Australian Festival of Chamber Music announces three-day digital event: FESTIVAL PRELUDE: 7 to 9 August

Because nothing can stop the (chamber) music!


Just as fans of the Townsville-based Australian Festival of Chamber Music (AFCM) were readying for a 12 month wait for their favourite music experience to return, organisers have thrilled them with the announcement of Festival Prelude, a three-day online festival from August 7 to 9, with tickets on sale July 13! 

The AFCM was scheduled to be held from 31 July to 9 August in Townsville, North Queensland. It was to be the 30th anniversary of the annual musical extravaganza that attracts musicians and fans from all over the world, and the final under the artistic direction of acclaimed British pianist Kathryn Stott. It was postponed earlier this year due to COVID19, with the majority of the program and artists successfully rescheduled to the 2021 dates of 23 July to 01 August. 

“It’s been an incredibly challenging time for artists all around the world, and indeed a sad time for AFCM with the postponement of the festival for 12 months. However, we are absolutely thrilled to be able to present an online festival as a way of showcasing some of next year’s artists, providing them not only with income but the opportunity to bring us together through wonderful live music making,’’ said Artistic Director Kathryn Stott.

Festival Prelude is headlined by three feature concerts live-streamed to audiences, with thanks to a partnership with the Melbourne Digital Concert Hall. The feature concerts are supported by a program of digital content and specially-recorded performances where Kathryn Stott herself plays with some of the biggest names in chamber music including violinist Jack Liebeck (incoming AFCM Artistic Director) and baritone Roderick Williams.  Each day is hosted by Kathryn Stott with interviews, flashbacks, a daily Chamber Challenge, and a stunning celebration of Townsville and North Queensland! The three headline concerts include:

 DAY ONE: Friday 7 August, 7pm – Spring Sonata

Lloyd Van’t Hoff, one of Australia’s most vibrant young clarinettists with Kristian Chong, one of the country’s leading concert pianists in a 90-minute concert that includes a 30-minute Q&A, streamed live from the Athenaeum Theatre in Melbourne.


Ludwig van BEETHOVEN – Violin Sonata in F major, no. 5 Op. 24 “Spring Sonata” (arr. for clarinet)

Johannes BRAHMS – Sonata for Clarinet and Piano in F minor, op. 120 no. 1

Johannes BRAHMS – Three Intermezzi Op. 117, no. 1 (arr. for clarinet and piano, Paolo Gorini)

 DAY TWO: Saturday 8 August, 7pm – Dream a little Dream

Ensemble Liaison in concert! This exciting trio includes internationally acclaimed musicians David Griffiths (clarinet), Svetlana Bogosavljevic (cello) and Timothy Young (piano) and is a favourite of AFCM audiences. The 90-minute concert includes a 30-minute Q&A, live streamed from the Athenaeum Theatre in Melbourne. Audience members will have the opportunity to send in questions at the time, or ahead of the concert.


Timothy YOUNG – Fantasy Trio ‘Für ELise’

Johannes BRAHMS – Trio for Clarinet Cello and Piano in A minor, Op 114

Earl WILDE – Concert Etude n.3 ‘The Man I Love’

Igor FROLOV – Concert Fantasy on themes from Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess (arr. Ensemble Liaison)

 DAY THREE: Sunday 9 August, 4pm – An American in Paris

Nexas Quartet in concert! At the forefront of dynamic chamber music, Nexas Quartet include Michael Duke (Soprano Saxophone), Andrew Smith (Alto Saxophone), Nathan Henshaw (Tenor Saxophone) and Jay Byrnes (Baritone Saxophone), with standing ovations from thrilled audiences par for their course. The 90-minute event includes a 30-minute Q&A, live from the UNSW in Sydney.


Astor PIAZZOLLA – La Muerte del Ángel (arr. Byrnes)

George GERSHWIN – An American in Paris (arr. Byrnes)

Claude DEBUSSY – Clair de lune (arr. Byrnes)

Graciano DE LEONE – Reliquias portenas (arr. Gustavo Hunt)

Pierre-Max DUBOIS – Quatuor pour Saxophones

Jean RIVIER – Grave et Presto

Michael DUKE – Los Zapatos de Roberto

“These three concerts will be musically beautiful and will also be a wonderfully engaging experience through the Q&A sessions, which our AFCM fans will recognise as similar to the incredibly popular Concert Conversation series,” said Kathryn.

Digital tickets for Festival Prelude are just $20 with a $4 admin and 3-day Festival passes are also available. All ticket income goes directly back to the artists performing in each concert. The AFCM will not be receiving any revenue from ticket sales.

“We have partnered with Melbourne Digital Concert Hall (MDCH) to deliver Festival Prelude. MDCH have invested in high quality audio and visual equipment to ensure an optimal viewing experience by audiences, with each concert live streamed from the respective venue. Audience members can watch from anywhere around the world and we are encouraging our valued patrons, where permitted, to host their own watch parties with friends and family. Ticket holders simply need internet access to be able to view the concert at the advised start time,” said Kathryn.

Tourism Minister Kate Jones said the move to an online festival for 2020 would help promote the Australian Festival of Chamber Music and the Townsville region to a broader audience.

“Moving this event online, has the potential to promote North Queensland to millions more music fans,” Ms Jones said. “The Australian Festival of Chamber Music is a truly unique event and while this year’s program has been postponed, the decision to pivot to an online experience will ensure people can stay engaged. The Festival Prelude will help showcase the arts and the Townsville region to a wider audience and hopefully encourage more people to experience it in person in 2021.”

“Townsville is one of the most beautiful places in the world to come and visit. Because Queenslanders have done such a great job fighting COVID-19, we can now start welcoming tourists back to our state.”

“We know that thousands of Aussies are itching to get out of the house and escape winter – North Queensland is the perfect place.”

Australian Festival of Chamber Music ONLINE – Festival Prelude August 7 to 9

Tickets on sale from Monday 13th July

FULL PROGRAM and tickets available at and via

Digital ticket – single concert – $20 plus $4 admin fee)

Digital ticket – Festival pass (includes all 3 concerts) – $57 plus $8 admin fee

Note: $20 from each ticket sold goes directly back to the artists performing in each concert. AFCM isn’t receiving any revenue from ticket sales.

The Australian Festival of Chamber Music is supported by the Queensland Government through Tourism and Events Queensland and features on the It’s Live! in Queensland events calendar, worth $880m to the state’s economy in 2020.





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