From a world premiere to rarely heard medieval music, the glory of Bach to Jake Heggie's Pieces 9/11, this year's exciting Australian Festival of Chamber Music features a world-class program of concerts, collaborations, conversations and masterclasses to be performed by the world's best chamber musicians in Townville's churches, theatres, gardens and on the stunning Orpheus Island. Tickets are on sale now (holiday packages also available).
Held from 28 July to 5 August 2017, this year's event will be the final festival for celebrated Artistic Director Piers Lane AO, who has welcomed an extraordinary number of artists and guests to Townsville over his 11 years of artistic leadership.
The 2017 program features an amazing lineup of 42 artists, including 13 from overseas and 3 leading Australian ensembles, Goldner String Quartet, Orava Quartet (Strings) and the Nexus Quartet (Saxophone).
Four international artists will also make their Australian debut, including Poul H°xbro (Flutes and Percussion) from Denmark, Italy's Francesca Dego (Violin), Henk Neven (Baritone) from the Netherlands, and from the United Kingdom, Martin Owen (Horn). Meanwhile, Australian Festival of Chamber Music Artistic Director designate, the highly distinguished UK pianist Kathryn Stott, joins this year's festival 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 H°xbro 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."
The 2017 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 29th July, an outdoor concert with lawn games and traditional afternoon tea.
The opening night concert on Friday 28th July 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 a world premiere by Matthew Hindson.
The much-loved Families' Concert in 2017 will be Brundibßr, 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 Winter School 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.
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."