The Australian String Quartet has announced its 2019 National Season with a program featuring brand new commissions by Australian composers Kate Moore and Nigel Westlake, alongside well-loved canon repertoire.
“Our National Season is the core of our Australian activities and the heart of what we present,” said violist Stephen King. “Each program is a small balanced cosmos in which our audiences can experience breath-taking string quartet music.”
The Australian String Quartet: Dale Barltrop, Sharon Grigoryan, Stephen King, Francesca Hiew. Photo © Jacqui Way
The season opens in February with Haydn Winkelman Sibelius, the ASQ touring a program that sets Helena Winkelman’s Papa Haydn’s Parrot – a “wildly idiosyncratic” tribute to Haydn and the birds that inspired him – alongside Haydn’s Op. 33, No 3, String Quartet, The Bird. The program’s finale will be Sibelius’ Op. 56 String Quartet, Voces Intimae.
Moore Beethoven Brahms, which tours across May and June, opens with the world premiere of a new string quartet by Kate Moore, alongside Beethoven’s Op. 18, No 4, and Brahms’ Op. 51 No 1 quartets. This will be the Third String Quartet for Moore, who won the prestigious Matthijs Vermeulen Prize last year, and it’s inspired by a fascination with the natural world.
The ASQ’s final national tour for the year, in September, will feature another world premiere, a newly commissioned work by Nigel Westlake – his Third String Quartet. The Westlake will be bookended by Charles Ives’ String Quartet No 1, From the Salvation Army, and Debussy’s String Quartet.
“The ASQ is intent on delivering a musical experience that will broaden horizons while connecting audiences ever more intimately to our music and our lives as musicians,” said violinist Dale Barltrop. “I am particularly proud of the fact that we are bringing two new Australian works to life next year, amidst an array of other fascinating works from the repertoire.”
In addition to the National Season, the ASQ will return to its regional festivals in Western Australia’s Margaret River region and Dunkeld in Victoria’s Southern Grampians, with guests including pianist Konstantin Shamray and cellist Li-Wei Qin, as well as touring to New Zealand. The quartet has also announced it will be recording and performing ten new Australian works with singer Katie Noonan, based on the poetry of Queenslander Oodgeroo Noonuccal.
In Adelaide, the ASQ will also perform as part of the Elder Conservatorium of Music’s Elder Hall Lunchtime Concert Series, the Mornings at UKARIA Series. The ASQ’s holiday workshop ASQ at Elder will also continue in 2019.
“We are so thrilled with the year we’ve planned for 2019,” said violinist Francesca Hiew. “It’s going to be big, bold, beautiful… and very busy!”