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Three times’ the charm for Jack Liebeck and the Australian Festival of Chamber Music

AFCM 3 mins read
Australian Festival of Chamber Music (AFCM) Artistic Director Jack Liebeck in Townsville

With two world premieres, the return of Stephen Johnson, Piers Lane, Roderick Williams, Lotte Betts-Dean and Brett Dean, the official farewell of the Goldner String Quartet, the Festival debut of famed cellist and conductor, Umberto Clerici, and more Guilty Pleasures, the Australian Festival of Chamber Music in Townsville-Gurambilbarra continues to sound extraordinary!


Tickets on sale now to AFCM Friends

Tickets on sale to general public on 1st March via

Imagery here


Australian Festival of Chamber Music (AFCM) Artistic Director Jack Liebeck has done it again. In his third year holding the artistic baton, he’s programmed a stunning lineup of international artists, music, conversations and deep dive discussions that take chamber music well beyond concert halls.


This year, from 26 July to 4 August, more than 32 artists including 12 international and 20 Australian artists will create the music and atmosphere in Townsville-Gurambilbarra for which the AFCM is famed for around the world.


Jack Liebeck described the highlights, saying, “I am particularly excited to welcome back our former Artistic Director, the man for whom I can credit my entire connection to Australia, Piers Lane, I know his appearance this year will be a major highlight.”  


“We will also be saying adieu to our beloved Goldner String Quartet who so movingly announced their retirement during our Festival Farewell in August 2023. The 2024 program is very much a “Goldner-fest”, I hope we will all drink to them during their Champagne Concert Conversations and bid them a wonderful farewell!”


Liebeck said after two years at the helm and watching and talking to audiences, it made him realise that AFCM fans don’t just want to experience music in a passive way, they want to understand it on a deeper level.


“Our resident musicologist Stephen Johnson was such a hit in 2023 that I have invited him to come back, his musical wisdom and insight is truly Festival enhancing. Learning what goes on behind the notes is so valuable to really gain insight into what you hear our musicians perform. Among other things, he will guide us through Ravel Piano Trio and Brahms Horn Trio as well as give us insight into what it is in music that really makes us feel something when we listen to it. It will be fascinating,” he said.


“One of my favourite AFCM inventions, Guilty Pleasures, is back again, where I invite musicians to perform their favourite piece of music – from the eclectic to the unusual. It is always wonderful, surprising and inspiring!”


“We will also feature a unique concert Wonderful World by cellist Christian-Pierre La Marca accompanied by the Australian Youth Orchestra’s Momentum ensemble, featuring breathtaking imagery of our precious earth and beautiful music that is equally as special.”


“Watch out for Musical Transfigurations in which we will experience two incredible tone poems, Mahler Symphony No 1 “Titan” and a unique performance of Schoenberg Verklärte Nachte.  There are so many highlights in my mind during this program, it will be extraordinary.”


To the two world premieres: during the Evening Concert 1 - Melodious Monday on 29 July - Stephen Johnson’s new piece, written just for the AFCM in the slightly unsettling Unquiet Sleepers, will be performed; and at the final Sunset Series concert Distant Beloved on Saturday 3 August, Roderick ‘Roddy’ Williams’ Not Yet Here will be performed by Lotte Betts-Dean with Itamar Golan on piano accompaniment. Roddy will introduce the piece himself.


Options for full Festival passes include Gold and Gold Plus subscriptions, or pick and choose concerts with a Silver or Silver Plus subscription. Three-night holiday packages are also available now .


Australian Festival of Chamber Music

26 July to 4 August in Townsville-Gurambilbarra, North Queensland

Tickets on sale 1 March 2024, and to AFCM Friends NOW

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. | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | #afcm





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