Stephen King, Australian String Quartet’s violist, loves the role of the viola in the string quartet. It is both agitator and peacemaker, the push and the drag, the consonance and the dissonance, and always the meat in the sandwich.

Stephen played violin while growing up in Canberra and, after studying architecture, commenced formal viola studies in Brisbane. Following the inspiring teaching there of Elizabeth Morgan, he completed his studies in the USA with James Dunham (Cleveland Quartet), Kathy Murdock (Mendelssohn Quartet) and Michael Tree (Guarneri Quartet). Stephen holds a Doctorate in Chamber Music from the University of Maryland and has worked closely with the Emerson and Guarneri Quartets.

From 1997 Stephen was violist of the Coolidge String Quartet based in Washington D.C. As part of the Quartet he performed in venues such as Carnegie Hall, the Jerusalem Music Centre and Hong Kong’s City Hall, and at US festivals including Aspen, Tanglewood and La Jolla. While living overseas, Stephen was also Associate Principal Viola of the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra and member of the Boston Modern Orchestra Project.

Stephen returned to Australia in 2003 to join the Australian Chamber Orchestra, touring the country and the world to critical acclaim under the direction of Richard Tognetti. As the ACO’s education representative from 2004-­11, he played a major role in founding and building the Orchestra’s education and emerging artists programs and ACO2.

“I am excited about the Australian String Quartet making a long lasting positive impact on the Australian musical scene,” states Stephen. “As a violist, the repertoire and collaborative working process – getting to the core of the music – is what makes the ASQ most attractive. We are all so committed to ensuring that classical music will remain a large part of Australian culture and will keep it relevant, meaningful and vital.”