Welcome from the Artistic Director

Glenn Christensen

Welcome to the 2023 Mackay Chamber Music Festival! 

It’s almost unbelievable to me that this year is the fifth version of the festival! What started as a little dream has really grown wings and is starting to fly!

This year’s brilliant line-up of musicians will deliver some spectacular performances of a huge range of repertoire. I believe it’s important to program works which are relevant to the audiences of today – so we’ve programmed brilliant works by living Australian composers Anne Cawrse, Elizabeth Younan, Harry Sdraulig and Paul Stanhope, alongside classic works from Schubert, Mozart and Mendelssohn. There will be music to inspire, challenge, move, excite, and most importantly, it will leave your hearts and souls lifted.

The artists that you will hear over the weekend are absolutely at the top of their field, working with major orchestras and ensembles in Australia and overseas. You’ll get to see and hear from some familiar festival favourites, as well as some sensational newcomers to Mackay. I’m thrilled that the extraordinarily fun, quirky and inspiring Arcadia Winds are joining us this year – don’t miss your chance to hear the best wind instrumentalists in the country!

For me, the best part of this festival is the feeling of community – I get to work with amazing musicians and music lovers on and off the stage. The connections that this festival has developed through our wonderful committee, local community groups, and with our audiences is something really quite special.

It’s also so rewarding to be able to give guidance to our young (and young at heart) musicians in the Mackay region through our extensive education program. This year we’ll give masterclasses for pianists, string and wind instrumentalists, a workshop for piano teachers, rehearsal visits and workshops with the Mackay City Strings and numerous local school groups, as well as a Q&A session with our artists. 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. 

Following on from the success of live-streaming the festival in 2022, 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.

I want to thank all the incredible people who make this festival possible. The committee of the MCMF are so dedicated to ensuring this festival is a success, and I couldn’t imagine this without them – thank you! A big thank you to Isobel Gillman and the Friends of the Con – your work is crucial to the ongoing success of the Conservatorium and its students, as well as the Festival, and it’s so appreciated. A special mention must also go to Angela Turner from FinePrint for her wonderful work with designing websites, programs and advertising material (as well as playing a mean piano). Genius technician Brian Wilson at Piano Care has also donated his time and skills every year since the festival’s inception to keep the pianos in top condition and sounding amazing, so he deserves a huge thank you.

I find it so thrilling that Mackay has its own classical music festival – and it really is for the people of the Mackay region. I believe that regardless of where you live, you should have access to wonderful music and music education, so please spread the word of the festival – we love playing for you, talking with you, and spreading the joy and wonder of live music to as many people as possible!

Please enjoy the weekend’s festivities and community vibes – we’re all so thrilled to be back in Mackay!