The ink had barely dried on the announcement that the multi-award winning and ground breaking British Brodsky Quartet had a new first violin in Gina McCormack, former leader of the Sorrel and Maggini ensembles, when they embarked on an overseas tour. So when they turned up in Sydney for the latest of the Utzon Series at the Opera House, it was indeed, as curator of the series Yarmila Alfonzetti said, the start of a new era for the group. The change was so recent that the line-up in the program photograph still showed Daniel Rowland, who joined in 2007 as their third leader and left to pursue solo opportunities earlier this month.

Brodsky Quartet The Brodsky Quartet. Photo © Duncan Matthews

The ensemble chose a program centred on the role of the fugue in the musical canon – from Bach to Beethoven via Mozart, Mendelssohn and Shostakovich – to showcase their new acquisition, who started violin lessons as a nine-year-old growing up in Cape Town. It was a shrewd choice as there is no better way to hear the individual voices of a quartet playing with and against each other.

The program started with...