After Brisbane’s snap three-day lockdown a few weeks ago, I couldn’t help but wonder if this eagerly anticipated launch concert would be going ahead. Thankfully, the stars aligned, no outbreaks occurred, and we were able to witness the beginning of a sparkling new Australian chamber group.

The new AVÉ, or Australian Vocal Ensemble, is usually comprised of Katie Noonan (soprano), Fiona Campbell (mezzo-soprano), tenor Andrew Goodwin, and baritone David Greco, all of whom are familiar faces to Australian audiences. Unfortunately, David Greco was unable to perform, but, remarkably, Andrew O’Connor flew from Sydney for the performance and learned a full 80 minutes of music in a single day – a genuinely remarkable feat of musicianship.

David Malouf, Katie Noonan, Andrew O’Connor, Fiona Campbell, Andrew Goodwin and The Hon Dame Quentin Bryce. Photograph supplied

Although there’d been a minor PR kerfuffle in the lead-up (AVÉ was referred to as “Australia’s only professional classical vocal quartet” – it’s not), this genuinely is a supergroup of Australian vocal talent. It’s appropriate, then, that one of the aims of AVÉ is to “champion new Australian works on...