Brisbane’s Annual 4MBS Festival of Classics Celebrates its 20th Year

enadmin, 4th February 2013

4 May - 2 June, 2013 Australia’s Largest Classical Music Festival

2013 marks an important milestone for Brisbane radio station 4MBS Classic FM as its beloved annual 4MBS Festival of Classics turns 20.

With 26 concerts over four weeks in 14 venues across Brisbane, the festival will draw together orchestras, choirs, small ensembles and soloists to the cause - over 600 musicians - making it Australia’s largest classical music festival.

General Manager Gary Thorpe OAM, Artistic Director of the festival since its inception in 1993, said, “It’s been an extraordinary experience to see the growth of the 4MBS Festival of Classics over the last 20 years, to the point where it provides an important platform for local classical musicians and performers.”

“There is such a depth of talent in Brisbane and this festival provides them with performance opportunities that few other festivals do. It’s been a launching pad for several young performers who’ve gone on to achieve national and international success in such prestigious venues as La Scala, Covent Garden and the Sydney Opera House.”

Highlights of the 20th festival include a grand performance of Carl Orff's exciting twentieth century choral classic Carmina Burana. For a twist, it will feature the Queensland Choir with two grand pianos and a large percussion section rather than orchestra – known to be Orff’s favourite version. Carmina Burana will launch the festival on Saturday 4 May at 8pm in the Old Museum.

Beethoven fans will love the Beethoven Piano Marathon in which 20 of his works  including his most popular piano sonatas, 'The Moonlight', 'The Pathetique' and more will be performed all in the one day by a stellar cast of Brisbane’s pianists, Natasha Vlassenko, Helen Lam-Winther, Alex Raineri, Pamela Page, Max Olding, Stephen Emmerson and more. The marathon will run from 10am to 7pm on Sunday 5 May in Queensland Conservatorium’s Ian Hanger Recital Hall.

Celebrating the 200th anniversary of the birth of Italian Romantic composer Giuseppe Verdi will be a grand performance of the Verdi Requiem starring internationally renowned Brisbane singers Rosario La Spina, Jacqueline Mabardi, Georgia Hawes and David Wakeham. Considered to be one of the most dramatic works in the classical music repertoire, it will feature the Brisbane Chorale and the Brisbane Symphony Orchestra, in the newly refurbished Brisbane City Hall, Sunday 26 May at 3pm.

There are many more events – big and small – to mark the 20th annual 4MBS Festival of Classics, which continues to provide access to the great classics at very affordable prices. For more information, phone Gary Thorpe on (07) 3847 1717 or email.

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In this installment of our series on community broadcasters that organise music festivals we spoke to Queensland station 4MBS on their Festival of Classics, now in its 30th year. It has grown massively since its inception, from a single weekend to a format that now spans a month.


Silver Memories' Gary Thorpe OAM named one of Pro Bono's 2022 most inspiring and influential people working for social change


Howard Ainsworth (19 October 1931 - 6 September 2015) was the voice of classical music in Brisbane for 50 years.