Winterschool’s chamber music expansion

Townsville Grammar School Director of Music Samuel Blanch and AFCM Executive Director Justin Ankus

The Australian Festival of Chamber Music’s (AFCM) Young Winterschool program will attract more applications than ever this year, with invitations extended to all ensemble musicians.

The Young Winterschool, previously acting as a masterclass for strings musicians only, is seeking expressions of interest from high school ensembles showcasing a range of instruments.

AFCM Executive Director Justin Ankus said the change in criteria reflected the festival as a whole.

“The change of format this year focusing not just on strings players but on other instruments and ensembles as well is really a way to try something different,” Justin said.

“Strings are quite a popular instrument so it’s normally quite easy to attract string players, but other areas like wind and brass are still there – so with our festival being all chamber music, it made sense to branch out more and explore that.

“Often people don’t come to chamber music until a bit later in their music studies, once they’ve mastered their instrument, but I believe locally students are there now and we have groups that could play in this program.”

Townsville Grammar School students have participated in the Young Winterschool program for 12 years. The school’s Director of Music, Samuel Blanch, said the program offered already talented musicians an opportunity to work with the best of the best.

“These workshops are brilliant for students to gain experience working with international and national musicians, and preparing repertoire on short notice. It is a salubrious and prestigious festival to be involved in,” Samuel said.

“Grammar graduates who participated in the Winterschool have forged very successful paths for themselves including some that have returned as part of the festival like Andrew Fong. One is at a conservatorium in Switzerland at the moment, and it’s wonderful to see students go on to further national and international tertiary music study.”

Ensemble applications for the 2018 AFCM Junior Winterschool close on 31 May, and can be found here. The Winterschool will be held throughout AFCM, with a full program of events available here.

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