British violinist Jack Liebeck has been announced as the new Artistic Director of the Australian Festival of Chamber Music in Townsville. He succeeds Kathryn Stott, who will step down at the conclusion of the 2020 Festival.

Jack Liebeck. Photograph © Kaupo-Kikkas

“Jack Liebeck is one of the world’s great violinists and teachers. Today we are delighted to share not only news of his appointment as incoming Artistic Director of AFCM, but also to acknowledge that Jack will take up the position as the first Émile Sauret Professor of Violin at the Royal Academy of Music, which was announced in London today,” said AFCM Chair Sandra Yates.

Liebeck has expressed his excitement at taking over as Artistic Director from Stott. “As a player, I experienced seven enjoyable AFCMs during Piers Lane’s tenure, forging many links and musical friendships. Now in its 30th year, the event has proven to be one of the outstanding chamber music festivals in the world, and perhaps the largest in the Southern Hemisphere. I look forward to programming my first festival in Townsville post haste!”

Liebeck serves as the Artistic Director of his own Oxford May Music festival, a music, science and arts festival that celebrates culture and human achievements. He is also AD of Hamburg’s DESY Humboldt Science and Music Series and of Alpine Classics in Switzerland. Interested in the relationship between music and science, Liebeck’s frequent collaborators includes Brian Cox – the pair appeared with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra last year, where Liebeck gave the world premiere of Paul Dean’s A Brief History of Time, a tribute to Stephen Hawking.

As a soloist, Liebeck has worked with many of the world’s most renowned conductors and ensembles, and has enjoyed a successful recording career. His Dvořák disc on Sony saw him win the Classical Brit Young Artist of the Year in 2010.

“The Australian Festival of Chamber Music is the largest and most prestigious chamber music festival in Australia, taking place in Townsville’s stunning tropical winter in July-August for 30 years,” said AFCM Executive Director Gavin Findlay.

“Jack knows our Festival well, and we are most fortunate to have another musician of such international stature at the helm. As just the fourth Artist Director in AFCM’s stellar 30-year history, Jack is ideally placed to build on the legacy forged by Kathryn Stott, Piers Lane AO and founder Theodore Kuchar.”

The 2020 Australian Festival of Chamber Music runs from July 31 to August 9