PAST, PRESENT & FUTURE
The Australian Festival of Chamber Music (AFCM) has a long and treasured history, presenting its first season in Townsville-Gurambilbarra 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 celebrated it's 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-Gurambilbarra, around Australia and overseas. The natural beauty of the North Queensland region in winter, along with its friendly people, wonderfully temperate weather and tropical ambience provide 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 it until 2006, Piers Lane AO who spent 11 years as Artistic Director and Kathryn Stott who was Artistic Director from 2018 to 2021. Due to Covid-19 circumstances, the 2020 Festival was postponed to 2021 retaining Kathryn and her programming; again sadly cancelled due to Australian Covid-19 challenges. In 2022 we welcomed The Festival and our audiences back to Townsville, as well as incoming Artistic Director, UK violinist Jack Liebeck, who delivered an exciting program with even more innovations yet to come.
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 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.