Famed musicologist and mental health advocate Stephen Johnson leads a standout British contingent
for the 2023 Australian Festival of Chamber Music
INCLUDING both Co-Artistic Directors of the London Piano Festival!
This year 39 world-class musicians and artists will fly into the North Queensland capital for the Australian Festival of Chamber Music (AFCM) from 28 July to 6 August, including 13 internationals, 11 of whom are British. Imagery here
The British contingent is the who’s who of the chamber music world, led of course by AFCM Artistic Director himself, Jack Liebeck. They include Timothy Ridout, a BBC New Generation Artist and one of the most sought-after violists of his generation; Matthew Hunt, one of Europe's leading clarinettists; Katy Woolley who Professor of Piano at the Guildhall School and is Co-Artistic Director of London Piano Festival, and Russian-born UK pianist Katya Apekisheva who is the Artistic Director of the London Piano Festival.viola player Sally Beamish, who will attend as Composer-in-Residence; in-demand Welsh cellist Thomas Carroll, pianist Charles Owen who is
Famed international musicologist Stephen Johnson author of “” and music for mental health advocate leads a trio of commentators including acclaimed UK narrator and playwright Peter Thompson and presenter, clinician and musicologist Katherine Butler.
Of the 11, it’s the first time to the AFCM for Timothy Ridout, Matthew Hunt, Katy Woolley, Thomas Carroll, and Katherine Butler, and the first time to Australia for Stephen Johnson, Sally Beamish and Peter Thompson.
The AFCM promises to be a joyous 10-day celebration in the glorious winter sun of North Queensland in Townsville- Gurambilbarra. What’s more, guests can expect a deeper dive into the science and exploration of music this year through the AFCM Illuminates series of lectures and events.
Artistic Director, the internationally acclaimed violinist Jack Liebeck and fellow Brit said, “after talking to audiences last year, it made me realise that our audience doesn’t just want to experience music in a passive way, they want to understand it on a deeper level. With that in mind we will welcome brilliant British musicologist, composer, and presenter Stephen Johnson to Townsville this year.”
Stephen will discuss his famed book “life as a composer, author and broadcaster. In addition, Stephen’s ”, the primary focus of which is Dmitri Shostakovich’s music and how it relates to his own struggles with trauma and mental illness, as well as his Angel’s Arc is being performed in an Australian premiere, with fellow British composer Sally Beamish playing viola. See the four events Stephen Johnson is involved in here
“Building on the AFCM Illuminates lectures introduced in 2022, Stephen will guide us through the music of Messiaen, the life of a composer in discussion with our composer-in-residence Sally Beamish, and the power of the critics in the life of a piece of music,” Jack continued.
The 2023 AFCM features a stunning program of 34 concerts and special events, including five world premieres. See the full program here
Sally Beamish - Composer-in-residence
Sally Beamish was initially a viola player but in 1990 she moved to Scotland and concentrated on composition. Now she is famous and admired. While influenced by jazz to traditional music, she is always informed by the western canon. Sally continues to play her instrument (one made for her by her daughter) and has played with both the Chilingirian and Elias Quartets. She and Peter Thomson are married. See Sally’s events here
Timothy Ridout, a BBC New Generation Artist, is one of the most sought-after violists of his generation. This season he appears as soloist with the Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra, hr-Sinfonieorchester and the Odense Symphony Orchestra amongst others. Born in London in 1995, Ridout studied at the Royal Academy of Music, graduating with the Queen’s Commendation for Excellence. See Timothy’s events here
One of Europe's leading clarinettists, Matthew Hunt is a distinctive musician, renowned for the vocal quality of his playing and his ability to communicate with audiences. He is currently the Solo Clarinettist of the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, a member of the British wind ensemble ‘Orsino’, and is Professor of Chamber Music at Folkwang University in Essen. See Matthew’s events here
Writer, composer, broadcaster and translator Stephen Johnson is the author of books on Beethoven, Bruckner, Wagner and Mahler. For 14 years he presented BBC Radio 3’shere. His orchestral work was premiered in 2016 by the Moscow State Symphony Orchestra, his Clarinet Quintet had its first performance in January 2019 and his String Quartet was premiered by the Brodsky Quartet in November 2021. Stephen’s award-winning book about music and mental health, (Notting Hill), was published in May 2018. See Stephen’s events
Peter began his career as an actor and singer, and is now primarily a playwright – with over 45 radio and stage plays produced in the UK and abroad. He has also written stories and plays for children, and a book about a return to his hometown in Iran. Collaborations with his wife, composer Sally Beamish, include the text for here, commissioned by Q-CAT to raise awareness of the use of torture. This was premiered by in Birmingham in November ‘22. During the lockdown, he and Sally (viola) formed the York Road Band with guitarist Arthur Dick, giving street performances of popular songs. See Peter’s events
Katherine Butler is a Clinical Specialist in Hand Therapy with over 25 years of experience and is also a trained flautist and therefore has a practitioner's understanding of the particular challenges musicians face. Her passion is helping people with a variety of shoulder, arm, wrist, and hand conditions by using evidence-based treatment techniques. As part of the Illuminates program this year, she will outline some of the experiences and learnings she has been privileged to be part of. See Katherine’s events here
Described by The Strad as a player of ‘authority and passion, with an unerring sense of direction, full of colour and underpinned by a clear musical intelligence’, Welsh cellist Thomas Carroll launched his career when he won both Young Concert Artists Trust, London and New York. He has given critically acclaimed debut recitals at many venues and festivals across Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia and America.
Born in Moscow, into a family of musicians, Katya completed her studies at the Royal College of Music in London. She went on to be a Prizewinner of the Leeds International Piano competition and has enjoyed a career performing with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the Philharmonia Orchestra, the Moscow Philharmonic, the English Chamber Orchestra and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, working with renowned conductors such as Sir Simon Rattle, David Shallon and Alexander Lazarev and great chamber musicians like Janine Jansens, Maxim Rysanov, Jack Liebeck and Nicholas Daniel. See Katya’s events here
Australian Festival of Chamber Music
28 July to 6 August 2023 in Townsville-Gurambilbarra, North Queensland
Concert tickets, Festival passes and holiday packages on sale NOW
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AFCM principal partners include Queensland Government through Tourism and Events Queensland and Arts Queensland, and Townsville City Council. AFCM is supported by the Queensland Government, through Tourism and Events Queensland, and features on the It’s Live! In Queensland events calendar.
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