The Quartet’s offerings include a new quartet by James Ledger, as well as works by Dean, Widmann, Mendelssohn and Shostakovich.
The Australian String Quartet has unveiled its 2018 national season, which will feature a world premiere by Australian composer James Ledger, as well as works by Dean, Widmann, Mendelssohn, Shostakovich and more. The ASQ commissioned Adelaide illustrator Chris Edser to create a series of surreal illustrations to capture the spirit of the programme, Unleash the Mind, including one that has been dubbed “the Beethoven burger” for its June/July tour.
The Australian String Quartet’s violist Stephen King. Illustration © Chris Edser, photo © Jacqui Way.
“Major works of the master composers, Mendelssohn, Beethoven, Schubert and Shostakovich headline each of our concert programmes for 2018,” said the ASQ’s second violin Francesca Hiew. “Interspersed among these milestones are a selection of audacious contributions from leading figures of the contemporary musical world.”
The ASQ, which consists of Hiew, first violin Dale Barltrop, violist Stephen King and cellist Sharon Grigoryan, begins its main season in February with a programme of Brett Dean, Philip Glass and Felix Mendelssohn. The concert pairs Glass’ 1985 String Quartet No 3, Mishima – based on music from the film of the same name – with Australian composer Brett Dean’s First String Quartet, Eclipse, originally premiered by the Auryn Quartet in their 2003/2004 concert season. The Dean and Glass will be balanced by Mendelssohn’s D Major String Quartet – the first of his Opus 44 trilogy of quartets composed for Crown Prince Oscar I of Sweden in 1838.
The second tour, in June and July, will sandwich German composer Jörg Widmann’s Jagdquartett or Hunt Quartet – which reimagines material from the first movement of Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony – between Beethoven’s first and final quartets, Op. 18, No 3 and Opus 135.
On its final national tour for the year – in September and October – the ASQ will present Schubert’s String Quartet No 13, Rosamunde and Shostakovich’s String Quartet No 10, Op. 118 alongside the world premiere performances of Australian composer James Ledger’s Second String Quartet, Transmissions, scored for quartet and electronics.
In addition to its main season, the ASQ – which is Quartet-in-Residence at the University of Adelaide, Elder Conservatorium – will tour to China and Europe as well as continuing its festivals in the Southern Grampians, Victoria and Margaret River, Western Australia, its regional and metropolitan residencies, and its recording projects. The ASQ’s 2018 will also include partnerships with UKARIA, the Port Fairy Spring Festival, Jumpgate VR and the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.
“Our season provides a journey of contrasts that will ignite the senses and provide food for thought,” said Barltrop.