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December 2008 Issue
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Quartet rediscovers musical landscape


The Australian String Quartet (ASQ) has taken inspiration from South Australia's spectacular Kangaroo Island to create the program for its 2009 national season.

Following a visit to Kangaroo Island, the ASQ shaped the 2009 program to reflect the island's "rich, rugged and strikingly beautiful landscape".

"As quartet players, the masterworks of the repertoire are our landscapes," said ASQ violist Sally Boud.

"To discover or revisit a work is to literally recreate it, just as an actual landscape can be created anew for everyone who experiences it.

"The music lives and breathes through the performance to create a powerful connection with the audience.

"The natural majesty of the Australian landscape can be a real source of inspiration for a musician," she said.

Established in 1985, the ASQ is Quartet-in-Residence at the University of Adelaide's Elder Conservatorium of Music.

The ASQ's 2009 program includes well-loved works from Beethoven to Haydn, Bartok, Arriaga and Schumann, as well as music from some of Australia's best-known and regarded composers.

The season presents four national concert tours, each named to reflect the repertoire: Landscapes (March), Dedication (May), Provenance (July-August) and Alchemy (October).

Program highlights include: Schumann's Piano Quintet, with the winner of the 2008 Sydney International Piano Competition, Konstantin Shamray; Schubert's epic G major Quartet; Haydn's op.77 no.1 and the world premiere of a newly commissioned work from internationally acclaimed Australian violist and composer Brett Dean, which also sees him joining the ASQ in performance.

"It is a rare opportunity to be able to perform and work with a composer and for us it will be an experience that we will cherish. Brett Dean is a master composer and player and it is a great joy to premiere this work with him," Boud said.

Continuing the ASQ's ongoing commitment to performing Australian music, the 2009 season also features two distinctive works, Nigel Westlake's High Tension Wires and Gordon Kerry's Variations.

The current membership of Sophie Rowell and Anne Horton (violins), Sally Boud (viola), and Rachel Johnston (cello) was established in 2006. This combination of players originally came together as the Tankstream Quartet. This ASQ is the only Australian group to have been participants in the prestigious chamber music class of the Alban Berg Quartet at the Cologne Hochschule für Musik, and also holds the distinction of having won more international chamber music competitions than any other ensemble in Australian history.

The 2009 subscription season is now on sale, including dinner packages. Phone 1800 040 444 or visit the website:

In Adelaide, the ASQ will play at the Adelaide Town Hall on 12 March, 18 May, 10 August and 28 October 2009.

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From left: The Australian String Quartet: Sally Boud, Rachel Johnston, Sophie Rowell and Anne Horton
Photo by Jacqui Way

From left: The Australian String Quartet: Sally Boud, Rachel Johnston, Sophie Rowell and Anne Horton
Photo by Jacqui Way

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