An Overture to Overcome the Distance

AFCM will present an online Festival Overture on 16-18 April 2021 IMAGE CRADIT: Supplied

While the Australian Festival of Chamber Music (AFCM) will make a welcome return to North Queensland following its COVID-forced absence in 2020, organisers are retaining some of what they learned in lockdown with a virtual overture being presented this weekend.

The three-day online Festival Overture is designed to preserve AFCM’s international flavour, while whetting the appetites of Festival regulars and new-comers from Friday, ahead of the physical event in July.

In a truly international musical experience, chamber musicians and soloists from around the world are starring direct from London into the Melbourne Digital Concert Hall and then to fans across the globe.

 AFCM Artistic Director Kathryn Stott said the concept was a positive drawn from last year’s pivot into the digital space.

“Last year, in the height of coronavirus and the shutdown of live music, we presented our very first online festival. It was a wonderful opportunity to stay connected with our audiences and our musicians,” said Kathryn.

“Now in 2021 we are even more excited to present our second online festival. Overture will be a three-day digital event featuring a program of stellar music and visual delights, culminating in a nightly concert streamed from London.

“Our three evening concerts feature international artists who were to appear this year, instead, they will delight with stunning performances all the way from the VOCES8 Centre in the UK,” said AFCM’s Kathryn Stott.

The Festival Overture’s feature concerts will include:

  • Internationally-acclaimed British violinist, and incoming AFCM Artistic Director Jack Liebeck performing alongside gifted European pianist Katya Apekisheva
  • Famed UK opera and concert soprano Carolyn Sampson and Joseph Middleton, described by BBC Music Magazine as “one of the brightest stars in the world of song and Leider”; and
  • Superstar Chinese pianist Wu Qian and Russian born, London-based violinist Alexander Sitkovetsky, both revered internationally for their solo and chamber music performances, and two-thirds of the famous Sitkovetsky Trio

In a nod to the AFCM’s much loved Concert Conversation Series, each concert will have a 10-15 minute Q&A before or after the performance.

 Free morning and lunchtime concerts will also be held each day.


AFCM’s online Festival Overture will be held 16-18 April. AFCM will be held in Townsville 23 July – 1 August 2021.

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