26/07 — 04/08/2019
July E-newsletter
 Let Creations begin
We can almost count the hours now until the auditorium goes quiet and the first musicians walk out onto the stage to open the 29th Australian Festival of Chamber Music. This year those musicians will be two Aussie expats - mezzo-soprano Lotte Betts-Dean and pianist Aura Go. Opening Night is going to be spectacular and will introduce you to 23 of our extraordinarily talented musicians. Mind you, we think every concert in this year’s Festival will be spectacular, so hold onto your hats folks, it’s going to be epic!
In other news, we were devastated to hear two of our artists have had to withdraw from the Festival due to injury. Timothy Constable and Christopher Moore will sadly not be joining us here in Townsville. We hope they both make a quick recovery, and in the meantime are thrilled that Sydney based Robert Oetomo will fill the role of percussionist at this year’s Festival and Orava Quartet violist Thomas Chawney will step in for Christopher Moore. Read more about these two talented musicians below…and boy are we grateful they could make it!
Most of our forty musicians have arrived into Townsville or will arrive today. They all start rehearsing tomorrow. It’s pretty amazing when you think they only get two days to rehearse with their fellow musicians before we open. But that’s what makes this Festival so unique…and the performances so magical and spontaneous!
Remember, if you are dining at the Civic Theatre and wish to avoid the queues, book your Theatre Forecourt Dining between Sunset Series and Evening Series today! Order Now.
Of course, the weather here is magical too and there is so much happening in Townsville this next two weeks so do be sure to get out and about while you are here. The sculpture festival, Strand Ephemera, also opens this Friday and the North Arts Festival of Australia has loads of great events happening around town too.
It really is paradise. See you in 3 days time!
Warm regards,
The AFCM Team. 

 Robert Oetomo
Robert Oetomo has thankfully stepped in as the replacement for Timothy Constable. We were lucky enough to catch up with Robert as he was preparing to travel to Townsville. 
Q. 1. How and when did you first start playing percussion? 
I am one of those late starters and yes, the stereotype of "go to the back of the orchestra and hit the triangle (literally)" is how I started playing percussion. I wanted to do the Composition degree at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music after leaving high school, but was not successful in my audition. So I rang up all the conservatoriums in Australia to see which accepted late applications, and the Tasmanian Conservatorium of Music was the only one. So I went down to Tassie straight after high school to do one year of Composition there, and that's when it all began. The orchestra did Shostakovich Symphony No. 9 and was short one percussionist. The conductor at the time, Gary Wain (Principal Percussion of the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, who then became my first percussion teacher) saw me perform my own piece for 2 drum kits at a Composition Department concert, and asked if I'd like to play percussion in the Conservatorium’s symphony orchestra. I wasn't able to read notes back then as I was mainly a drummer (a kit player); I've always learnt things by ear. So I was given the triangle part of Shostakovich's Symphony No. 9 and made my debut as a percussionist at the age of 18. The rest is history.
Q. 2. Do you have a favourite percussion instrument?
The best piece of advice I got from one of my percussion teachers was "be open". So always keeping that in mind, I don't really have a "favourite" instrument per se. There are so many forms of how percussion can fit in a performance; in a solo setting, chamber music setting (with other instrumentalists), orchestral setting, art installations etc. It really all depends on what the setting is! However, one of the first instruments that my parents gave me was the marimba. I tend to have a natural gravitation towards the marimba as my background is also a pianist. But I love playing crash cymbals, triangle and most colouristic instruments in an orchestral setting. I also love playing drums too. Playing Xenakis is really one the most satisfying and fun experiences that I've ever had as a percussionist.
Q3. You’ve had to jump in at the last minute – thank you! How are you preparing for your performances?
Since I am away from my studio a lot these days, I am not able to have instruments to practise on. Most of my practise actually has been listening and score reading. So when I do get on an instrument, I really know what I need to hit. But I have to say that it's really a huge pleasure and honour for me to be involved in the 2019 AFCM! I love Townsville - I was here in 2011 for the Australian Concerto and Vocal Competition.
Q4. What piece are you particular looking forward to performing at AFCM?
It's a tricky question! I have enjoyed preparing all the music for the 2019 AFCM! Kathy has really chosen such a huge spectrum of music for percussion which is awesome! It's very rewarding musically for me, and I hope for my chamber music colleagues and the audience as well.
Q5. What do you like to do outside of music?
Fortunately, music consumes most of my life but when I do have spare time, I collect die cast models of aeroplanes. I'd like to expand my collection of die cast aeroplane models actually, as I haven't had much time to do so in a while.  
Maggie Pang 
  Composer Chat - tonight
If you are in Townsville tonight, come and join emerging pianist, Australian National Academy of Music student and AFCM’s official page turner Maggie Pang for an informative chat about Janacek and Rachmaninoff, two of the great composers to be heard at this year’s Festival. Maggie will share insights into the unique sound world of each composer and even play some of the pieces on piano. Guaranteed to entertain and educate. This is a FREE EVENT.
No booking required. Tuesday 23 July, 7:00pm Perc Tucker Regional Gallery  
Thomas Chawner
To the rescue!
No stranger to the Festival, having debuted in 2014 and performed here in 2015 and 2017, we called upon Thomas Chawner following an accident with Christopher Moore last Friday. 
As a founding member of the Orava Quartet, we were ecstatic that Thomas was available and willing to make a last minute dash to the Festival.  Not to mention jump into a rather hectic rehearsal schedule.Thomas will be performing in 6 concerts across the Festival from Opening night to Concert Conversations on Wednesday 31 July.  
The Myf Warhurst ABC Radio Program
Live in Townsville 
Much-loved Australian TV and radio host Myf Warhurst is in Townville this week broadcasting her ABC Radio program. On Thursday 25 July she will be in the ABC studios but on Friday 26 July she will be outside broadcasting from The Strand. So come down and be her live audience from 12.30pm to 2pm at the headland in front of the Picnic Bay Surf Life Saving Club (southern end of Strand Park). Myf will be chatting to a bunch of Festival musicians and the young A.S.H. Trio will even perform. For those not in Townsville, tune in on your local ABC Radio station. 
David Malouf this Sunday
at Mary Who? Bookshop
Mary Who? Bookshop is honoured to announce that award winning author and poet, David Malouf, will be visiting the shop at 1pm Sunday July 28th. He will be reading from his latest book of poems, An Open Book, and everyone is invited to come along and hear him. As one of Australia’s greatest living poets, Malouf continues to meditate and reflect on themes of mortality and memory. "The poems in An Open Book are attentive and evocative, vital and beautiful, revisiting and reimagining some of the key themes that have resonated with readers over his impressive career." (UGP)
Concert Host, Christopher Lawrence
Meet Christopher Lawrence at Mary Who? Bookshop on Friday 26th July at 4pm, prior to Opening Night. Music lovers and readers of fine literature will have the chance to meet this year's Festival host Christopher Lawrence, whose books explore the junction of live, love and music. Christopher will talk about life in music, what classical music still offers to contemporary audiences - and (of course) his expectations of this year's Festival.
Winterschool Pop Ups at Strand Ephemera
As part of our community engagement, our Advanced Winterschool Students will be performing at the Gregory St Amphitheatre on Sunday 28th, Monday 29th July and Thursday 1st August at 6pm as part of Strand Ephemera. 
This year Winterschool Director Pavel Fischer would like to build performance stamina, increasing the performance schedule of each of the Advanced Winterschool Students.  Not to be missed!  
Theatre Catering & Pre Show Dining
A Touch of Salt and Jam are back with their special pre theatre dining options again this year.
Plus the owners of Jam have opened another restaurant just metres away, called Bridgewater.
Set on the water overlooking Castle Hill and the city, Bridgewater will be offering pre theatre dining from 5.30pm.
To see the menu in detail, head over to our website or click the link below
For our WA Friends - Javier Perianes 
The next best thing to being here at AFCM, if you’re in Perth that is, is to attend a WASO concert! Spanish pianist Javier Perianes returns to the West Australian Symphony Orchestra following his acclaimed 2016 debut. His poetic sensibility makes him the perfect pianist for Beethoven’s Fourth Piano Concerto. Simone Young turns her insightful musicianship to Bruckner’s Sixth Symphony, the most original of all his symphonic works. Fri 2 & Sat 3 August 7.30pm, Perth Concert Hall.   
Up Late at Heritage Exchange 
AFCM Up Late is back again this year after an amazing performance in 2018. 

Head to the the garden bar at the Heritage Exchange Bar on Flinders Street on Friday 2nd August at 10pm to hear Lotte Betts-Dean, Charles Owen , Ruth Hall, Yura Lee and Amy Dickson perform what can only be described as world first collaborations.
The event has been designed to showcase the diverse skills of AFCM’s international world-class musicians.
Theme & Variations
This year we are proud to announce the AFCM PIANO SALE hosted by our Festival Partner Theme & Variations Piano Services.
Book your appointment with Australia’s leading piano concert technician Ara Vartoukian OAM for a personalised consultation.
Choose from variety of upright and grand pianos to suit all budgets and playing levels Don’t miss your chance to own an inspiriting piano and take home a piece of the festival. 


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