Welcome from the Artistic Director

Glenn Christensen

Welcome to the 2024 Mackay Chamber Music Festival! 

The more I experience and play music, the more I realise how it has the capacity to both express what it means to be human, and also at the same time radically alter human lives and experiences. That’s what the 6th edition of the Mackay Chamber Music Festival is all about – life-changing music which expresses what words cannot!

As usual, we’ve got a fantastic line-up of musicians, including for the first time an entire chamber orchestra! Camerata – Queensland’s Chamber Orchestra is renowned for their captivating performances, inspired programming and ability to connect with their audiences. Camerata will present a thrilling “Four Seasons Reimagined”, reflecting the power and beauty of nature, in particular the ever-changing seasons in different parts of the world. Be sure to get your tickets quickly!

Our Festival Artists are some of Australia’s best musicians, and for the first time at the MCMF we welcome the trumpet! Brass lovers, be sure to come along to hear one of Australia’s finest trumpeters, Timothy Francis, astound you with his lyrical and brilliant playing. I’m particularly looking forward to the final concert of the festival – a collaboration between the Lyrebird Trio, Camerata and our Festival Artists – featuring some of the largest works we’ve ever presented at the festival.

Over the course of the past five festivals we’ve reached hundreds of students, teachers and music lovers through our ever-expanding education program, and this year we continue this trend. Local students, either as individuals or in school or community groups, will have the opportunity to participate in numerous workshops, masterclasses and rehearsals facilitated by our Festival Artists. Having Camerata in Mackay also greatly increases the festival’s educational reach, with players from the orchestra presenting specially scripted musical shows for residents of aged care facilities as well as kindergarten students. It’s vital for everyone in our society to have access to high quality arts and arts education, and I’m proud to be able to contribute to the amazing arts community in Mackay through these educational activities. 

Many of you will remember fondly the late, great, Anne Thompson. Anne was a powerful contributor to the Mackay music scene for many years, and changed the lives of countless young people (myself included) through her gift of teaching. An ardent supporter and committee member of the MCMF from its conception, Anne tragically passed away shortly before the first festival in 2018. Alongside the Thompson family, it is a great honour to launch the inaugural “Anne Thompson Memorial Scholarship”, designed to encourage and foster a love of music for local piano students, just as Anne did.

Details about all of our education activities and this scholarship are all available here on the website. 

The Australian Digital Concert Hall is back this year to ensure anyone with an internet connection can enjoy the festival’s performances. If you are one of our live audience members, you’ll get to experience the world-class performances in a world-class facility – the Central Queensland Conservatorium of Music. CQCM and CQUniversity continue their support of the Festival as major sponsors, and I can’t thank Judith Brown and all the Conservatorium staff enough for making this a possibility.

The festival performances are sure to blow you away once again, with emotionally charged performances by some of Australia’s finest musicians, and we can’t wait to share these life-changing musical moments with you!

Yours in music,