The seed of the Stradbroke Chamber Music Festival was planted by island resident Jani Haenke and violinist Rachel Smith, among reformers and trap tables, at a Pilates class in 2007. An idea to ask friends to join us in staging a small concert at Straddie took root, and somehow the little, low-key performance we’d envisaged grew into three concerts that first year. Our musician friends gave a lot of their time to rehearse, play the concerts and generally enjoy themselves. The audience jumped at the chance to hear energetic performances of repertoire that had been rarely (if ever) performed live on the island.
The enthusiasm was such as to propel the festival into its second year, and we were delighted as it started to gain more support. There seemed to be a clear indication from the island community, and from supporters on the mainland, that they were keen for this enterprise to continue. The response in that second year was so glowing that clearly it was not going to end there …
The Stradbroke Chamber Music Festival is now in its eleventh year (Jani, tireless promoter of the festival, died in 2009, so there was no festival that year), and remains committed to the original aims:
- to create opportunities for high-quality chamber music to be accessible to and shared with the North Stradbroke Island community
- to provide for cultural exchange, particularly between Queensland musicians, visiting musicians from interstate and overseas, and local musicians and students
- to promote, improve, develop and maintain an appreciation of the art and science of music in all its aspects by the presentation of public concerts
- to provide the opportunity for young and up-and-coming musicians to perform chamber music
- to establish a self-funding annual festival that enables world-class chamber musicians to perform in the setting of North Stradbroke Island.
We are thrilled by the surge of support from the island community, and hope we can enrich island community life in return. To find out how the festival musicians are working with school students and other young people on the island, visit the accompanying Activities for Students page.