Music from the greatest composers, performed by the world’s finest chamber musicians will take over Townsville in North Queensland when the 26thAustralian Festival of Chamber Music (AFCM) is staged from 29 July to 6 August this year, under the baton of acclaimed Artistic Director Piers Lane AO.
Internationally famed for its musicality, programming, headline artists and stunning location, the 2016 AFCM stars a marquee lineup of 35 individual artists from all over the world, six of whom will make their Australian debut, and three famed ensembles. Importantly, this will be the 10th AFCM under the artistic leadership of Lane and will be staged in churches, theatres, galleries, gardens and the stunning Orpheus Island.
“The Australian Festival of Chamber Music is extraordinary, not just as a leading musical event in Australia, but for its place on the world calendar; artists and guests alike attend from all over the globe because of the incredible fusion of music, friendship, experience and celebration the event creates,” said Artistic Director Piers Lane AO in announcing the program. “This year we celebrate Paul Stanhope as our Composer-in-Residence; our artists love playing his music! At the Families’ Concert, we’ll present Oscar Wilde’s enchanting fairytale The Happy Prince in its musical realisation by the late Malcolm Williamson, his inspired response to Britten’s Noye’s Fludde, which was such a hit three years ago, and we are thrilled to stage another free concert in Queens Gardens, in celebration of the 150th anniversary of Townsville being declared a municipality. It’s titled The 1812 Again!” he said.
To the music makers of 2016 … two celebrated Chinese artists in the charismatic pianist Sa Chen, and the superb cellist Trey Lee lead the artists making their debut in Australia at the AFCM. Others who have never before performed in Australia include Irish superstar pianist Finghin Collins, famed French horn player Hervè Joulain, multi-award winning German violinist Indira Koch, and the acclaimed German cellist Wolfgang-Emanuel Schmidt.
Returning to what promises to be rapturous applause is Tasmin Little, the effervescent violinist from the UK who so impressed audiences in 2014. She will perform in eight events throughout the festival.
Joining her in returning to the AFCM is internationally acclaimed percussionist and co-artistic director of Sydney’s Ensemble Offspring Claire Edwardes, together with the communicative clarinetist David Griffiths in company with his trio Ensemble Liaison, and one of Australia’s favourite bassists Kirsty McCahon. Bassoonist Andrew Barnes, flautist Bridget Bolliger, violinist Michele Walsh, the gifted and versatile soprano Valda Wilson and one of the most sought after oboists of his generation, Australia’s Nick Deutsch are among other marquee artists.
One of the highlights of pianist Andrew West’s festival program will be his performance with one of the greatest British baritones, Roderick Williams, in Schubert’s masterpiece Winterreise (Winter Journey), while acclaimed guitarist Karin Schaupp will collaborate with the very provocative and charming Australian actor Tama Matheson in the musical adventure special event, Don Juan.
Program highlights include the Opening Night Concert The Trout on Friday 29 July, which promises a musical feast of Ravel, Chopin, Mozart, Haydn and Schubert, followed by the famed Governor’s Gala the following evening, this year titled The Surprise!
Winter Journey, Don Juan, Opus 127 and the exquisite beach concert on Orpheus Island – a stunning tribute to the festival’s place on earth – are all standouts along with the two church concerts, while AFCM’s famed Winterschool concerts and masterclasses ensure the festival involves, engages and celebrates young talent.
The much-loved signature series Concert Conversations, hosted by Piers over six mornings, will give audiences the rare opportunity to engage in chats with many festival artists. Added to this in 2016 is a concert featuring the winner of the prestigious *2016 Sydney International Piano Competition together with AFCM artists.
The most recent festival creation and hit event, The Concert Crawl features three concerts at three different venues, the School of Arts Theatre, The Old Courthouse Theatre and the Supreme Court. It includes a performance of the AFCM co-commissioned piece, The Three Dancers by Elena Kats-Chernin, this time presented as music and dance.
Executive Director of the AFCM, Justin Ankus said he was thrilled to be managing the event in its 26th year and his first. “The Australian Festival of Chamber Music is fiercely loved by artists and guests alike and it’s an honour to be at the helm, guiding it forward and working alongside Piers Lane and an extraordinary team of artists and supporters. This is truly a world class event that puts not only Townsville and Queensland, but also Australia, firmly on the world music map.”
Tickets on Sale:
The AFCM program is unveiled today, Tuesday 15 March.
Tickets go on sale to AFCM Members on Wednesday 16 March, along with Festival holiday packages.
General Public ticket sales commence on Monday 11 April.