Sharing stories about the old museum in Brisbane

The thousand violins


I’m a violinist on the Sunshine Coast.

I wondered if you have heard the story of the Thousand Violins concerts that were given in the Brisbane Exhibition Hall on the evenings of the 18th, 19th and 20th of August 1927, and broadcast live on the radio. The event made it into the overseas press, and all the Brisbane newspapers wrote glowing reviews. It was widely considered to be an amazing success. The strings were accompanied by organ and piano, and the conductor and organiser was violinist Mr Luis Amadeo Pares, a man of great spirit, who was well known in Brisbane in those days. He founded a centre of the arts called The Hall of the Muses, located approxi­mately where the supreme and district courts are in George Street today. He trained many of the student violinists for the Thousand Violins concert free of charge and the event generated enormous interest. Many had predicted that the concert wouldn’t sound good, with 1,000 young student violinists, but somehow Mr Pares achieved the impossible and the tone and intonation was said to be excellent. Actually the real number of student performers was 1,300. Luis was also president of the then newly-formed Spanish Club of Brisbane.

I think it’s important that Queensland and especially Brisbane remembers Mr Pares and all he achieved. Interestingly, for lovers of classical music, it is also of interest that the famous violinist, Fritz Kreisler, performed in the Exhibition Hall in the 1920s.


Jon O’Brien


  1. Fred O'Brien

    My mother Edith Adsett played a violin in this concert. She was 15 years old
    I have a photo of her with the violin

    • Lillian Chapman

      Hello Fred
      I understand my father played at The 1000 violins Ensemble also. Do you know if a list of those playing have been preserved. MY father was also 15 years old.
      Lillian Chapman

      • Fred O'Brien

        Hi Lillian I never thought that I would be able to find someone else …that played in this concert. You can contact me [Fred’s contact details communicated to Lillian Chapman by the editor].

  2. Alannah

    The Old Museum Concert hall was recently home to 200 young ukulele players from Qld Primary Schools. They attended for a full day workshop, then gave a performance to their parents and friends. So the hall is still primarily a space for performance and for children, which is great.

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