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One of the world’s best chamber music festivals takes place in Queensland: here’s what you need to know!

Australian Festival of Chamber Music 4 mins read
One of the world's best chamber music festivals takes place in Townsville- Gurambilbarra North Queensland: here's what you need to know! n

Here’s what you need to know about one of the best chamber music festivals in the world… the first thing is that it happens in Townsville-Gurambilbarra North Queensland!


With two world premieres, the return of superstars 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 13 other artists, and more Guilty Pleasures, the Australian Festival of Chamber Music in Townsville-Gurambilbarra continues to sound extraordinary!


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 35 artists including 10 international artists, 20 Australian artists and 5 ensembles, will create the music and atmosphere for which the AFCM is famed around the world.


Here’s Artistic Director Jack Liebeck’s inside scoop on the seven events that can’t be missed this year:


1) Concert Conversations 1 with the Goldner String Quartet: Desert Island Treasure - it will be so memorable spending a morning celebrating the Goldner String Quartet in their final year as an ensemble at AFCM, with a glass of bubbly and a chat between them and their long-time collaborator Piers Lane. I am particularly excited to welcome back our former Artistic Director, the man for whom I can credit my entire connection to Australia in Piers. I know his appearance this year will be a major highlight


2) AFCM Governor's Gala: Angels, Demons and other Nasties - in this equally fun and ghoulish program we will experience some of our genre’s most memorable music, from Brett Dean's epic Voices of Angels to Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring this programme will be packed with extraordinary moments. 


3) AFCM SPECIAL EVENT Sunday Night Concert: Schubertiade - poll a classical music lover about who their favourite composer is and chances are the answer will be Franz Schubert. Here we will experience two of his greatest works, Die Schöne Müllerin and perhaps the greatest piece of chamber music ever written, the C major String Quintet.


4) AFCM Evening Concert 2: Christian-Pierre La Marca's 'Wonderful World' - An Orchestral Experience - Christian-Pierre La Marca won a Gramophone Award for his Wonderful World project/recording in 2021. This extraordinary event melds an important message about our place on the planet, with beautiful music and breathtaking imagery, here performed in a one-off format with the wonderful young string players from AYO Momentum. 


5) Ray Golding Sunset Series 4: Brothers in Love - Johannes Brahms and Robert Schumann shared much in common but perhaps the most the memorable and relatable, they both loved the same woman, Clara. In this program of works by these three composers we will gain an insight into their souls via both song and instrumental music. 


6) AFCM Evening Concert 4: Musical Transfigurations - featuring two so called tone poems, beginning with a chamber arrangement of Mahler’s 1st Symphony "Titan" for 15 players to Schoenberg Verklärte Nacht (or Transfigured Night) which will be performed in the dark, this program includes music of otherworldly beauty and expression being performed by our outstanding musicians. 


7) AFCM 2024 Closing Concert: Festival Farewell - bring your tissues as we witness the Goldner Quartet’s final performance at AFCM in a performance of Tchaikovsky's tear jerking Quartet no 1.



  1. Chamber music gets its name from the French word "chambre" meaning room. Unlike orchestral music, chamber music is designed for smaller groups of instruments, creating an intimate setting that allows each musician's contribution to be heard clearly.
  2. Chamber music originated in the courts and salons of European aristocracy during the 17th and 18th centuries. It was often performed in small, private settings for the enjoyment of a select audience.
  3. While chamber music can involve various instrument combinations, the string quartet—comprising two violins, a viola, and a cello—is one of the most popular and enduring forms. Composers like Mozart and Beethoven made significant contributions to this genre.
  4. Chamber music is often described as a "musical conversation" among the instruments. The close proximity of performers allows for nuanced communication and dynamic interplay, creating a rich and interactive musical experience.
  5. Despite the prevalence of string quartets, chamber music encompasses a wide range of instrument combinations, including woodwind quintets, brass ensembles, piano trios, and even mixed ensembles with diverse instruments like harp, guitar, and percussion.
  6. Numerous festivals around the world are dedicated exclusively to chamber music. These events bring together renowned musicians and provide a platform for emerging talents to showcase their skills, fostering a vibrant and collaborative community. The AFCM is the largest festival dedicated to chamber music in the Southern Hemisphere.
  7. Chamber music has evolved over the centuries, adapting to changes in musical styles and instruments. Baroque chamber music differs significantly from the Romantic era's emotional depth, and contemporary chamber music explores avant-garde and experimental techniques.
  8. Contemporary musicians and ensembles have embraced unconventional venues for chamber music performances. From art galleries to cafes, the genre has found new and unexpected settings, breaking away from traditional concert hall norms.
  9. The emotive and expressive qualities of chamber music make it a popular choice for film scores. Composers frequently draw on the intimacy and versatility of chamber ensembles to create memorable and evocative soundtracks for a variety of cinematic genres.
  10. Chamber music sounds better in the tropics, namely in Townsville-Gurambilbarra North Queensland 😉😉


Australian Festival of Chamber Music

26 July to 4 August 2024 in Townsville-Gurambilbarra, North Queensland

Concert tickets, Festival passes and holiday packages on sale NOW | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | #afcm


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.


AFCM principal partners include Queensland Government through Tourism and Events Queensland and Arts Queensland, and Townsville City Council. The Australian Festival of Chamber Music is supported by the Queensland Government, through Tourism and Events Queensland. The Queensland Government supports the Australian Festival of Chamber Music (AFCM) through Arts Queensland.




For media enquiries please contact Kath Rose | 0416 291 493 |

Contact details:

Kath Rose | 0416 291 493 |


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