Introducing the artists of the 2018 Australian Festival of Chamber Music
TOWNSVILLE, Queensland: 27 July – 5 August 2018

The lineup of international artists making their AUSTRALIAN DEBUT at this year’s Australian Festival of Chamber Music (AFCM) is nothing short of extraordinary ….
celebrated Chinese musician and master Sheng player Wu Tong, Argentina’s acclaimed bandoneon player and composer JP Jofre, two Norwegian superstars in viola-player Lars Anders Tomter and trumpeter Tine Thing Helseth, pianist Katya Apekisheva from the UK, and the famed violinist Pavel Fischer from the Czech Republic.
And that’s just the Australian debutants!

Featuring six world and 16 Australian premieres and starring more than 35 internationally acclaimed musicians, the 2018 AFCM features a musician line-up that’s the who’s who of the world’s best sound-makers, curated under the baton of new Artistic Director, UK pianist Kathryn Stott. Stott has delivered on her promise to create a program that celebrates musicians and music from all around the world – 21 artists will make their AFCM debut, and six of these will be performing in Australia for the very first time.

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!

WU TONG – in a stunning coup, this celebrated Chinese musician and master Sheng player 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.

ISTVAN VARDIA – the celebrated Hungarian 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). He plays a 1720 Montagnana cello and also has the oldest surviving cello crafted by Antonio Stradivari made in 1673.

THE NORWEGIANS ARE COMING – DOUBLE AUSTRALIAN DEBUT COUP – described as “the giant of the Nordic viola” Lars Anders Tomter has distinguished himself as one of the world’s leading violists and he plays a Gasparo Salò da viola from 1590. Celebrated Norwegian trumpeter Tine Thing Helseth is bringing her husband Sebastian Haukås who will also perform in one piece.

CZECH MATE – 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.

AWESOME FOURSOME – THE CELLO OCTET – created by Kathryn Stott, the Cello Octet stars four visiting artists (Guy Johnston, Julian Smiles, Howard Penny and Istvan Vardai) and four young Australian musicians from ANAM (Eliza Sdraulig, Vicky Zhang, Liam Meany and Caleb Wong).

STANDOUT PREDICTION – The 2018 Composer-in-Residence is Melbourne-based Julian Yu, with Kathryn Stott predicting that his Passacaglia performed by Philadelphia-based, Australian 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. Grace 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 plays a Jean-Baptise Vuillaume violin from 1859.

FEMALE COMPOSER FOCUS – Kathryn Stott has programmed Rebecca Clarke’s dynamic Viola Sonata, while British author, Jessica Duchen has written a narrative called ‘Being Mrs. Bach’ and this strand will continue into Bach by Candlelight.

TANGO TOUCHES – there’s more than a touch of tango through the program. Of course, JP Jofre is famed for his Tango nods and in-demand soloist and chamber musician Karen Gomyo originally from Japan, 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.

AUSTRALIA’S KARIN SCHAUPP – one of the most outstanding guitarists in the world, Karin’s playing has been hailed by the German press as “so perfect, so complete, that it seems like a miracle”. She’s a world star, a Queenslander and she lives in Brisbane with her husband and two young children. She has a NEW ALBUM – Wayfaring – with Umberto Clerici and is touring nationally this year.

The 28th AFCM, will take place from Friday 27th July to Sunday 5th August, offering over 25 concerts and 5 special events, including concerts on the beach of Orpheus Island and on Magnetic Island, as well as collaborations, conversations and masterclasses. The program includes six morning Concert Conversations, five Sunset Series events, seven Evening Series concerts and Winterschool masterclasses. New to 2018 are the Cleveland Bay Supper Club Lounge Concert, the AFCM Up Late event titled The World Comes to Flinders and the Dovetailing Barber which is set to be a wonderful event at Mary Mackillop Church. Popular events include the Opening Night Concert, the Governor’s Gala titled Exotic Excursions, the free Queens Garden Concert hosted by Mairi Nicholson as well as the Families Concert and the Festival Farewell, which will feature a concert called Magical Connections.

First Time Artists to the Australian Festival of Chamber Music (*denotes also first time to Australia)
Alexander Sitkovetsky – Violin – Russia/UK Caleb Wong – Cello – Melbourne (ANAM Cellist)
Eliza Sdraulig – Cello – Melbourne (ANAM Cellist) Grace Clifford – Violin – Australia/USA (US based)
Guy Johnston – Cello – UK/London Istvan Vardai – Cello – Hungary/Berlin
Jessica Duchen – Director/Narrator – UK/London *JP Jofre – Bandoneon – Argentina/New York
Julian Bliss – Clarinet – UK/London Julian Yu – Composer in Residence – Melbourne
Karen Gomyo – Violin – Japan/Germany *Katya Apekisheva – Piano – UK/London
*Lars Anders Tomter – Viola – Norway Liam Meany – Cello – Melbourne (ANAM Cellist)
Mairi Nicolson – Host – Melbourne *Pavel Fischer – Violin\Winterschool – Czech
Siobhan Stagg – Soprano – Australia/Germany *Tine Thing Helseth – Trumpet – Norway
Tobias Breider – Viola – Sydney Vicky Zhang – Cello – Melbourne (ANAM Cellist)
*Wu Tong – Sheng – China

Returning Artists
Anne Milanovic – Conductor/Choir Master – Germany/Australia Bronia Renison – Accordionist – Townsville
Claire Edwardes – Percussion – Sydney Daniel de Borah – Piano – Brisbane
Dene Olding – Violin – Sydney Dimity Hall – Violin – Sydney
Howard Penny – Cello – Melbourne Ian Brunskill – Percussion – Townsville
Irina Morozova – Viola – Sydney Julian Smiles – Cello – Sydney
Karin Schaupp – Classical Guitar – Brisbane Kathryn Stott – Artistic Director and Piano – UK
Kees Boersma – Bass – Sydney Paul Wright – Violin – Perth
Prudence Davis – Flute – Melbourne Roderick Williams – Baritone – UK/Birmingham
Timothy Young – Piano – Melbourne Wendy Yuan – Page Turner Winterschool – Adelaide

Australian Festival of Chamber Music:
27 July – 5 August 2018 | Townsville, North Queensland
Tickets and packages at

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