ASQ in Italy

ASQ violinist Dale Barltrop gives an update on the ASQ’s time in Italy, where they performed upon invitation in the MITO Settembremusica Festival and the Todi Musica Festival.

Our week in Italy has been magical. We’ve played in some stunning venues, made new friends, reconnected with old friends, enjoyed delicious meals and breathtaking vistas, gone on some epic adventures that have put our weary feet to the test and sought out the best gelato everywhere we’ve been!   

But above all else, we have shared our music with some truly appreciative audiences. A particular highlight was playing for a room full of young school children in the small Umbrian town of Todi, many of whom were hearing a live string quartet for the first time. Seeing their captivated and curious faces as we played them everything from Scarlatti to Westlake to Haydn to Dvořák was a moving experience for all of us.  

Meeting young fans in Todi. Photo by Gabriele Sagone

We were honoured to be invited to appear in the MITO International Festival of Music in Turin and Milan. The sublime acoustics of the Tempio Valdese in Turin, a Romanesque style church dating from 1851, provided our Guadagnini instruments—on generous loan to us from the Ukaria Cultural Centre in the Adelaide Hills—a most fitting homecoming! My 1784 violin and Christopher’s 1783 viola were both made in Turin.

Michael giving an introduction during our performance in Milan's Piccolo Teatro Studio Melato

In Milan, we played to a full house at the Piccolo Teatro Studio Melato, an impressive circular tiered experimental theatre, and were delighted to be greeted by many friends who had travelled from as far as Rome, Cremona and Berlin to see our performance. 

Our concert in Todi was held in the Teatro Comunale Todi, a spectacularly ornate opera house opened in 1872, where we performed for a warm and enthusiastic audience, many of whom had also travelled great distances to attend our concert.

We are ever so grateful for the efforts of Breana Stillman, an Australian soprano, who has poured her heart and soul into establishing a music festival in Todi, which led to our appearance there. We were very fortunate to stay in the home of another Aussie expat, David Jackson, whose generous hospitality we will never forget! The rolling hills and vineyards of Umbria were a magnificent sight to behold and left no question as to why it is known as the “green heart of Italy.”

The ASQ perform in Milan.
During our performance in Turin. Photo supplied by MITO Festival

What an enriching and heartwarming time we have had so far.  Now, it’s time to hit the colourful, vibrant streets of Madrid and to join our friends in the Sydney Dance Company for the international premiere of our collaboration, Impermanence.

Photos from our time in italy

The ASQ’s international engagement is made possible through the generous support of their Major Partner – The University of Adelaide, Government Partners – Arts South Australia, Creative Australia, Instrument Partners – UKARIA, and international project partners the Australian Embassy, Rome, Todi Musica, OperAffinity, Comune di Todi and Real Arts.