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Czech violinist Pavel Fischer to direct Australian Festival of Chamber Music’s famed Winterschool program

March 19, 2018

Applications now open to learn with the best chamber musicians in the world


In addition to luring the world’s leading chamber musicians to Townsville for the 2018 Australian Festival of Chamber Music (AFCM), new Artistic Director Kathryn Stott has also announced that the internationally acclaimed violinist, composer and teacher Pavel Fischer will direct the Festival’s famed Winterschool.

“I am thrilled that Pavel Fischer is the new director of the Winterschool program. Having collaborated with him on many occasions I know what an inspirational musician he is and his dedication to work with young musicians is very special,” said Artistic Director Kathryn Stott.

“The presence of such high calibre musicians from Australia and around the world in Townsville for the AFCM provides wonderful opportunities to extend coaching and mentoring to high school and emerging professional level students.  It’s just one of the elements that makes the AFCM such a special festival on the world calendar. And, for the first time, young musicians from Asia will also be able to apply. This will give Australian and international music students the opportunity to start networking out of their own country.”

Australian Festival

In addition to having Pavel Fischer direct the Winterschool, Stott has also introduced Group Sessions with guest presenters into the education program. Joining Fischer are some of the most exciting names in the industry:

  • The Goldner String Quartet (Australia) – one of Australia’s most successful Quartets
  • Julian Yu (Australia) – Composer in Residence discussing compositions
  • JP Jofre (Argentina/USA) – history of tango and the Bandoneon
  • Wu Tong (China) – the Sheng & his part in Yo Yo Ma’s Silk Road Project
  • Jessica Duchen (UK) – History of female composers
  • Pavel Fischer (Czech Republic) – Folk Music & Improvisation
  • Mairi Nicolson (Australia) – Presenter of ABC Classic FM
  • Grace Clifford (Australia/USA) – Winner of 2014 ABC Young Performer Award

Applications ae NOW OPEN for both the Junior and Advanced Winterschool program at  Students who are members of rehearsed ensembles are encouraged to apply. Ensembles can be made up of all instrumentation from duo upwards i.e String Quartet, Piano Trio, Flute Quartet, Wind Quintet.

The AFCM Winterschool runs throughout the festival (check website for specifics) and sees emerging ensembles work with some of the world’s best chamber artists. Students are offered extraordinary access to national and international artists for lessons, masterclasses, coaching and mentoring sessions.

On what students at this year’s Winterschool could expect from his leadership, Pavel Fischer said, “I aim to teach students to make music, not just read notes. Music is a lifestyle, it’s a mental as well as physical discipline and it’s a total philosophy, it’s my aim to teach students to create beautiful music from sound.”

“It’s important we teach young musicians to forget vanity, irony and competitiveness, and just enjoy the process of learning and performing. It is then that they will learn what’s most important!”


Featuring six world and 16 Australian premieres and starring more than 35 internationally acclaimed musicians, the 2018 Australian Festival of Chamber Music (AFCM) is this year under the artistic leadership of the highly distinguished UK pianist Kathryn Stott.  With an artist line-up that reads like the who’s who of the world’s best musicians, Stott has delivered on her promise to create a program that celebrates and connects musicians and music from all around the world. Twenty-one artists will make their AFCM debut, including six international artists performing in Australia for the very first time.

Those making their Australian debut include the celebrated Chinese musician and master Sheng player Wu Tong, Argentina’s JP Jofre (Bandoneon), Lars Anders Tomter (Viola) and Tine Thing Helseth (Trumpet) both from Norway, Katya Apekisheva (Piano) from the UK and Pavel Fischer. The 2018 Composer-in-Residence is Melbourne-based Julian Yu, with Stott predicting that his Passacaglia performed by Philadelphia-based violinist Grace Clifford, who at just 20 years of age will be the youngest artist to ever attend the AFCMwill be a festival highlight. Quartet-in-Residence is the much loved and musically sublime Goldner String Quartet.


Pavel Fischer was born in Zlín in 1965. He comes from a musical family background, his father, Eduard Fischer, was a well-known composer and conductor who also founded the ŠKO in Zilina. In the years between 1979-85 he completed his studies of the art of violin playing at the Prague Conservatoire, which he further continued at AMU (1985-89) under the guidance of Professor Nora Grumlíková. As a soloist he has performed with a long list of both Czech and international orchestras.

During his time at the Prague Academy of Music he concentrated intensively on the study of chamber music and in the year 1988, together with the pianist Ivo Jančik, became the outright winner of the international chamber music competition in Trapani, Italy. Also during his time at university he became, in 1989, one of the co-founders and the leader of the Škampa Quartet, a group with which he regularly gave concerts in the most famous of the world stages, including Wigmore Hall in London, Carnegie Hall, the Lincoln Center in New York and the Santory Hall in Tokyo ( the Škampa Quartet became the first in the history of Wigmore Hall to be its official resident ensemble between the years of 1994-1998 ). Pavel Fischer has worked with such excellent musicians as – Josef Suk, Jiři Bárta, D. Pecková, Melvyn Tan, Kathryn Stott, Wolfgang Holzmair, Ronald van Spaendonck, Nikolaj Demiděnko, Janine Jansen and more.

Recently Pavel has become even more dedicated to his teaching activities –  giving masterclasses both at the Royal College and the Royal Academy in London, the Concertebouw and the Quartet Academy in Amsterdam, at Chetham’s School of Music in Manchester and, in 2008, he became a violin tutor at the RNCM in Manchester and as of this year also at the Birmingham Conservatoire.

In May 2016 his first Violin Concerto premiered in České Budějovice; in January 2018 his “Temperaments” for Voice, Violin, Cello, Accordion and Strings premiered at Dvorak Hall-Prague, and in February 2018 (performed by The Pavel Haas String Quartet) his “Tales from Moravia” premiered at Elbe Philharmonie in Hamburg-Germany.

Pavel plays a Joseph Gagliano violin.

Australian Festival of Chamber Music: 27 July – 5 August 2018 | Townsville, North Queensland | Facebook | Twitter | #afcm18

AFCM principal partners include; Queensland Government through Tourism and Events Queensland and Arts Queensland, and Townsville City Council.  The multi-award winning Australian Festival of Chamber Music is recognised as a major event on the Tourism and Events Queensland calendar. The Queensland Government is proud to support the Australian Festival of Chamber Music through Tourism and Events Queensland as part of the It’s Live! in Queensland events calendar. Queensland, just the place to experience Australia’s best live events.

For more information, artists interviews or imagery, comment etc, please contact Kath Rose for the AFCM on 07 3357 9054 or 0416 291 493 or email


Kath Rose & Associates

PO Box 208 Wilston QLD 4030

P: 07 3357 9054

M: 0416 291 493

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