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Australian Festival of Chamber Music unveils 9 days of world class music and artists

March 28, 2017 Whats On No Comments Email Email

Rare, new & much loved repertoire feature in 11th festival program by Artistic Director Piers Lane AO

The internationally acclaimed Australian Festival of Chamber Music in Townsville has unveiled a world class program of concerts, collaborations, conversations and masterclasses to be performed by the world’s best chamber musicians in churches, theatres, gardens and on the stunning Orpheus Island for nine days from 28 July to 5 August. Importantly, 2017 will be the final festival for celebrated Artistic Director Piers Lane AO who over his 11 years of artistic leadership has welcomed an extraordinary number of artists and guests to the North Queensland capital for this very special event, one which now captures the eyes and ears of the world’s music leaders

A line-up of 42 extraordinary artists will perform at the event, including 13 from overseas, and three leading Australian ensembles in the Goldner String Quartet, Orava Quartet (Strings) and the Nexus Quartet (Saxophone). Four international artists will make their Australian debut at the 27th AFCM including Poul Høxbro (Flutes and Percussion) from Denmark, Italy’s Francesca Dego (Violin), Henk Neven (Baritone) from the Netherlands, and from the United Kingdom, Martin Owen (Horn).

AFCM Artistic Director designate, the highly distinguished UK pianist Kathryn Stott, joins the festival in 2017 as a performer.

Piers Lane said the 2017 program covered a wider range of music than ever before, with his signature of juxtaposing much-loved repertoire with rare and new works peppered throughout the nine days.  “Poul Høxbro will be playing medieval music on the one hand, and on the other, we shall be mounting the world premiere of a new work for string quartet by our Composer-in-Residence for 2017, Sydney-based composer Matthew Hindson, to be played by the Goldners, our Quartet-in-Residence,” he said. “We shall glory in Bach one day and be uplifted by Jake Heggie’s Pieces 9/11 the next. We shall again take the opportunity for a boat trip to Orpheus Island to view whales and stunning mid-Winter sunsets, and support and celebrate the young artists of the Winterschool on other days.”

Premier and Minister for the Arts Annastacia Palaszczuk said the Australian Festival of Chamber Music (AFCM) was a wonderful nine-day celebration of classical music that brought internationally acclaimed classical musicians, artists and music lovers from across the globe to Townsville.

“The Queensland Government is a proud supporter of the Festival, which is now in its 27th year. The Festival has established a solid international reputation as a result of its distinctive blend of chamber music, programming and experiences, all set against the natural beauty of Townsville in North Queensland. I also congratulate outgoing Artistic Director, Piers Lane AO, for his dedication and leadership during his tenure with AFCM, and I welcome Artistic Director designate and UK pianist Kathryn Scott who will bring a new energy to the role in 2018.”

The program includes six morning Concert Conversations, four Sunset Series events, two Church Concerts, the official Evening Series Program, a Concert Crawl and the Orpheus Island Experience. New to the program is the Currajong House Garden Party on Saturday 29 July, an outdoor concert with lawn games and traditional afternoon tea.

The opening night concert on July 28 is titled Beginnings and promises to be a moment in musical history. The concert marks the Festival debut of five world-leading artists and opens with some of the earliest music that can be heard live today, as well as the world premiere by Matthew Hindson mentioned earlier.  The much-loved Families’ Concert in 2017 will be Brundibár, an extraordinary 40 minute Children’s Opera about hope and justice first performed in the Theresienstadt Concentration Camp, to be directed by Madonna Davies. The Festival’s Winterschool Program has a new home for all masterclasses and concerts in the stunning St James’ Cathedral, a wonderfully inspiring venue for young emerging musicians.  The free concert in Queens Gardens is also back on the program. “I am thrilled that the Townsville City Council has agreed to co-present another free concert with Townsville’s own wonderful 1RAR Band and the Barrier Reef Orchestra performing alongside  two of Australia’s leading opera singers in Cheryl Barker AO and her partner Peter Coleman-Wright AO. In what promises to be a musical highlight, they will perform the famous Mack the Knife among other pieces,” said Piers.

To the music-makers of the AFCM 2017 ….

2017 Composer in Residence, Matthew Hindson is one of the most-performed and most-commissioned composers in the world, and is the leading Australian composer of his generation. As well as being performed by every Australian orchestra, the London Philharmonic, the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Royal Philharmonic, his music has been set by dance companies such as the San Francisco Ballet and the National Ballet of Japan.

Artists making their Australian debut are all recognised music leaders. Percussionist and flautist Poul Høxbro (Denmark) is a true pioneer in the field of music. He is appointed guest leader with the Danish Baroque orchestra Concerto Copenhagen, guest teacher at the renowned Schola Cantorum Basiliensis and an appreciated storyteller in four languages. In 2013 he was chosen as one of nine flautists from all around the world to take part in the “Magical Flutes” project at Germany’s biggest Folk and World Music Festival in Rudolstadt.

Italian violinist Francesca Dego is becoming one of the most sought after young violinists on the international scene and in 2008 was the first Italian female prizewinner since 1961 of the renowned “Paganini Competition” in Genoa. From the UK, Martin Owen is regarded as one of Europe’s leading horn players, appearing as soloist and chamber musician around the world and currently holds the position of Principal Horn at the BBC Symphony Orchestra, having previously served as Principal Horn of the Royal Philharmonic, and Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. Baritone Henk Neven from the Netherlands is one of the most exciting song interpreters of his generation. With a raft of perfromances to boast, in 2011 he received the Dutch Music Prize, the highest honour that the Netherlands Ministry of Culture awards to a classical musician. Leading the artist lineup for those who have performed on Australian soil before include Pianists Jayson Gillham (UK/Australia), Orli Shaham (USA), Kathryn Stott (UK), joined by Violinists Dimity Hall (Australia), the ever popular Jack Liebeck (UK) and Dene Olding (Australia).  The AFCM weclomes Violists Christopher Moore and Irina Morozova, both from Australia; Harpsichordist Mahan Esfahani (US/UK) in his Festival debut, Accordion artist James Crabb (Scotland/Australia) and Cellists the famed Jiří Bárta (Czech Republic), Julian Smiles (Australia) and Francis Gouton (France/Germany).

Double Bass artists Kees Boersma and Kirsty McCahon, both from Australia will attend, as will the internationally celebrated Alice Giles (Australia) on Harp, Flautist Prudence Davis (Australia), on Oboe Jeffrey Crellin (Australia), on Clarinet Philip Arkinstall (Australia), Bassoonist Jack Schiller (Australia) and on Classical Guitar Craig Ogden (UK/Australia).  International Recorder virtuoso Genevieve  Lacey (Australia), Trumpet player Tristram Williams (Australia) and award-winning percussionist, composer and director Timothy Constable (Australia) will also make the journey north, together with two Sopranos in the highly revered Cheryl Barker AO (Australia) and Melbourne-born Natalie Christie Peluso plus Baritone Peter Coleman-Wright AO (Australia).

Executive Director of the AFCM, Justin Ankus said he was thrilled to be managing the event in its 27th year. “The Australian Festival of Chamber Music is fiercely loved by artists and guests alike and it’s an honour to be involved, guiding it forward and working alongside Piers Lane in his final festival, and Kathryn Stott as she takes the artistic reins. We are fortunate to have 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: Tickets, festival passes and holiday packages go on sale to AFCM Members on Wednesday 29 March at 9am.

General Public ticket sales commence on Thursday 20 April at 9am.

Australian Festival of Chamber Music

28 July – 5 August 2017 | Townsville, North Queensland | Facebook | Twitter | #afcm17

>The Australian Festival of Chamber Music is a friendly, unique and internationally acclaimed event presenting the world’s finest chamber musicians in a 9 day program of concerts and special events. Held in the tropical winter warmth of Townsville, North Queensland, the Festival attracts the world’s finest chamber musicians to perform in a variety of combinations and venues featuring up to 3 concerts a day, and a highly entertaining program. The Festival has developed an international reputation for the quality of musicians performing and its innovative programming across a range of chamber music styles.

>AFCM principal partners include; Queensland Government through Tourism and Events Queensland and Arts Queensland, Creative Partnerships Australia and Townsville City Council.

>The multi-award winning Australian Festival of Chamber Music is recognised as a major event on the Tourism and Events Queensland calendar.

>The Queensland Government is proud to support the Australian Festival of Chamber Music through Tourism and Events Queensland as part of the It’s Live! in Queensland events calendar. Queensland, just the place to experience Australia’s best live events.

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