamara-Anna Cislowska, who is one of Australia’s most acclaimed and recognised pianists, and 2015 ARIA award winner for ‘Best Classical Album’ for her recording of Peter Sculthorpe’s complete works for piano. Tamara is a regular guest of orchestras and festivals worldwide, both as an avid chamber musician and as soloist with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the New Zealand Symphony, Auckland Philharmonia and all the Australian Symphony Orchestras.

Chris Latham, ANZAC fellow, violinist and well known to the South Coast as a former artistic director of the Four Winds Festival, will be performing with Tamara, Kelly’s beautifulelegy to his close friend, British poet Rupert Brooke, among other pieces

Carrillo Gantner, AO, well known as a founder of Four Winds and its Master of Ceremonies and with a long history of philanthropy in the arts and theatre, is appearing as a special guest to read extracts from Kelly’s diaries, including those about his visit to Bermagui 100 years ago.


Earlier Event: July 24
Sacrifice - Pozières, France
Later Event: October 21
Canberra:Three Treasures