One month until Townsville sounds magnificent!
2018 Australian Festival of Chamber Music to take over Townsville: from 27 July to 5 August

Thirty-eight of the world’s best chamber musicians are preparing to travel to Townsville for the famous Australian Festival of Chamber Music. In one month the North Queensland capital will be flooded with the most magnificent sounds, from classical favourites to world premieres, over ten days of music making that is the envy of the world…

10 days, 32 events and 38 world class artists
6 artists making Australian debut
6 world premieres and 16 Austalian premieres, and 110 pieces played
19 Advanced Winterschool students
55 amazing volunteers and 1,150 volunteer hours
308,000kms travelled by artists to get to Townsville
8 pianos transported 4,524kms from Sydney to Townsville via Theme and Variations
8 cellos appearing as an octet for the first time
2 instruments never played at AFCM before – the Bandoneon and the Sheng
Some 28,000 visitor nights generated for Queensland and over 16,500 audience members!

The AFCM is famed for its musicality, wintersun, artist accessibility and warm, friendly atmosphere. Featuring six world and 16 Australian premieres, the 2018 program features a musician line-up that’s the who’s who of the world’s best sound-makers, curated by new Artistic Director, UK pianist Kathryn Stott. Twenty-one artists will make their AFCM debut, and six of these will be performing in Australia for the very first time.

And they are bringing their beloved instruments with them! Flying into Townsville alongside their acclaimed masters will be an 1859 Jean-Baptise Vuillaume violin, a famed Stradivarius made in 1703, a Ritter Viola from 1877, a 1714 David Tecchler cello and the ancient Chinese Sheng, among many others.

The 2018 Composer-in-Residence is Melbourne-based Julian Yu, with Kathryn Stott predicting that his Passacaglia performed by Philadelphia-based violinist Grace Clifford, who at just 20 years of age will be the youngest artist to ever attend the AFCM, will be a festival highlight. Quartet-in-Residence is the much loved and musically sublime Goldner String Quartet, a definite festival favourite.

Another predicted highlight is the Cello Octet, created by Stott starring four visiting musicians and four young musicians from the Australian National Academy of Music in Melbourne. “The sound of a Cello Octet is just so glorious, and this seemed like the ideal way to make it happen. Having made a couple of visits to ANAM in the past including a residency, I was very keen to involve some students. My friends from Cellophony in the UK had some beautiful arrangements already prepared and my dear friend and amazing Cellist, Giovanni Sollima, has written stunning music for this combination. It will be a wonderful experience for the eight musicians and the audience alike!” said Stott.

Tourism Industry Development Minister Kate Jones said this event would deliver ten days of music, entertainment and masterclasses for attendees. “The festival program makes the most of the spectacular coastal and island landscapes of Townsville, creating a unique tourism experience,” Ms Jones said. “The Palaszczuk Government, via Tourism and Events Queensland, is proud to support the Australian Festival of Chamber Music which features on the It’s Live! in Queensland events calendar.”

The 28th AFCM, will take place over 10 glorious days from Friday 27th July to Sunday 5th August, featuring 25 concerts and 5 special events, including extraordinary concerts on Orpheus Island and Magnetic Island, as well as collaborations, conversations and masterclasses performed by the world’s best chamber musicians in churches, theatres and gardens throughout the North Queensland city. The program includes six morning Concert Conversations, five Sunset Series events, seven Evening Series concerts and Winterschool masterclasses and performances. New to 2018 are the Cleveland Bay Supper Club Lounge Concert, the AFCM Up Late event titled The World Comes to Flinders, the Dovetailing Barber which is set to be a wonderful event at Mary Mackillop Church, and the AFCM After Party which will be held on Magnetic Island.

Good tickets are still available for most concerts, including the Festival Opening Night concert, Governor’s Gala and the popular Concert Conversations series. Holiday packages are also on sale for just a few more days.

A snapshot of the musicians and magnificent instruments of the 2018 AFCM includes:

In a stunning coup for the AFCM, celebrated Chinese musician and master Sheng player Wu Tong will make his Australian debut. He is a member of Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble, was a member of the first rock band ever to appear on Chinese television and is the fourth generation in his family to play the Sheng.

Acclaimed Czech violinist Pavel Fischer will perform at the AFCM and is also the Director of the Festival’s Winterschool music education program. He plays a Joseph Gagliano violin.

In-demand soloist and chamber musician Karen Gomyo originally from Japan, now residing in Germany, is an avid fan of Argentine tango, having performed with legendary tango pianist Pablo Ziegler. She plays a “Aurora, ex-Foulis” Stradivarius violin made in 1703.

Celebrated Norwegian trumpeter Tine Thing Helseth will make her debut in Australia. Tine is one of only a handful of trumpeters to have made a successful solo career from it. She also has her own 10 piece all-female brass ensemble, tenThing.

Rising Australian superstar, Grace Clifford, won the ABC Young Performer of the Year award, the biggest prize in Australia for classical musicians in 2014 at the age of 16, and she will be the youngest musician to perform at the AFCM. She plays a Jean-Baptise Vuillaume violin from 1859.

As a member of both the Goldner String Quartet and the Australia Ensemble@UNSW, Dimity Hall has performed, toured and recorded extensively and has appeared as soloist with the SSO and the ACO among others. She plays a Nicolo Gagliano violin.

Dene Olding is currently first violinist with the Goldner String Quartet and the Australia Ensemble@UNSW as well as Concertmaster Emeritus of the SSO and Artistic Advisor of Michael Hill International Violin Competition in NZ. Dene plays a Joseph Guarnerius violin made in 1720.

German-born Tobias Brieder is one of Australia’s most in-demand viola players in chamber music, plays internationally and is principal violist at the SSO. He plays a Ritter Viola from 1877.

Australian viola-player Irina Morozova is a foundation and current member of both the Australia Ensemble@UNSW and Goldner String Quartet and has performed in over 30 countries. She plays an AE Smith viola made in 1947.

Described as “the giant of the Nordic viola” Lars Anders Tomter from Norway has distinguished himself as one of the world’s leading violists. His repertoire embraces all major works for viola as well as new works written for him. He plays a Gasparo Salò da viola from 1590.

István Várdai from Hungary is the only cellist in the world to have won both the International Cello Competition in Geneva (2008) and the ARD Competition in Munich (2014), the two most important contests for cellists. He plays a Montagnana cello from 1720.

JP JOFRE – bandoneon player and composer and native of San Juan Argentina, “J.P.” Jofre is adored by the New York Times, and praised as one of today’s leading artists by Great Performers at Lincoln Center. His music has been recorded by 16 Grammy Winner Paquito D’ Rivera and choreographed/performed by ballet star Herman Cornejo (Principal Dancer of the American Ballet Theatre). NINE of his composed works are being performed at the AFCM in Townsville – 2 world premieres and 7 Australian premieres.

British cellist Guy Johnston won BBC Young Musician of the Year in 2000 and has since performed all over the world. Known also as an outstanding chamber musician, he is Artistic Director of the Hatfield House Chamber Music Festival. He plays a 1714 David Tecchler cello.

Australian cellist Howard Penny is currently Head of Strings at ANAM having been based in Europe for nearly 30 years. As a soloist, chamber musician, principal cello of chamber orchestras and teacher he has performed on five continents. He plays a cello by Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume from 1850.

Julian Smiles’ diverse career as a cellist combining solo, chamber music and orchestral performance reaches national and international audiences. He is a member of the Goldner String Quartet and Australia Ensemble@UNSW. He plays a Lorenzo Ventapane cello from 1827.

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