Our 2018 membership opened on the first of November, thank you to all of you who have joined already. For those of you who are yet to sign up for a 2018 (or 2018/2019) membership, by joining today
(or before 12 December), you could go in the draw to win a case of wine to help celebrate the festive season! Your 2017 Membership expires on the 31st of December 2017, so please be sure to renew your membership before it is too late!
Sponsorship of our incredible line up of artists is another way to support the festival. We're busy booking artists, finalising contracts and arranging flights for them to perform next year, however your support is integral in order to get them to the festival. Contact Justin Ankus on 07 47714 144.
We still have space available to advertise in AFCM’s booking brochure and program. For just $350 +gst you can place an ad in our Festival Booking Brochure which is distributed nationally to 10,000 households in March; or place an ad in the Festival Program. Plus we have packages for ads in both starting from $650 + gst. A small investment for fantastic exposure. For more information please email
or phone 07 4771 4144.
The AFCM Team.
Image by Andrew Rankin
Where are they now? Nathan Cox - Harpsichord Tuner
A twist of fate resulted in Nathan Cox coming to this year’s AFCM with less than two weeks notice to tune for world renowned harpsichordist Mahan Esfahani. We recently caught up with Nathan to get a better understanding of what happens to the harpsichord behind the scenes before it goes on stage.
In general, what is involved in tuning a harpsichord?
Harpsichord tuning is more of an art than a science. The whole process involves making sure the harpsichord is on pitch, the temperament is set correctly, and that the octaves and unisons are in tune. Unfortunately, the audience doesn’t need a music degree to tell when something sounds bad, so usually I play a short test piece after tuning to check.
Over the two-week period how many times did the harpsichord get tuned at AFCM?
In total, the harpsichord was tuned 22 times, about 12 hours of work. But that doesn’t include the time spent consulting with Mahan, making minor adjustments to the instrument, assisting in the moving between venues, touch-up tuning at intervals, page turning for artists, sitting in on rehearsals to give feedback on balance. Many small jobs like that contribute to the whole show.
Do artists have different specific requirements?
I admit that the Harpsichord attracts strange people, so artists do have some interesting requests. For AFCM, Mahan had me remove the top three jacks from the instrument.
You worked under the guidance of harpsichordist and maker Carey Beebe, what is the best advice Carey has ever given you?
The first person you must tune is the customer. Artists like to be looked after, and watching a nervous tuner work makes them nervous too. Often, I talk with the player about what small adjustments they’d like to the instrument. It’s all about keeping the player happy.
How did you find passion for harpsichord come from?
I was a violinist throughout school, but had some basic keyboard skills. Even in year 12 I wasn’t quite sure if I wanted to study music at uni. But I did love baroque music, so I decided to try out harpsichord. In 2014 I emailed Neal Peres Da Costa (my current teacher) and he agreed to give me lessons to prepare for the audition for Sydney Conservatorium.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I finish my undergraduate on harpsichord in 2018, but I’ll plan to continue through to post grad either in Sydney or Europe. There are many fantastic places to study, Switzerland would be my goal. After that I’d love to return to home to work and perform. Maybe even another tuning trip to Townsville?
How would you describe your experience at AFCM?
I loved the variety. One day would be relaxed with only a single tuning and plenty of free time to explore Townsville and enjoy the weather. The next day would be non-stop work with rehearsals, concerts, tuning, moving. Plenty of activity to keep me on my toes.