Brian Ritchie(Tasmania)

Musician and Festival Curator of Mona Foma

Brian Ritchie

Brian Ritchie started his musical career in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA as a busker with folk-punk pioneers Violent Femmes. The Femmes were discovered playing on the street by touring superstars The Pretenders, and were invited to do the support on that evening’s show. This led rapidly to a record deal, notoriety in the press and international touring. Over the course of the next 30 years the Femmes played more than 2000 concerts in over 40 countries.

One of the highlights of the Femmes career include their first album being the only record to be a “new entry” in the Billboard chart as a Platinum record. Concert highlights include headlining such important concert venues and festivals as Carnegie Hall, Royal Albert Hall, Woodstock ’94 (300,000 people), the first Big Day Out (with Nirvana as support) and the northernmost concert in rock history at the Magnetic North Pole with Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Brian’s radical acoustic bass guitar work put that instrument on the map and got Brian a cover story in “Bass Player” magazine. He also studied Japanese classical music on shakuhachi (bamboo flute) achieving Shihan (master) status after rigorous training. He has a parallel career on this instrument that has seen him perform in England, USA, Japan, Norway, Iceland, and at Macchu Picchu in Peru.

Brian moved to Australia in 2006 and has taken citizenship. He is currently Music Curator at David Walsh’s MONA (Museum of Old and New Art) in Tasmania. Brian is also Artistic Director of MONA FOMA (Museum of Old and New Art Festival of Music and Art). MOFO won “Best Contemporary Music Festival” in 2012 for its daring and audacious programming.

Brian has also continued his performing career as a member of modern surf-rock band The Break with three ex-Midnight Oil members and also regularly tours internationally with the Australian Chamber Orchestra.