QMusic has named Kris Stewart as its new CEO, with effect from June 14.
For the past eight years, Stewart has served as Artistic Director at Brisbane Powerhouse, during which time he oversaw 2,500 productions and more than one million tickets sold.
With Stewart at the helm, the Powerhouse boasted a 91% increase in programming local artists, reads a statement Tuesday (May 18) announcing his appointment.
At QMusic, Stewart succeeds outgoing CEO Angela Samut, who departs after two years to “pursue other challenges” and spend more time with her young family, the statement continues.
Samut and her team “did an exceptional job shepherding Bigsound through the turbulence of COVID to provide an excellent and relevant online program,” Stewart explains.
“She leaves QMusic in such a strong and well-connected place,” he continues, “and I’m coming into an organisation that’s secure and in one of the best positions it’s held.”
Stewart takes the top job at QMusic during the most challenging moment in the peak body’s recent history.
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Many eyes will be on Stewart as he steadies confidence in the safety of QMusic’s flagship Bigsound, and continues Samut’s work on a safety program for the event, set to be announced soon.
QMusic and its annual festival conference and showcase event have come in for heavy criticism following the publication of a months-long investigation in TIO in which an artist claimed she was raped following a performance at Bigsound, and that the trade body’s reporting mechanisms left much to be desired.
Following a virtual event in 2020, this year’s Bigsound returns to Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley as a physical event, taking place Sept. 7-9, less than three months after Stewart slots into the new role.
“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time at Brisbane Powerhouse but my background in festivals and major events means I’ve been hungry to get my hands dirty again and events such as Bigsound and the Queensland Music Awards take me back to what I love,” he comments.
“While QMusic is a new environment for me, its commitment to artist development, sector advocacy and supporting and promoting the incredible work that is made in Queensland feels like the perfect extension to what I’ve loved doing at Brisbane Powerhouse.”