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17 October 2007

Australian Youth Orchestra takes new music to new regional rivers

Sartory String Quartet (left – right): Pascale Whiting, Christa Jardine, Emily Thompson and Sophie Walker Image: Sartory String Quartet (left – right): Pascale Whiting, Christa Jardine, Emily Thompson and Sophie Walker  

Their chamber music usually floods from the banks of Perth’s Swan River, but, from October, the Sartory String Quartet will perform to audiences in the Albury-Wodonga region and beyond, when they fulfil their two-month residency at the Murray Conservatorium, as part of Australian Youth Orchestra’s (AYO) YACA Regional Residency.

An extension of the already successful Young Australian Concert Artists (YACA), AYO’s YACA Regional Residency facilitates interaction between an ensemble and a community by selecting a leading established chamber group to be Ensemble-in-Residence at a regional musical institution. Over the two-month residency, the musicians become part of the thriving music community, as both performers and educators.

This year, Albury’s Murray Conservatorium will act as host for the quartet, which will also be the Conservatorium’s first ever Ensemble-In-Residence. During this time, the young ensemble will be mentored by the acclaimed Flinders Quartet, who will also perform alongside them.

Made possible through the generous support of the Colonial Foundation Trust, the inaugural YACA Regional Residency is the most long-term and exclusive training program offered by AYO. Featuring over a dozen performances in towns such as Tallangatta, Beechworth, Yackandandah, Deniliquin, Healesville, Rutherglen, Wagga Wagga, Albury and Wodonga, the two-month residency and regional tour will give these fine young musicians the opportunity to showcase Australian talent.

It is also about bringing some of the finest new Australian compositions to these regional communities – this year each concert will feature works by Australian composers Richard Meale and Gordon Kerry.

‘We are thrilled that the Sartory String Quartet, as our first Ensemble-in-Residence, will give the world premiere of a new work from the pen of one of Australia’s most highly regarded composers’ says Murray Conservatorium Director Peter Lynch, of the Quartet’s pending performance of Gordon Kerry’s Elegy for String Quartet on 24 October.

Comprising four of AYO’s finest young musicians, Emily Thompson (violin, 22), Pascale Whiting (violin, 22), Christa Jardine (viola, 20) and Sophie Walker (cello, 22), the Sartory String Quartet formed at the beginning of 2003, as part of the Chamber Music program at the University of Western Australia. The quartet has since become one of Western Australia’s leading chamber music ensembles. Their fine reputation has seen them participate in master classes with artists such as the Australian String Quartet, internationally acclaimed violinist Charles Castlemann, and now the Flinders Quartet.

For more information on the Sartory String Quartet, the YACA Regional Residency and concerts, please visit ayo.com.au or call 1300 668 500.

Having briefly toyed with the idea of a career as a professional musician, Joy Leaper decided to step across to the other side of the arts, and is now Communications Coordinator for Australian Youth Orchestra. Originally Communications Coordinator for an aged care company in Melbourne, she now lives in Sydney.


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