Master Sheng Player Wu Tong To Make His Australian Debut

Celebrated Chinese musician and master Sheng player Wu Tong to
make his Australian debut at the 2018 Australian Festival of Chamber Music in Townsville

In a stunning coup for Queensland, the Australian Festival of Chamber Music in Townsville will welcome celebrated Chinese musician and master Sheng player Wu Tong in his first ever Australian performance. He joins a lineup of more than 35 internationally acclaimed musicians, including 21 making their Festival debut and five like him, who will perform in this country for the first time.

Curated by new Artistic Director and highly distinguished UK pianist Kathryn Stott, the Australian Festival of Chamber Music will run from July 27 to August 5 and features six world and 16 Australian premieres.

Wu Tong is one of China’s most successful crossover musicians – he plays the Sheng which has a 3,000-year history in China and resembles a large mouth organ with a free reed and vertical pipes. He is also a member of Yo-Yo Ma’s Slik Road Ensemble and was a member of the first rock band ever to appear on Chinese television!

Wu Tong graduated from the Central Conservatory of Music in 1994 and has appeared as soloist with the New York Philharmonic, London Sinfonietta, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra. He was the 2012 Musician of the Year by New York’s China Institute. In 2013, he premiered Zhao Lin’s Duo, a double concerto written for him and Yo-Yo Ma.

Music has always been in his family, he first started playing the Sheng when he was five years old; he’s the fourth generation in his family to play. His great-grandfather, who lived during the late Qing dynasty, was the first.

On performing at the Australian Festival of Chamber Music, he said was most looking forward to playing with the other world class musicians, sharing his music and collaborating with new sounds. He said Chamber Music was positioned to become an increasingly popular form because of its smaller combinations, it’s ability to be nimble, and its openness to collaborate and take on musical adventures.

Other artists making their Australian debut at the AFCM include Argentina’s JP Jofre (Bandoneon), Lars Anders Tomter (Viola) and Tine Thing Helseth (Trumpet) both from Norway, Katya Apekisheva (Piano) from the UK, and the famed Pavel Fischer (Violin) from the Czech Republic who will perform and direct the Winterschool.

The 28th AFCM, will take place over 10 glorious days from Friday 27th July to Sunday 5th August, featuring more than 25 concerts and 5 special events, including extraordinary concerts on the beach of Orpheus Island and on Magnetic Island, as well as collaborations, conversations and masterclasses performed by the world’s best chamber musicians. 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 and the AFCM After Party which will be held on Magnetic Island.

The AFCM is famed for its musicality, wintersun, artist accessibility and friendliness.

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 (Philadelphia 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 Director – Czech Republic
Siobhan Stagg – Soprano – Australia/Germany *Tine Thing Helseth – Trumpet – Norway
Tobias Breider – Viola – Sydney Vicky Zhang – Cello – Melbourne (ANAM Cellist)
*Wu Tong – Sheng – China Townsville Guitar Orchestra

Returning Artists
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
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
Goldner String Quartet 1RAR Band
Barrier Reef Ensemble Anne Milanovic – Conductor/Choir Master – Germany/Australia
Kathryn Stott – Artistic Director and Piano – UK/Manchester

Date and Ticket Detail
Australian Festival of Chamber Music: 27 July – 5 August 2018 | Townsville, North Queensland | Facebook | Twitter | #afcm18

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