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The Australian Festival of Chamber Music (AFCM) has a long and treasured history, presenting its first season in Townsville in July 1991, the vision of former Vice Chancellor of James Cook University, Professor Ray Golding and the Festival's first Artistic Director, Theodore Kuchar.
AFCM has been an annual event on the North Queensland calendar ever since and will celebrate its 30th anniversary in 2021. The Festival was established to enhance the cultural environment of North Queensland by presenting internationally acclaimed classical musicians to audiences from Townsville, around Australia and overseas. The natural beauty of Townsville and the North Queensland region in winter, along with its friendly people, wonderfully temperate weather and tropical ambience provides a unique backdrop for the Festival's concerts and events.
The Festival has had three Artistic Directors, Theodore Kuchar who co-created the Festival and directed in until 2006, Piers Lane AO who spent 11 years as Artistic Director and current Artistic Director Kathryn Stott who took on the role in 2018. Due to Covid-19 circumstances the 2020 Festival was postponed to 2021 retaining Kathryn and her programming. In 2022 incoming Artistic Director, UK violinist Jack Liebeck, will take up the position of Artistic Director.
AFCM has developed an international reputation for its distinguished Australian and overseas based artists and innovative programming across a range of chamber music styles. The very high quality of the musicians who gather from around the world is obviously an important factor but the egalitarian and collaborative spirit is also a key ingredient. The festival is not a parade of stars, though there are stars in abundance, and on both sides of the stage the stream of concerts lifts and invigorates the spirit drawing people back year after year.