For Francesca Hiew, the Australian String Quartet Second Violin, the Quartet has a role in nurturing future artists and audiences.

“It’s an ongoing mission,” she says, “to inspire and support other groups to play and encourage future audiences to take the time to listen.”

Francesca began to learn the violin at aged four at the Stoliarsky School of Music in Brisbane with Mark Lakirovich and, later, Emin Tagiev. At the age of nine, she travelled as a soloist and orchestral member to the USA, performing for Paul Kantor, Kurt Sassmanshaus and the late Dorothy DeLay of the Juilliard School in New York. Having completed a Bachelor of Music with Michele Walsh at the Queensland Conservatorium, Francesca continued her studies with William Hennessy at the Australian National Academy of Music (ANAM).

During her studies at both institutions Francesca won every chamber music competition available twice, all with different ensembles. In 2012 she completed an ANAM Fellowship focussing on chamber music for various string ensembles. The same year she co-founded the Auric Quartet – who have since been selected as finalists for the Asia-Pacific Chamber Music Competition and Trondheim International Chamber Music Competition and performed at Perth International Arts Festival, Melbourne Festival, Four Winds Festival and Dunkeld Festival.

Francesca has performed as a soloist with the Melbourne Chamber Orchestra, Orchestra Victoria and as part of a solo quartet with Orchestra Victoria in the Australian Ballet’s production of Brett Dean’s “Fire Music”. After winning a full-time position in the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra in 2014, Francesca joined the ASQ in 2016.

Francesca feels that the name ‘Australian String Quartet’ is more than just a title – it is also a responsibility. “As well as performing for the country,” Francesca comments, “I think it is our responsibility to develop and nurture the chamber music culture in Australia.”