Next year promises to be an exciting one for the Australian String Quartet, with the 2020 season featuring new music, interesting collaborations and a fresh take on Beethoven.
“Our musical year in 2020 will be bright, bold and colourful,” said violist Stephen King. “We travel around the country to celebrate music with an array of wonderful artists, and contribute new Australian music to our cultural landscape.”
Dale Barltrop, Stephen King, Sharon Grigoryan, Francesca Hiew. Photo © Jacqui Way
The Quartet’s first national tour in May will see the ASQ joined by pianist Konstantin Shamray for the world premiere of a new work by Anne Cawrse, A Room of Her Own, reflecting on Virginia Woolf’s iconic text A Room of One’s Own and billed as “an intimate and personal exploration of what it is to be a woman composer in the 21st century.”
Cawrse’s new work will be performed alongside Bartók’s String Quartet No 4 and Dvořák’s Piano Quintet.
Intimate Letters, touring nationally in July, will also feature a world premiere, Ross Edwards’ Fourth String Quartet, alongside Janáček String Quartet No 2, from which the program takes its name, and Mozart’s Dissonance String Quartet, K.465.
In the ASQ’s final tour for the year, the ensemble celebrates the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth with the composer’s monumental late Quartet, the Opus 131 in C Sharp Minor. The work will be performed alongside Henri Dutilleux’s 1970s piece for string quartet, Ainsi la nuit.
Outside the three national tours, the ASQ will be keeping busy. As announced by Sydney Dance Company, the Quartet teams up with The National’s Bryce Dessner and SDC next year for the world premiere of a new work Rafael Bonachela, with performances in Sydney and Melbourne.
The ASQ’s Beethoven celebrations also extend to a new collaboration, Project Ludwig, which will see the ensemble team up with experience design studio Sandpit, presenting ‘choose your own adventure’ events that will pop up in Adelaide, Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney, culminating in a unique Beethoven quartet experience each time. The ASQ also performs Dessner’s Aheym alongside the first and fifth quartets from Beethoven’s Opus 18 set, in an exclusive performance at the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra in February.
The ASQ will also appear at the Perth International Arts Festival, in a multi-day project that will present the works resulting from the Quartet & Country project (music for string quartet and voice by William Barton, Lou Bennett, Deborah Cheetham, Djakapurra Munyarryun, Stephen Pigram and Ursula Yovich) alongside Beethoven’s Opus 18 quartets, and the ASQ joins the West Australian Symphony Orchestra next year for a performance of John Adams’ Absolute Jest.
The Quartet will continue the ASQ Close Quarters and Mornings at UKARIA series in 2020, as well as performing at the Dunkeld Festival of Music in Victoria, the Margaret River Weekend of Music in Western Australia, and the Dungong Weekend of Music in New South Wales.
“Our 2020 program really explores life from many musical perspectives,” said cellist Sharon Grigoryan. “We hope to enrich the days of everyone with whom we share our time.”