Australian Festival of Chamber Music 2015

  • © Australian Festival of Chamber Music Andrew Rankin
  • © Australian Festival of Chamber Music

Australian Festival of Chamber Music celebrates 25 years with legendary musicians

The legendary pianist Piotr Anderszewski will headline the 25th Anniversary of Queensland’s famed Australian Festival of Chamber Music (AFCM) alongside a great line-up of international musicians and Australia’s finest performers to mark the celebrations in Townsville.

Staged between 31 July and 8 August 2015, AFCM will see acclaimed Australian pianist Piers Lane AO return for his ninth year as the Festival’s Artistic Director, curating another innovative program which will include tributes to the late Peter Sculthorpe, world premieres of three new works, outstanding Australian and internationally acclaimed musicians, and even comedic performances.

A free 25th Anniversary Celebration Concert – The 1812! will be staged for the people of Townsville in the Queens Gardens and two Concert Crawl roving events, as well as a Long Table Lunch on the waterfront, will provide special anniversary experiences for visitors and locals.

Over the past quarter of a century, the internationally renowned festival has cultivated a reputation for delivering brilliant performances by world-class artists, each year building on the success of previous seasons and becoming a ‘must-attend’ event for both audiences and artists alike.

Artists returning to celebrate this special year will be:

Michael Collins, Nicholas Daniel, Amy Dickson, the Goldner String Quartet (now officially ‘Quartet-in-Residence’), David Harding, Louise Hopkins, Jack Liebeck, Lorna McGhee, Neal Peres da Costa, Li-Wei Qin, the Australian Brass Quintet including Ben Jacks and Tristram Williams, Timothy Constable, David Selig, the Camerata of St John’s, Tamara-Anna Cislowska, William Barton, Michele Walsh and Matthew Wilkie.

Artists new to the Festival this year include Hartmut Rohde, James Crabb, Ike See, Rohan Dasika, Eugene Ughetti, Ben Martin, the Orava String Quartet and soprano Valda Wilson. Rainer Hersch, the British classical music comic, and Gerry Connolly, the Australian one, will be adding their humour to proceedings.

Three world premieres from the composers Elena Kats-Chernin, David Sampson and Townsville-born Robert Keane will be another cause for celebration.

Composers with anniversaries flavour the programming, and this year will see the works of Sergei Taneyev (1856-1915), Alexander Glazunov (1865-1936), Carl Nielsen (1865-1931) and Jean Sibelius (1865-1957) brought to life.

“Reaching this milestone is an exceptional achievement for the Australian Festival of Chamber Music. I look forward to celebrating the deep sense of community that has been fostered by the festival over the past 25 years, while also looking ahead to another 25 years of showcasing top-tier artists and their magnificent performances in Townsville – the birthplace of the AFCM,” said AFCM Artistic Director, Piers Lane AO.

Also joining the Anniversary celebrations will be the Festival’s founding artistic director, Ukranian-American conductor and viola player Theodore (Ted) Kuchar who was with the festival until 2006 and will be warmly welcomed back.

The much-loved signature series Concert Conversations, hosted by Piers over six mornings, will give audiences the rare opportunity for an extended chat with the legendary Piotr Anderszewski, and with Theodore Kuchar as well as Louise Hopkins, Jack Liebeck, Rainer Hersch, Benjamin Martin, Nicholas Daniel, Hartmut Rohde, Ike See, Rohan Dasika, soprano Valda Wilson, composer David Sampson, and many others from the Festival program.

The Concert Crawl simultaneously made its program debut and became crowd favourite in 2014, and returns with two versions in 2015, an evening version and a daytime one. The audience will be divided into groups that move between venues while enjoying a glass of wine and refreshments or afternoon tea accompanied by musicians performing varied styles of music.

As part of the 25th Anniversary celebrations, visitors will be given the chance to take in one of Townsville’s greatest assets, The Strand. A first-time Long Table Lunch will allow guests to enjoy a sociable and relaxed outdoor dining experience under the palms looking over the Coral Sea to Magnetic Island, accompanied by the charming sounds of classical music.

Now in her fifth year as General Manager of the AFCM, Sue Hackett is excited about celebrating the Festival’s silver anniversary with those who have built the AFCM into what it is today, along with those who are new to the festival experience.

“There have been so many people involved in AFCM over the years – from musicians and audiences, to organisers and volunteers – and we are all thrilled to host such a special occasion. We are also excited about welcoming newcomers into the mix and look forward to continuing to develop a festival that is internationally recognised as one of the best in the world,” she said.

Tickets go on sale to AFCM Members on Wednesday 18 March, along with Festival holiday packages. General Public ticket sales commence on Monday 13 April.

AFCM principal partners include; the Federal Government, Australia Council for the Arts, Queensland Government through Tourism and Events Queensland and Arts Queensland, with additional Arts Queensland support for the appearances of Piotr Anderszewski, 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.

Australian Festival of Chamber Music | 31 July – 8 August 2015 | Townsville, North Queensland | Facebook | Twitter | #afcm15

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