The ASQ offers an extraordinary musical experience

Published On: Tue 29 May

In a time-travelling concert crossing artistic disciplines, the Australian String Quartet (ASQ) tours Beethoven Widmann Beethoven, an immersive musical experience with direction by Australian theatre-maker Andy Packer.

The ASQ bookends its program with two of Beethoven’s great quartets. The majestic beauty of his final quartet Opus 135 will entice tingles, before his very first quartet, Opus 18 no. 3 will have audiences reeling at the mastery of Beethoven the young wunderkind.

Placed between these two transformative pieces is the work of living contemporary compatriot, Jörg Widmann, whose String Quartet no 3 Hunt Quartet channels the spirit of Beethoven the innovator. Widmann’s is a work of mischievous iconoclasm; a visceral piece that is sure to keep ASQ audiences on the edge of their seats.

“Beethoven’s quartets are marvellous and will delight lovers of everything classical and romantic. What I’m most excited about though, is watching the audiences’ reactions to Widmann’s work. The piece dictates that our instruments (and bodies) be used in ways quite unexpected!” Francesca Hiew, violin.

An ensemble that continues to push the limits and make live music experiences more accessible, memorable and monumental, the ASQ has engaged award-winning theatre director Andy Packer (best known for his work as director of internationally renowned Slingsby), to bring the stage to life using visual and programmatic direction.

Slingsby Director Andy Packer
Photo: Andy Ellis

“Beethoven was supremely aware of the event of a live performance. He explored ever more sophisticated ways to draw his audience into the music worlds he was constructing. Likewise, Widmann presents us with a provocatively dramatic composition. Through our presentation of this program we aim to honour these composers’ instincts for inviting the listener, the audience to be drawn into the world of the music, with a light touch, to illuminate the music, not to stand in its way.” Andy Packer, Director.

“In a world in which everything is more and more integrated, it’s imperative that we, as artistic and cultural practitioners, continue to experiment and explore ways of presenting music in different contexts. It’s been a privilege and a pleasure collaborating with Andy to create something quite special.” Stephen King, viola.

The Australian String Quartet is excited to be touring this concert with guest cellist Michael Dahlenburg, who will be standing in for ASQ cellist Sharon Grigoryan, currently on maternity leave.

Beethoven Widmann Beethoven performed by the Australian String Quartet
Beethoven String Quartet in F major op 135
Jörg Widmann String Quartet no 3 Hunt Quartet
Beethoven String Quartet in D major op 18 no 3
Brisbane Tue 26 June, 7pm, Conservatorium Theatre, South Bank
Sydney Fri 29 June, 7pm, City Recital Hall
Canberra Sun 1 July, 2pm, James O Fairfax Theatre, National Gallery of Australia
Melbourne Tue 3 July, 7pm, Melbourne Recital Centre
Adelaide Thu 5 July, 7pm, Adelaide Town Hall
Perth Mon 9 July, 7pm, Government House Ballroom