Australian Festival of Chamber Music welcomes three new Directors

As 40 of the world’s best chamber musicians prepare to travel to Townsville for the famous Australian Festival of Chamber Music (AFCM) in July, Chair of the famed event Sandra Yates AO has welcomed three new Directors to the Board in Mary Jo Capps, Judy Higgins-Olsen and Timothy Kelly.

Australian Festival of Chamber Music welcomes three new Directors


“One of Australia’s most experienced arts administrators, Mary Jo Capps recently stepped down as CEO of Musica Viva after 20 years at the helm and brings a wealth of expertise and an extraordinary network in the classical music world which will strengthen the AFCM’s position as the national leader in its field,” said Ms Yates. “Two new Townsville-based Directors have also joined the Board in Judy Higgins-Olsen, General Manager of the Townsville Hospital Foundation, and Timothy Kelly, Principal of Townsville Grammar School.”

“We have farewelled longstanding Director Terry Dodd, who has retired from the Board after 14 years providing invaluable guidance and direction as this Festival has grown in musicality and appeal, and we thank him very much for his time and dedication,” she said.

“Having new Townsville-based Board and Committee members is going to be a great benefit moving forward. We are expanding the Festival’s school and community outreach activities in 2019 and are looking to raise the awareness of the Festival as an organisation that is active all year-round in Townsville, not just during our season-proper.”

The 29th Australian Festival of Chamber Music (AFCM) keeps raising the bar, and from Friday 26 July to Sunday 4 August will take over Townsville for 10 days of internationally famed music-making, enjoyed in the spectacular period of wintersun for which the region is famous. The program includes 22 concerts, five free events and four special events including an extraordinary concert on Orpheus Island and two on Magnetic Island. Always popular are the six morning Concert Conversations, the Sunset and Evening Series concerts and the inspirational Winterschool masterclasses and performances. There will be a new time and format for the entertaining Cleveland Bay Concert, now taking place on Sunday morning.

Some of the Festival’s favourite events include the Opening Night Concert, the Governor’s Gala on Saturday evening, the much-anticipated free Queens Garden Concert and Concert Conversations at The Ville where audiences can get up close and personal with the musicians. In a move that will be applauded by Australian audiences, the 2019 Composer-in-Residence is emerging talent, Brisbane-born and London-basedConnor D’Netto.World premieres by D’Netto and fellow Australian composerJessica Wells will feature.

Mary Jo Capps AM GAICD

Bachelor of Music, MA Musicology (Toronto), Doctor Visual and Performing Arts (hc Melbourne)

Mary Jo has held senior management roles in the Australian cultural industry for 40 years, beginning as Manager of the WA Symphony Orchestra after leaving her native Canada. She has played key roles in major Australian arts companies such as the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Company B Belvoir Theatre, Bangarra Dance Theatre and the Museum of Contemporary Art as well as serving on a number of business and pro bono boards. She recently stepped down after nearly 20 years as CEO of Musica Viva Australia and is now managing a portfolio of board roles and leadership consultancies with a particular focus on mentoring emerging female leaders. She was awarded the first Creative Partnerships Australia Arts Leadership Award in 2016, an honorary Doctor of Visual and Performing Arts from the University of Melbourne in 2017, and Member of the Order of Australia in 2019 in recognition of her services to the arts and to business.

Timothy Kelly

BEcon (UQ), BBus(Acc) (QUT), GDipEd, MEdSt (UQ), MACE, MACEL

Timothy Kelly commenced as the Principal of Townsville Grammar School in 2018, and prior this was Deputy Headmaster of Toowoomba Grammar School and the Head of the Business Faculty at Anglican Church Grammar School in Brisbane. Before commencing his career in education, Mr Kelly worked in banking located in Australia and the United Kingdom.

Judy Higgins-Olsen

Bachelor Sport & Exercise Science, James Cook University Townsville

Judy Higgins-Olsen works in an allied health practice assisting and treating patients, is General Manager of Townsville Fire (Women’s National Basketball League), and the current General Manager of Townsville Hospital Foundation. She is an active member of North Queensland Opera and Music Theatre and the Townsville Choral Society.