It may not be paradise in every respect, but Townsville in mid-winter could be a reasonable approximation. The Australian Festival of Chamber Music runs in Townsville from 27 July to 5 August, so now is a good time to be planning your escape up north. This will be the 28th Festival, a remarkable achievement for what might be considered an esoteric activity. The Festival has a new Artistic Director this year: Kathryn Stott taking over from Piers Lane who was AD from 2007. Kathryn Stott will bring fresh ideas and new connections to the programming. A pianist of distinction, Stott was born in Lancashire, studied at the Yehudi Menuhin School and the Royal College of Music. Having been a prize winner at the 1978 Leeds International Piano Competition, she has enjoyed an international concert career ever since, including performances in Australia. Her recordings include a Grammy Award-winner with Yo-Yo Mar called Soul of the Tango. She and Yo-Yo Mar have performed together for over 30 years.
The Festival has 19 concerts of remarkable variety and five ‘special events’ including a concert on the beach of the aptly named Orpheus Island, another on Magnetic Island, and also a free concert in the Queen’s Park Gardens. The programming, as well as being varied, does not take itself too seriously, seeming well attuned to its circumstance, reflecting the Washington Post’s description of Stott as ‘a master of subtle emotions and telling details’.
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