The Australian String Quartet’s own regional festivals in Margaret River and Dunkeld have just finished to great acclaim with many musical highlights over the two busy weeks. Joined by outstanding performers, cellist Pieter Wispelwey and pianist Caroline Almonte, the ASQ treated audiences to favourites such as Schubert’s Cello Quintet in C. But lesser-known works such as Dohnanyi’s powerful Piano Quintet No. 1 and Taneyev’s Cello Quintet made an impact as well as a premiere of a String Quintet by Gordon Kerry and a reveal of Charles Edward Horsley’s heartfelt String Quartet in C, the first string quartet written in Australia. This year’s Dunkeld Festival of Music included performances in the magnificent new Myers’ Library, a wonderful building for chamber music performances as well as the charming Mt Sturgeon Woolshed. Margaret River offered some of our favourite wineries and restaurants for the evening concerts, Vasse Felix, Voyager Estate, with an outdoor sun-filled lunch at Cullen Wines and an opportunity to visit the McHenry Hohnen Winery for a concert in their enormous Wine Cellar.
Dale, Fran, Stephen and Sharon enjoyed sharing the music-making and the beautiful landscapes and surrounds with Pieter and Caroline – both immensely talented and generous musicians who joined in and met audience members at the various dinners and lunches, as well as taking the opportunity to go running on the beach in Margaret River and walk up Mt Abrupt in the Grampians. Pieter Wispelwey treated audiences to a few late-night soirees of impromptu solo work by Bach and selected duets and trios with Caroline Almonte and the Quartet to suit the moment, which perfectly rounded off the festival evenings.