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Townsville-Gurambilbarra, QLD
26 July to 04 August 2024
Our People

Our People

Our Festival Patron

Her Excellency The Honourable Jeannette Rosita Young PSM

The Australian Festival of Chamber Music is proud to have the Governor of Queensland, Her Excellency The Honourable Jeannette Rosita Young PSM as its Patron.  

Find out more about our Festival Patron Her Excellency The Honourable Jeannette Rosita Young PSM here.

Artistic Director

Jack Liebeck

British/German violinist, director and Artistic Director Jack Liebeck, possesses “flawless technical mastery” and a “beguiling silvery tone” (BBC Music Magazine). Jack has been named as the Royal Academy of Music’s first Émile Sauret Professor of Violin. Jack’s playing embraces the worlds of elegant chamber-chic Mozart through to the impassioned mastery required to frame Brett Dean’s The Lost Art of Letter Writing. Jack’s release of Schoenberg and Brahms violin concertos with BBC Symphony Orchestra in 2020 was the May Edition ‘Recording of the Month’ and Concerto Choice Album of the Year for BBC Music Magazine. Jack’s latest album, Ysaÿe Six Sonatas, also on Orchid Classics, was released in October 2021 to high acclaim with 5-star reviews in The Times and BBC Music Magazine.

Find out more about Artistic Director Jack Liebeck here.

AFCM Pathways Program Director

Llyod van't Hoff

Lauded by Limelight Magazine for his “life-affirming music-making”, Lloyd Van’t Hoff enjoys a vibrant career as a clarinetist, chamber musician, director and educator. Having been crowned the 2015 ABC Symphony Australia Young Performer of the Year, Lloyd regularly performs as a concerto soloist and tutti player with many of Australia’s symphony orchestras. As a soloist and chamber musician he has performed at festivals throughout Australia, Canada, China, Germany, Sweden, and the USA. A passionate educator, Lloyd has taught clarinet at both Melbourne University and Yale University and held masterclasses all throughout Australia, Europe and the United States. Lloyd is a founding member of Australia’s leading young wind ensemble, Arcadia Winds and is proudly a Buffet Crampon endorsed performing artist.

Find out more about AFCM Pathways Program Director, here

Board of Directors

The Australian Festival of Chamber Music – North Queensland Limited trading as Australian Festival of Chamber Music is a company limited by guarantee. View the Company Constitution.

The board of the Australian Festival of Chamber Music operates by the principles and within the guidelines set out in the Board Charter. The board is comprised of the following members:

Mary Jo Capps AM - Chair



MusBach, MA Musicology (Toronto), Doctor VPA (hons caus. Melbourne), GAICD

Mary Jo has held senior management and mentoring roles in the Australian cultural industry for over 40 years.  After stepping down in late 2018 after nearly 20 years as CEO of Musica Viva Australia, she is now managing a portfolio of roles including executive mentor, arts executive recruitment, board directorships, government review contracts and advocacy leadership.

She was awarded the first Creative Partnerships Australia Arts Leadership Award in 2016, an honorary Doctor of Visual and Performing Arts from the University of Melbourne in 2017, and Member of the Order of Australia in 2019 in recognition of her services to the arts and to business. 

She currently serves as Chair, Peggy Glanville-Hicks Composers House Ltd and the Prelude National Residency Project as well as a Director of Australian Digital Arts and Events, member of the Festivals Advisory Board, Create NSW and an Advisory Council member of the Centre for Social Impact.

Non-Executive Director

Appointed 5 March 2019

Jane Seawright - Deputy Chair


Deputy Chair

BA. LLB (Hons), M.Bus (Marketing) FAICD

An experienced non-executive director and professional company secretary with a background as a corporate and commercial lawyer, knowledge and information professional and business development leader. She has substantial board and senior executive experience in a range of environments, including the not for profit sector, specifically in the arts, sport, mining, health and research sectors. She has advised listed and unlisted companies in corporate governance, capital raising, financing, commercial agreements and arrangements, intellectual property and commercialisation. Jane is a non-executive director of Netball Australia, a board member of Racing Queensland, a director of QCN Fibre Pty Ltd, a Cricket Australia Conduct Commissioner and was recently appointed as an inaugural Member of the National Sports Tribunal. She is a former Chair of Netball Queensland and a former director of the Residential Tenancies Authority, the Queensland Institute of Medical Research Trust and Artisan.

Non -Executive Director 

Appointed 5 May 2015

Lin Bender AM


Lin’s extensive career in the social purpose sector spans over 40 years, most recently as CEO of the Helen Macpherson Smith Trust. Prior roles include Strategic Development and Sector Representative to the Victorian Government on the Melbourne Recital Centre Project, General Manager – 3MBS FM Radio, National Marketing Manager – Australia Business Arts Foundation (Creative Partnerships Australia), and General Manager – Melbourne International Chamber Music Competition (Chamber Music Australia). Her consultancy work focuses on sustainable business models and practice that align with purpose and values. Lin was awarded a Member of the Order of Australia in 2010 for services to arts administration through executive roles and to the music community of Melbourne. She currently serves on the Boards of the University of Melbourne Humanities Foundation and Kadimah Jewish Cultural Centre.

Non-Executive Director 

Appointed 9 June 2022

Geoff Collinson

Melbourne VIC

Geoff Collinson is an Australian horn player and was the head of the brass department at the University of Melbourne. He was the principal horn with the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra from 1990 until 2000; he was also guest principal horn of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Queensland Symphony Orchestra, and the Australian Chamber Orchestra. He is the founder and one of the directors of the Melbourne International Festival of Brass.

 After 10 years as principal horn with the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra and guest principal with many other orchestras in Australia and overseas, he became a teacher and was tenured as Head of Brass at The University of Melbourne for over 6 years. Many of his former students have orchestral positions all over the world.10 years ago, the digital world provided opportunities to solve problems of geographical isolation in music education and he used this opportunity to leave his tenured position. What he learned by being a musician about overcoming his fears on the concert stage, embracing the preparation required, and how focusing on his passion for knowledge quells negative thought has taken him to this point today. The creative world and the business world intersect in so many ways and as Founder and Executive Director at he now finds himself in a unique position to help others on their musical education journey.

Non-Executive Director 

Appointed 27 April 2022

Judy Higgins-Olsen


Bachelor Sport & Exercise Science, James Cook University Townsville. 

Worked in allied health practice assisting and treating patients. Previous General Manager of Townsville Fire (Women’s National Basketball League) and previous General Manager of Townsville Hospital Foundation. Previous Board Director of North Queensland United Football Club. Active member of North Queensland Opera & Music Theatre and Townsville Choral Society. 

Non-Executive Director 

Appointed 12 November 2018

Michael Katz


B.Com (Hons)

Michael has been in the finance industry both in Australia and overseas since graduating from UNSW in 1974. Most recently he was Chairman of the board of ING Bank (Australia) from 2011 until 2020, having been appointed a Director in 2010. Prior to ING he had a distinguished career with the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) commencing in 1993 as Head of Institutional Banking. Prior to joining the CBA, Michael was an Executive Director at Morgan Stanley in Japan and Zurich and a Vice President at Citicorp Investment Bank in Geneva, Switzerland, between 1981 and 1986.  

Michael served on the Board of Musica Viva Australia from 2002 to 2016. He was Chairman from 2011 until his retirement. He also served on the Board of the Australian major Performing Arts Group (AMPAG.) In addition to his passion for music Michael spends as much time as possible in developing his Wagyu business under the brand, Koolang Wagyu Australia. He was a board member of the Australian Wagyu Association from 2009 until 2012.

Non-Executive Director

23 July 2020

Timothy Kelly


BEcon (UQ), BBus(Acc) (QUT), GDipEd, MEdSt (UQ), MACE, MACEL

Mr Kelly commenced as the Principal of Townsville Grammar School in 2018. Prior to his appointment at TGS, he was the Deputy Headmaster of Toowoomba Grammar School and the Head of the Business Faculty at Anglican Church Grammar School in Brisbane. Before commencing his career in education, Mr Kelly worked in banking located in Australia and the United Kingdom.

Non-Executive Director

Appointed 10 January 2019

Marjorie Nicholas OAM


LL. B (University of Melbourne)

Mrs Nicholas practised as a Barrister and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Victoria and the High Court of Australia in a Melbourne-based legal career spanning 39 years.  She has extensive experience in corporate governance, the not for profit sector and philanthropy.  For some 22 years she was also a managing owner/partner in a large-scale cropping and beef cattle enterprise in the NSW Southern Riverina. 

Mrs Nicholas has most recently served as a board member of Methodist Ladies’ College, Kew, Victoria (2013-18), and Howlong Country Golf Club Limited (2010-2018) and has previously held a number of other board directorships.  She chairs the MLC Foundation.

Classically trained as a pianist, singer and clarinettist, and more recently playing as a cellist with the Murray Conservatorium Orchestra and the North East Victoria Occasional String Orchestra, she maintains a keen interest in music. 

Non-Executive Director

26 November 2015

Valerie Tam


Chair Compliance, Audit and Risk Management Committee

Ms Tam has demonstrated a strong commitment to the arts sector throughout her career, including in previous roles as Chief Financial Officer for both Queensland Theatre and Opera Queensland. She earlier worked as Financial Controller of the Australian Galleries in Melbourne, and as business manager with the Jan Murphy Gallery in Brisbane – which represents both established and emerging contemporary Australian artists. She is currently an external member of audit and risk management committees of the Queensland Symphony Orchestra and a Board member of the National Portrait Gallery of Australia.

Non-Executive Director

Appointed 1 May 2024


Management Team

Ricardo Peach - Executive Director

Ricardo developed and was co-director of the Programme for Innovation in Artform Development (PAID) at the University of the Free State, partnering with the Vrystaat Arts Festival and a Founding Director of the Pan-African Creative Exchange (PACE) before he took up the position of Executive Director of AFCM, commencing in May 2021.

In his independent role he assisted as a Festival Partner Consultant for the Australian SituateArt in Festival initiative (2013-14). He has a long association with the Australia Council for the Arts, having been Acting Director of the Inter-Arts Office in 2012. At the Australia Council from 2006 to 2012, he commissioned research on arts and creative industry partnerships with QUT, instigated an MOU with UNESCO, developed the Indigenous Experimental Art Fund and the Art in Festival initiative among a range of special projects and flagship programs.

He is a huge advocate of regional arts development, having managed several large scale initiatives in South Africa. “They are complex and nuanced, but vital for establishing the cultural and economic autonomy of regional centres.”

Sheridan Helft - Marketing Manager

Sheridan Helft is based in Melbourne as our Marketing Manager, and brings a wealth of experience to our organisation. Sheridan worked in marketing management for many years with several large companies including Diners Club, Citibank and Fairfax Media. Originally from Townsville, she brought her young family back for a seachange in 2011 and spent 12 months living in Townsville, which is when she came to work for us. Now back in Melbourne (her favourite city in Australia, besides Townsville of course!), Sheridan manages all of the Festival’s national advertising and publicity, making frequent visits back to Townsville. A perfect combination she says!

Alexis Vaughan - Communications & Development Executive, Festival Operations Manager

Alexis has spent over 15 years touring exhibitions, events and festivals around Australia and overseas, most notably at the helm of ‘Titanic, the Exhibition’.  Based on Magnetic Island, Alexis is a history and arts lover who is very much at home in the tropics, having lived completely off-grid (with only her dog, her books and a fishing rod for company!) for six months when she arrived in North Queensland. Alexis looks forward to another great Festival in 2023, and to sharing the beauty of her island home and the Townsville region with our Festival Family.

John Crawford - Executive Producer

AFTER a lengthy career in classical music radio, John Crawford is now the Executive Producer of the AFCM. Crawford, who worked at the ABC for 33 years as a producer and presenter, said it is a job he thoroughly enjoys. 

During his time at the public broadcaster, Crawford presented on ABC Classic FM and specialist programs in Adelaide, Melbourne, Canberra and Sydney and later went on to be the live music director.

Angela Timbs- Philanthropy Manager

Angela is based in Brisbane and she comes with a passion for the arts and a background in communications and philanthropy program management.

As a child in regional Queensland, her love of the arts was sparked and nurtured through school-based touring programs that provided the opportunity to experience the magic of live performances. Having pursued tertiary studies in languages and art history, she lived and worked in Europe for over a decade before returning to Brisbane, where she has continued to champion access to high-quality arts experiences for all – particularly young people and those living in regional and remote areas.

Denise Kaitira - Finance Manager

Denise has worked in finance and administration for 20 years, most recently with James Cook University working in the grants management side of research projects. Denise has also had much experience working with not-for-profit entities, including 1.5 years spent in the Torres Strait helping cultural and other organisations achieve their goals. Having lived in this part of the world for about 15 years, Denise has been very aware of the importance of the AFCM to the region. Passionate about the benefits of music and the arts to the community as a whole, Denise is excited to be a part of the AFCM team.

Nick Duff - Production & Administration Assistant

Nick has worked in administration for several years and has assisted in managing arts events like the Queensland Poetry Festival. His interest in classical and art music led to performing as a chorister with several Brisbane based orchestras, and now that he is in Townsville he is looking forward to helping promote music and the arts in the region.