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Townsville, Queensland.
29 July to 07 August 2022
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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

'As I enter my first year as artistic director, I take the reins of an already thriving chamber music festival and am entrusted with the challenge to nurture and grow AFCM into something bigger, and even more relevant to the region.

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.

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

Robert Dagworthy AM, RAN (Retired)

Casuarina NSW

Bob had a career in the Royal Australian Navy, which included command of the Australian Mine Warfare and Patrol Boat Force, Diplomatic appointments, project management and ship command. He has had specialist training in conflict resolution and negotiating practices. Since retirement he has served as Treasurer of an RSL sub branch and Secretary of the Tweed Regional Gallery and Margaret Olley Arts Centre. He is current Chair of Austrans Pty Ltd. In 1993 he was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia for distinguished services to the RAN and the Australian Defence Force, as Defence Adviser New Delhi. 

Non-Executive Director 

Appointed 27 February 2020

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

Professor Matthew Hindson AM


Matthew is one of the most-performed and most-commissioned composers in the world, and a leading Australian composer of his generation. As well as being performed by every Australian orchestra, the London Philharmonic, the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Royal Philharmonic among many others, Matthew’s music has been set by dance companies such as the Birmingham Royal Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, National Ballet of Japan and the Sydney Dance Company. 

Matthew is the Deputy Dean and Associate Dean (Education) at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. From 2004-2010 he was the artistic director of the Aurora Festival 

which is dedicated to the work of living composers. In 2006 Matthew was made a member of the Order of Australia (AM) for his contributions to music education and composition. From 2009-2013 Matthew was the Chair of the Music Board of the Australia Council for the Arts, and from 2013-2015, a board member of the same organisation. 

Non-Executive Director 

Appointed 23 July 2020

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

Russell Mitchell


Chair Compliance, Audit and Risk Management Committee

Russell has extensive experience in the performing arts including as General Manager of Opera Queensland (2012-2017), which followed senior management positions at NIDA (National Institute of Dramatic Art) (2004-2010), Opera Australia (1981-2003) and State Opera of South Australia.  He is a former Chairman of Belvoir Street Theatre Limited.

Non-Executive Director

Appointed 22 November 2011

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

Management Team

Dr 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!

Sue Hackett - Philanthropy Manager

Sue is no stranger to the Festival and is delighted to be returning as our first full-time Philanthropy Manager. Now based in Sydney, Sue took a short break after leaving AFCM in 2015 before returning to an old haunt, Opera Australia, where she originally cut her arts administration teeth though this time she worked as Special Events Manager for the Philanthropy Department. Prior to AFCM Sue spent many years in Europe where she had an agency based in Bologna, Italy specialised in representing creative teams in Europe, the UK and the USA. Having been immersed for decades in orchestral music, opera, theatre and artist management the lure of chamber music in a tropical festival environment has provided the perfect corollary. Passionate about the effect of the arts in regional Australia Sue believes that the intriguing story of the AFCM has many chapters still to come.

Alexis Vaughan - Communications & Development Executive

Alexis joins AFCM fresh from over a decade of touring exhibitions, events, and festivals around Australia and overseas, most recently 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 and a fishing rod for company!) for six months in 2016. Alexis looks forward to meeting the AFCM Festival family and sharing the beauty of her island home and the Townsville region during AFCM 2022!

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.

Jacqui Bekker - Production and Administration Assistant

Jacqui Bekker, our new Administration and Production Assistant, comes to us from Volunteering North Queensland, where she was the manager and operations administrator. Prior to that she worked in the media industry for over 20 years, where she gained extensive experience that will be well utilised at the AFCM.

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.