String quartet strikes a fine tune with University

The Australian String Quartet

The Australian String Quartet
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Wednesday, 9 January 2008

The University of Adelaide has strengthened its partnership with the Australian String Quartet (ASQ), committing $350,000 over the next five years to sponsor one of the country's leading chamber ensembles.

Under a new 2008-2012 agreement with the University, the ASQ will perform at two Elder Hall lunch hour concerts each year, as well as graduation ceremonies both here and offshore, and collaborate with the Elder Conservatorium for special concerts, major fundraising events and composer forums.

The Quartet-in-Residence will also present two chamber music workshops for the University each semester and help the Elder Conservatorium recruit potential new students by visiting and performing in high schools.

Elder Conservatorium Director Professor David Lockett said the partnership would provide mutual benefits to both the University and Australian String Quartet.

"To have an ensemble such as the ASQ in our midst provides students with unique insights into the nature and standards of the professional world. The diversity of the repertoire that they perform, their admirable work ethic and the sheer class of their playing will inspire students to higher technical and artistic goals. The enhanced relationship will also add an important dimension to the intellectual and cultural life of the University as well as bringing additional lustre to its image in the community," Professor Lockett said.

The ASQ has been Quartet-in-Residence at the University of Adelaide since 1991. 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 and was coached by Alice Waten at the Australian Institute of Music in Sydney.

Leader Sophie Rowell is currently studying for a Doctoral Degree in Music Performance at the Elder Conservatorium of Music. After living and performing in Europe for two years she marked her return to Adelaide in 2007 with a spectacular performance of the Piano Trio Op 50 by Tchaikovsky, playing a $1 million Guadagnini violin, made in 1751.

The ASQ is the only Australian group to have participated in the prestigious chamber music class of the Alban Berg Quartet at the Cologne Hochschule for Musik, and also holds the distinction of having won more international chamber music competitions than any other ensemble in Australian history. These include winning the 2005 Cremona International String Quartet Competition, the Gold Medal in the 2002 Osaka International Chamber Music Competition (Japan), first place in the 2001 Australian Chamber Music Competition, and second place in the Paolo Borciani International String Quartet Competition in Italy in 2005.

The ASQ has performed in Hamburg, Berlin, Paris, Aix-en-Provence, London, Copenhagen, Cologne, Belgrade, Budapest, Zagreb, Frankfurt, Reggio Emilia (Italy), and throughout Australia, New Zealand and Japan. It was selected to perform celebratory concerts for the Danish Royal Wedding in May 2004. The Quartet has also been broadcast extensively in Australia on ABC Classic FM and has been featured on NDR (North German Radio), the BBC and Radio France, and televised in Denmark, Austria and Japan.

Throughout its history the ASQ has commissioned and premiered new works by leading Australian composers including Andrew Ford, Graeme Koehne, Elena Kats-Chernin, Roger Smalley and Charles Bodman Rae. This year the ASQ will perform four national season concerts at the Adelaide Town Hall. For full details of each concert, go to their website


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