Chamber music’s bright young things will go their separate ways in 2015.

The four players of the Australian String Quartet are to go their separate ways in 2015, the result of “irreconcilable artistic differences”. Australian chamber music’s brightest young things, violinists Kristian Winther and Ioana Tache will be departing the group at the end of the current season leaving the ASQ to scramble for replacements ahead of its 30th anniversary year.

Paul Clitheroe, the ASQ’s Chairman broke the news that “the current line-up will not continue beyond 2014. After careful consideration, the Board of the ASQ has appointed violist Stephen King and cellist Sharon Draper to lead the Quartet into the future,” he said.

“Of course I would have liked to have stayed but a decision’s been made,” Winther, the group’s leader, told News Limited, declining to comment on the nature of the differences. “Everyone is disappointed in the situation at the end of the day,” he said.

Draper and Tache only joined the historically unstable group this year after violinist Anne Horton and cellist Rachel Johnston chose to depart 14 months after Winther and King joined the line up. Shortly after Ioana Tache became a member of the ASQ, she and Winther became an item, going on to marry in recent months. Speaking to Limelight Winther said: “I’m totally gutted by the board’s decision and yet I stand by it and hope that the ASQ has a strong future. Ioana and I will begin playing string quartets with another line up pretty well immediately after our time is up with the ASQ in December. String quartets are the centre of our life, not merely a job; the act of playing is like breathing for us.”

Attempting to put a positive spin on the affair, Paul Clitheroe said “the ASQ’s most recent performances have been truly exceptional and despite the board’s best efforts to maintain the current line-up, it was advised that the artistic differences within the Quartet were irreconcilable”.

In a press release, ASQ Executive Director Angelina Zucco said “over the past three years first violinist Kristian Winther has captivated audiences with his virtuosic performances and his fresh and dynamic approach to string quartet repertoire,” adding that Ioana Tache “has flourished in the role of second violin”. However, there have clearly been problems and perhaps management got it wrong when Zucco said in an interview a year ago that the new line up was “about relationships… they have to be kindred spirits who live and breathe music together. We were fortunate to get a great team so soon.”

As it is, Winther and Tache will perform with the ASQ for the remainder of the year. “Kristian and Ioana’s outstanding musicianship and passion will be missed by our audiences and we wish them the best for their futures,” said Clitheroe.

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