February 2020 was the last time the Australian String Quartet toured the country. As an organisation built for full-time touring, the COVID-19 pandemic forced the company to redefine how it went about celebrating string quartet music. To great acclaim, the group achieved this through commissioning, recording and streaming projects.
Now that domestic travel is back on the agenda, the ASQ is thrilled to announce that it will be once more travelling around the country. The Quartet will visit Melbourne with a concert featuring recorder virtuoso Genevieve Lacey and a new work by Lachlan Skipworth.
This event will also be Melbourne’s chance to welcome the ASQ’s newest member, cellist Michael Dahlenburg, in his debut tour with the Quartet. Learn more about him in this video!
Growing up in Cranbourne, Dahlenburg studied cello at the Australian National Academy of Music in Melbourne, before forming the award-winning Hamer Quartet, and becoming the principal cello of the Melbourne Chamber Orchestra. He joined the ASQ in November 2020.
“Being a part of this national institution feels like the most special of gifts, which I – very fortunately – get to enjoy every day,” said Dahlenburg. “Performing to the familiar faces of my hometown Melbourne crowd will be a special concert experience for me.”
“Playing this striking and effervescent program with my incredible colleagues – including the amazing Genevieve Lacey – will be a night I will long remember.”
Audiences will also be able to farewell long-time ASQ Viola Stephen King, who steps into the new role of ASQ Director of Learning and Engagement, in the second half of this year.
The concert will feature a classic string quartet by Felix Mendelssohn, and contemporary work by Pavel Fischer. Completing the program are works by Australian composers Elena Kats-Chernin and a brand-new work by Lachlan Skipworth; both pieces feature Genevieve Lacey.
Celebrated Australian composer, Elena Kats-Chernin, wrote Re-Inventions for Genevieve Lacey and string quartet in 2004. Infused with the spirit of Bach’s keyboard inventions and employing multiple instruments, these three movements illustrate an array of colours, from playful to dark and sombre, to simply virtuosic.
Lachlan Skipworth’s new work for bass recorder and string quartet is inspired by the breathtaking cave systems of Western Australia’s Margaret River region. With the inclusion of a backdrop of digital sound, the bass recorder in the beautiful key of G flat becomes the melodic focus in this hauntingly restrained work.
Mendelssohn wrote the Op.12 string quartet before his twentieth birthday. His young, opera-addicted mind dials up the drama and beauty of this piece, while the popular Canzonetta movement exemplifies the cheeky Puck-like passagework associated with his Octet, and music from A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Moravian violinist and composer Pavel Fischer was inspired by the courage of Scottish piper Bill Millin who on D-Day 1944, marched on Normandy beach, rallying the troops with his bagpipes. This exhilarating quartet seamlessly blends traditions of folk music and western art, creating an explosive and exhilarating end to this program.
“I’m very excited to be playing not one but two glorious Australian works with the wonderful musicians of the ASQ,” said Genevieve Lacey. “Elena Kats-Chernin’s Re-Inventions are deservedly loved by audiences – they’re infectiously joyous – and we can’t wait to premiere Lachlan Skipworth’s hauntingly expressive quintet.”
“Being able to perform this gorgeous program in both Perth, Lachlan’s hometown, and Melbourne, my hometown, only makes it even more special.”
Elena Kats-Chernin: Re-Inventions (excerpts)
Felix Mendelssohn: String Quartet no 1 in E flat major op 12
Lachlan Skipworth: Quintet for Bass Recorder and Strings (World Premiere)
Pavel Fischer: String Quartet no 3 Mad Piper
ASQ in Concert with Genevieve Lacey
Heath Ledger Theatre – State Theatre Centre of WA, William Street, Perth
Performance: Sunday 30 May 2010 – 6.30pm
Elisabeth Murdoch Hall – Melbourne Recital Centre, Southbank Boulevard, Southbank
Performance: Tuesday 1 June 2021 – 7.00pm
For more information, visit: www.asq.com.au for details.
Image: Australian String Quartet with Genevieve Lacey – photo by Agatha Yim / Polyphonic Pictures