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About the Festival


For nearly 2 decades the Woodend Winter Arts Festival has brought together acclaimed Australian and international talent with the music, literary and arts community of the stunning Macedon Ranges over the June (Queen’s/King’s Birthday) long weekend. The result is a world-class showcase of vibrant, traditional and thought-provoking performances and events in the heart of one of Victoria’s best food and wine regions.

The Woodend Winter Arts Festival was the brainchild of locals Artistic Director Jacqueline Ogeil and Committee President John O’Donnell, themselves acclaimed classical musicians with international reputations. A committee was established in 2004 to organise the first Festival in 2005 and has continued each Queen’s Birthday long weekend since.

The Festival now attracts more than 5000 visitors to the Macedon Ranges, and has grown to a program of more than 30 events over the long weekend.

The Program covers classical music, jazz or world music, literary events and visual arts, educational programs for young people and a series of free community events to ensure that it remains accessible to everyone.

The Festival’s classical music program has been broadcast nationally by the ABC Classic FM and internationally by the European Broadcasting Union.

The Festival is a not-for-profit venture; it is funded entirely by ticket sales and sponsors, donors and grants, and is supported by hard-working volunteers.


Jacqueline Ogeil
Executive & Artistic Director

Dr Jacqueline Ogeil (B.Mus, B.Mus Ed, M.Mus, PhD) is an internationally respected artistic leader, performer and musicologist with over 30 years experience in education and the arts. Founder and Artistic Director of the highly acclaimed Woodend Winter Arts Festival, and Director of the baroque ensemble Accademia Arcadia (finalist for 2007 ARIA award in Classical Music) she was Executive Director of Montsalvat, Director of Duneira. and is currently Director of
Music at Braemar College.

Ogeil performs on harpsichord, organ and fortepiano, and has released twelve CDs, including re-releases of Bach’s Goldberg Variations on ABC Classics. Michael Leunig created the cover of her latest CD Il Diavolo. She is broadcast via the European Broadcasting Union, ABC Classic FM (where she has been twice featured as CD of the week) and on 3MBS. Her scholarly articles on Domenico Scarlatti have been published internationally.

A copy of a Cristofori piano (c1730) was commissioned by her and supported by Dame Elisabeth Murdoch and is the only one of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere. In 2014 she was a recipient of a Margaret Lawrence Bequest for Women in Arts Leadership, in 2015 was named by Westpac and the Financial Review as one of the 100 Women of Influence and in 2019 awarded an Australia Day Arts Ambassador Award from the Macedon Ranges Shire Council.

“In Dr. Ogeil I believe you have something of a national treasure.”
Edward L. Kottick, Professor Emeritus, School of Music, The University of Iowa. February 2008.

John O’DonnellPresident

John O’Donnell is an internationally-acclaimed conductor, keyboard virtuoso, musicologist and academic. He is Monash University Organist, Founder/Director of Ensemble Gombert, keyboard player of Capella Corelli,, Director of Music at All Saints’ East St Kilda and former Dean of Victorian College of the Arts. The music of Bach has occupied much of his life of performance and research, and he has just published an edition (the first ever) of the first version (c.1742) of The Art of Fugue. He has performed throughout Europe (21 tours) and North America (12 tours), and in 2000 his recording of Clavierübung III was named “Best Recording of the Year” in the International Record Review. Over the past 35 years he has also investigated High Renaissance performance conventions, producing editions of over 800 motets. His other obsession is Shakespeare, and he has recently completed a book on Hamlet.

Don Drummond
Coordinator: Words & Ideas Program

Don Drummond has had a career that includes teaching, lecturing in teacher education and publishing. His publishing career involved a national magazine for teachers, reading and language programs and books on politics, history, national and international affairs – including documentary histories of the Labor and Liberal parties and the pioneering book, Crash Through or Crash, on the Whitlam government. He and his wife, Sheila, organised the Words and Ideas part of the Woodend Winter Arts Festival since its foundation.

Tom Foote, Treasurer

Tom has been the Honorary Treasurer of the Festival for the past 12 years.
He has had more than 50 years’ experience in large and small accounting firms both in the United Kingdom and Australia, including 40 years as a principal. He is now semi-retired, but in addition to his Festival role, he is on the Board of a local aged care facility. He takes an active interest in all the performing arts.

Jane Monk, Committee Member

Jane is an urban planner of over thirty years’ experience including as a planner in local government, a past senior member of the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal, chair of the former Government’s Priority Development Panel, director of State Planning Services, director of Innovation and Reform, Victorian Planning Authority.

Jane is a Fellow of the Planning Institute of Australia and the Victorian Planning and Environmental Law Association. She was the 2010 recipient of VPELA’s Paul Jerome Award for outstanding Public Service and the 2021 recipient of VPELAs Richard J Evans Award for outstanding contribution to planning in Victoria.
Jane is recognised for her commitment to the professional development of the planning and allied professions.

She is a long time resident of Woodend and the Macedon Ranges and is passionate about conserving and growing it’s sense of place and community.

David Rivers, Committee Member

David holds both Bachelor and Masters degrees in Commerce. He has held a variety of operational, administrative and management roles with Shell Australia, in a number of Australian states over a 27 year period and a 3 year stint in London with Shell International Petroleum. David then joined Harvey World Travel Group Ltd. David was at the company for 13 years, the last 5 as Managing Director. David and wife Marion have a long standing interest in the arts, more especially orchestral and baroque music, ballet and theatre.

 Since moving to the Macedon Ranges in late 2013, David has been actively involved in supporting the success of the Tourism sector. David is Secretary / Treasurer of Tourism Macedon Ranges and is Vice President of the Macedon Ranges Accommodation Association.

Rohan Miller, Committee Member

Rohan has been a passionate supporter of WWAF for many years, having served on the WWAF Foundation Committee and sponsored a number of our performances in recent festivals.  Rohan is a barrister practising in employment law, and holds a Master of Laws and Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Melbourne.  Rohan is a past Chairman of the Board at Braemar College, a past State President of the Australia-Britain Society.  He and his family live at Mount Macedon.

Melanie Cook, Committee Member

Melanie is an accomplished Chief Executive and Board Member, with over 25 years’ experience working with and leading large, multifunctional teams in Australia, US and SE Asia.

Melanie strongly believes in the value of the arts to bring creativity, mindfulness and joy to individuals and communities. She recognises the need for partnering with artists, government, sponsors and the community to showcase the broad range of high quality of Australian and International talent. She is passionate about the economic and cultural importance that Woodend Winter Arts Festival brings to regional Victoria.

We pay tribute to our much-loved founding member Sheila Drummond who passed away in February 2020.

Dedicated and trained volunteers help ensure that the festival runs smoothly every year.

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