Australian String Quartet
With a rich history spanning over 30 years, the Australian String Quartet (ASQ) has a strong national profile as an Australian chamber music group of excellence, performing at the highest international level.
From its home base at the University of Adelaide, Elder Conservatorium of Music, the ASQ delivers a vibrant annual artistic program encompassing performances, workshops, commissions and education projects across Australia and abroad.
One of Australia’s finest music exports, the ASQ has appeared at international music festivals and toured extensively throughout the United Kingdom, Europe, New Zealand and Asia in recent years.The Quartet frequently performs with leading guest artists and in recent years has appeared with internationally acclaimed artists including pianists Angela Hewitt and Piers Lane, mezzo-soprano Anne Sofie von Otter, clarinettist Michael Collins, violist Brett Dean and cellist Pieter Wispelwey.
The Quartet’s performance calendar for 2016 comprises its National Season featuring three unique concert programs presented in Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney; its own flagship festivals in the Southern Grampians and Margaret River and international and regional touring. With an active focus on recording, the ASQ will embark on a range of recording initiatives in 2016, including a project to record an anthology of Australian string quartets. The Quartet’s commitment to secondary and tertiary education programs will expand as regional residencies also become a regular event for the ASQ. The members of the ASQ are privileged to perform on a matched set of Guadagnini instruments. Hand crafted by Giovanni Battista Guadagnini between c.1743-1784 in Turin and Piacenza, Italy, these exquisite instruments were brought together through the vision of Ulrike Klein. The instruments are on loan to the ASQ for their exclusive use through the generosity of Ulrike Klein and Ngeringa Arts.
- Dale BarltropViolin I
Brisbane-born violinist, Dale Barltrop, returns to Australia after 18 years abroad to take up his new position with the ASQ. He is Concertmaster of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and has served as Concertmaster of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra since 2009.
Barltrop began his career as Principal Second Violin of the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra in the United States. He has appeared with all three of these orchestras as soloist and director on numerous occasions. He has also appeared as Concertmaster of the Australian World Orchestra under Sir Simon Rattle, guest director of the Australian Chamber Orchestra, ACO2 and the Camerata of St John’s chamber orchestra.
Barltrop began his violin studies in Brisbane, made his solo debut with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra at the age of 15 and was Concertmaster of the Queensland and Australian Youth Orchestras for numerous years. His teachers have included William Preucil, Gerald Fischbach, the members of the Guarneri Quartet, Elizabeth Morgan and Marcia Cox.
- Francesca HiewViolin II
Francesca Hiew’s passion for chamber music began at an early age as a student of Emin Tagiev and Mark Lakirovich at the Stoliarsky School of Music in Brisbane. Having completed a Bachelor of Music with Michele Walsh at the Queensland Conservatorium, Francesca continued her studies with William Hennessy at ANAM where she completed a Fellowship focusing on chamber music for mixed string ensembles. In 2012 Francesca co-founded the Auric Quartet, selected as a finalist for the 2013 Asia Pacific Chamber Music Competition and the Trondheim International Chamber Music Competition. The quartet performed in the Melbourne and Perth International Arts Festivals, Dunkeld Festival of Music and was Quartet-in-Residence at the Four Winds Festival.
Francesca became a permanent member of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra in 2014 and is a core member of the Melbourne Chamber Orchestra (MCO). She has performed with the Sydney, Tasmanian and Vancouver Symphony Orchestras, Orchestra Victoria, Victorian Opera, MCO’s Australian Octet and has also appeared as soloist with the MCO and Orchestra Victoria.
- Stephen KingViola
Stephen King plays the viola because he loves its role in the string quartet. It is both the agitator and the peacemaker, the consonance and the dissonance, the harmonic pulse and always the meat in the sandwich. Stephen played violin while growing up in Canberra and turned to the deep side after all but completing an architecture degree in Brisbane. Following the inspiring teaching there of Elizabeth Morgan, he completed his studies in the United States with James Dunham (Cleveland Quartet), Kathy Murdock (Mendelssohn Quartet) and Michael Tree (Guarneri Quartet). Stephen holds a Doctorate in Chamber Music from the University of Maryland.
From 1997 Stephen was violist of the Coolidge String Quartet based in Washington DC and later Associate Principal Viola of the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra and part of the Boston Modern Orchestra Project.
Stephen returned to Australia in 2003 to join the Australian Chamber Orchestra, and in 2012 he became the violist of the Australian String Quartet.
- Sharon DraperCello
Born in Melbourne, Sharon studied at Melbourne University and ANAM under David Berlin, Philip Green, and Howard Penny. During her university studies she played regularly with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra (MSO), Australia Pro Arte (now Melbourne Chamber Orchestra), Academy of Melbourne Orchestra and Orchestra Victoria.
She has toured extensively with the Australian Chamber Orchestra, and in 2008 Sharon was appointed a position with the MSO which she held until 2012. She was a regular participant in the MSO’s Chamber Players series and in 2009 she formed the Hopkins String Quartet. Whilst living in Berlin in 2012 Sharon performed with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra and Spira Mirabilis Chamber Orchestra.
Sharon also has a passion for teaching, and has tutored ensembles such as the Melbourne Youth Orchestra, AYO’s National Music Camp orchestras, and has been a guest chamber music tutor at ANAM. In 2015 Sharon performed as a guest with the Australia Ensemble and the Australian World Orchestra, as well as forming a duo with guitarist Slava Grigoryan.