Exploration and collaboration at the heart of the Australian String Quartet’s National Season 2017
2017 is shaping up to be a year rich with new endeavours for the Australian String Quartet (ASQ), comprising Dale Barltrop – first violin, Francesca Hiew – second violin, Stephen King – viola and Sharon Draper – cello. Kicking off in February, the Quartet’s performance calendar will feature unique artistic programs tailored specifically for audiences around the country, as the ASQ embraces a spirit of exploration and collaboration.
In April, the ASQ welcomes renowned Dutch cellist Pieter Wispelwey and Australian pianist Caroline Almonte for performance collaborations at its flagship regional festivals in the Southern Grampians, Victoria and Western Australia’s Margaret River. A feast for the senses, ASQ festivals have brought together the finest food and wine and music for over ten years. Set in intimate and picturesque surroundings, from barrel cellars to woolsheds, “the ASQ’s intimate festivals are in high demand”, said Angelina Zucco – Chief Executive of the Australian String Quartet.
From its home base at the University of Adelaide, Elder Conservatorium of Music, the ASQ will undertake three National Season touring programs in 2017. Performing in Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney, the ASQ’s National Season 2017 features masterpieces of the string quartet literature including Schubert, Dvořák, Bartók and Beethoven, set alongside a compelling selection of more recent works.
For its first national tour, Migration, the ASQ is joined by leading Australian guitarist, Slava Grigoryan. Regarded as a ‘wizard’ of the guitar, Slava Grigoryan has forged a global reputation as a classical guitar virtuoso. He joins the ASQ in May 2017 to perform works by Ralph Towner and Iain Grandage in a program that dissolves the boundaries of jazz and classical style. The poignant world of late Schubert forms the emotional apex of this concert with his final string quartet in G major.
In August 2017, the ASQ’s second touring program, Homeward, features the award-winning String Quartet no 2 by Australian composer Paul Stanhope. This work explores the plight of the Jewish migrants to Australia around World War II and offers a dramatic contrast to Dvořák’s ebullient homecoming quartet. Together with Benjamin Britten’s String Quartet no 1, the three works compose a rich tapestry drawn from themes of exile and return, and inspirations from the old world and the new.
The ASQ travels across musical time in November 2017 with Beginnings, a program that encompasses baroque eloquence, classical grandeur and intense romanticism at the dawn of the 20th century. Featuring works by Italian master – Alessandro Scarlatti and the undisputed giant of the 20th century string quartet – Béla Bartók; the season culminates with Beethoven’s first Razumovsky quartet. Composed soon after the revolutionary EroicaSymphony, this work is rich with passion and grandeur of scale – offering a compelling conclusion to the ASQ’s National Season 2017.
Among other ASQ artistic highlights, 2017 sees: a year-long association with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra; the world premiere of a new cello quintet by Australian composer, Gordon Kerry; recording collaborations with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra through ABC Classics and a release with Slava Grigoryan; international performances with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra; regional touring; and the continuation of the ASQ’s new Close Quartersseries across Australia.
“As the Australian String Quartet, our purpose is to create meaningful and intimate experiences that connect people with string quartet music. We have a diverse and ambitious program in store for 2017 and we can’t wait to share it with audiences across Australia”, said Dale Barltrop – first violin.
Subscriptions for the National Season 2017 are now open. Click here to find out more.