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Festival Artists

Festival Artists

Double bass

Kirsty McCahon

Kirsty McCahon

Kirsty McCahon is supported by John Holmes and Kym Smith

Bass player, festival curator, presenter, educator, Ambassador and avid tree planter, Kirsty is one of Australia’s foremost double bassists. Awarded a Churchill Fellowship and a University of Melbourne Honorary Fellow for Contribution to Orchestral Music, Kirsty is a champion of Australian music, musicians, and the important, unique stories shared through the magic of music-making.

Be it the Brodsky Quartet, the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Musica Viva or ELISION, Les Talents Lyrique or L’Arpeggiata, Australian Festival of Chamber Music or L’ Orchestre Revolutionnaire et Romantique, Ukaria or Ensemble Offspring, Kirsty relishes her collaborations with extraordinary musicians  and ensembles of all styles and genres. 

Born in remote Carnarvon W.A., educated in Melbourne, Paris and Rome, Kirsty is the leading practitioner of Historical Performance Practice on the Double Bass and Violone in Australia. As the first female Principal Double Bass in the country, Kirsty held the chair of Principal Bass with the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra for 18 years, and is currently the Principal Bass with Van Diemen’s Band, Pinchgut Opera, Australian Romantic and Classical Orchestra and Bach Akademie Australia .A founding member of the Australian World Orchestra, Kirsty cherishes her work with Australia’s finest and emerging contemporary composers. Collaborating with composers, ensembles and Australian art luminaries and friends Elena Kats Chernin, David Malouf, Genevieve Lacey, Ken Unsworth, Kate Moore, Claire Edwards, Jane Sheldon, Kirsty creates a unique and diverse body of work embracing artforms.

In the tumultuous year for the Arts of 2020, Kirsty was invited to be the Co Artistic Director of the “Faces of Sydney’” Festival for the Melbourne Digital Concert Hall platform - a vital initiative helping to maintain artists livelihood and the relationships with audiences. A Moorambilla Voices Ambassador, Kirsty is passionate about education and the power of music to create social change. This transformative program speaks to the very heart of her work with children and youth with the ever more compelling imperative to bring together regional and rural Australia with the cities through the power of the Creative Arts. An Australian Youth Orchestra alumna, Kirsty tutors, mentors and the next generations of fine young musicians around the country. A firm believer in “giving back ”,Kirsty with husband Kees Boersma, created and funded the string program at Leichhardt Public School, evolving into one of the largest  music programs in an a NSW public school. 

Kirsty lives in Sydney, sharing her home and heart with a bevy of beautiful old basses, two sons taller than herself, a talented husband and a wild encroaching garden. An ardent environmentalist, her soul resides deep in the heart of this wide, brown land.