Australian Festival of Chamber Music offers an impressive and diverse 2024 program

Jack Liebeck’s third Townsville festival cements his reputation as one of its most exciting artistic directors.
AFCM. Under an outside marquee a white man with glasses and a grey suit plays a violin from behind a music stand. There are microphones on stands. Behind him are seated a female and a male violinist resting.

This year’s Australian Festival of Chamber Music (AFCM) will present 36 concerts, events, talks and masterclasses across a range of venues in Townsville-Gurambilbarra and Magnetic Island, over a 10-day period from 26 July to 4 August. The program will include more than 40 musicians and presenters, including 10 international and 20 Australian artists, as well as five ensembles.

At a time when many music events and festivals in Australia have been struggling to survive since COVID struck, followed by rising cost of living challenges, with reduced programming and many festival cancellations so far this year, AFCM appears to be thriving. It is recognised as one of the major chamber music festivals, not only in the southern hemisphere but across the globe, so ArtsHub asks what is it that makes this festival and the art form so attractive?  

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Suzannah Conway is an experienced arts administrator, having been CEO of Opera Queensland, the Brisbane Riverfestival and the Centenary of Federation celebrations for Queensland. She is a freelance arts writer and has been writing reviews and articles for over 20 years, regularly reviewing classical music, opera and musical theatre in particular for The Australian and Limelight magazine as well as other journals. Most recently she was Arts Hub's Brisbane-based Arts Feature Writer.