nyilamum – song cycles

Nyilamum Commissioning Circle

Discover our exciting First Nations-led project by Dr Lou Bennett AM, Paul Stanhope and the Australian String Quartet, and how you can play a role in seeing it receive its World Premiere at the String Quartet Biennale Amsterdam in 2024.

The Australian String Quartet (ASQ) is honoured to be performing alongside Dr Lou Bennett AM at the world’s largest celebration of the string quartet artform—the String Quartet Biennale Amsterdam (SQBA)—in January and February 2024.

Every two years the Amsterdam String Quartet Biennale brings together string quartets, composers and artists from around the globe. Their rich and diverse backgrounds help mould this dynamic and innovative festival consisting of eight days in the Muziekgebouw Amsterdam packed with over sixty concerts, talks, masterclasses and a lively fringe programme featuring 30 string quartets, soloists, composers and speakers. The ASQ’s invitation to this prestigious international festival is testament to the Quartet’s oustanding international reputation, its courageous artistic programming and its long-standing commitment to championing the voices of Australian composers.

The program will feature the World Premiere of nyilamum – song cycles, a First Nations-led work by Yorta Yorta Dja Dja Wurrung, Dr Bennett, with composer Paul Stanhope and the ASQ.

The ASQ shared an artistic residency with Dr Bennett and Iain Grandage at UKARIA in 2017, which supported the creation of Jaara Nyilamum for voice and string quartet with support from the Port Fairy Spring Music Festival and UKARIA. This has since been a regular fixture for broadcast across ABC channels, is available on all major music streaming platforms, and can be heard as part of the Jaara Nyilamum video installation at ACMI by Dr Romaine Moreton and Dr Bennett. It is a proud outcome of the ASQ’s Australian Anthology recordings, which demonstrate the Quartet’s commitment to celebrating Australian stories on the global stage.

Coming together through a thoughtful and inspiring year-long creative development process, the ASQ and Dr Bennett are joined by composer Paul Stanhope to create and premiere nyilamum – song cycles, an extended work for voice and string quartet that will explore in more detail Dr Bennett’s story of Jaara Nyilamum.

Following its World Premiere on Thu 1 February 2024, the creative team will undertake stage two of the creative development process to prepare this work for its Australian Premiere in 2025.

nyilamum – song cycles, a collaboration between Dr Lou Bennett AM, Paul Stanhope, and the Australian String Quartet (ASQ) in association with Binung Boorigan has been commissioned by the ASQ with generous support from the nyilamum – song cycles commissioning circle and other donors. The ASQ thanks its Major Partner – The University of Adelaide, Government Supporters – The Government of South Australia and Creative Australia, and Instrument Partner – UKARIA, along with Patron Maria Myers AC and members of the Artists’ Circle.

Kingsley & Roslyn Allen
Alexandra Burt
Nicholas Callinan AO & Libby Callinan
Marg Flatman
Glenda & Greg Lewin AM
Robert Menz
Susan Renouf
Ian Wallace Family Bequest


Elise Callander
Robert and Caroline Clemente
Oliver Daly
Lyn Williams AM
Bermagui Syndicate
   Sheena Boughen and Bill Caldicott
   The late Dr Robert Boughen
   Sian Morgan-Hall
   Di Haskell
   Leslie Loble
   Edna Ross
   Jeanette Sandford-Morgan OAM
   Margaret Throsby
Dunkeld Supporters’ Group
   Susan Clarke
   Wendy Williams


We invite you to join the nyilamum – song cycles Commissioning Circle with an investment of $5,000 or more. We also welcome any donation support towards this project, outside of joining the Commissioning Circle.

Donations can be made using the button below and we ask that you contact Michelle Richards to inform of your donation using the details below.

Michelle Richards
[email protected]
0413 212 040

The Australian String Quartet with Dr Lou Bennett AM (centre left) and Paul Stanhope (centre right). Photo by Elise Idiens