On a stormy Melbourne evening the Flinders Quartet gathered at a familiar venue, fortyfivedownstairs, for their 2019 season launch. The quartet played at the launch of the venue back in 2002, so it was only fitting it was used as the place to launch their upcoming 2019 season. For almost 20 years the Flinders Quartet has been committed to programming music that allows audiences to fall in love with the string quartet repertoire and their 2019 season will be no different.
The evening started off with a greeting from the newest member of the quartet, Thibaud Pavlovic-Hobba. Julian Burnside, the Chair of the Flinders Quartet Board, then gave an inspiring speech about the arts in Melbourne and the place Flinders Quartet holds in the city. It’s wonderful to have such a long established quartet based in Melbourne, committed not only to delivering great chamber music but also community outreach.
We were given our first taste of the 2019 season with the first movement of Haydn’s String Quartet No.3, which is part of the first subscription series for the Quartet in 2019. A welcome addition to Flinders, Thibaud fit in perfectly and the quartet delivered a fun and playful Haydn. As well as Haydn, they will also be playing the Schumann String Quartet no. 3 (A first for Flinders!), as well as shining the spotlight on a new composer, Matthew Laing.
Laing was a participant in the 2017 Flinders Composer Development Program. Their Composer Development Program is a fantastic initiative to support emerging Australian composers and will be continuing in June 2019. Nicholas Waters (violin) spoke highly of the composer development program and playing new works “you can get away with murder playing Beethoven string quartets, but living composers know what they want. During the Composer Development Program you get to know the composers perspective of music and their musical language… It’s inspiring to work with them.”
Next Flinders gave us a peek of what to expect from their second program of the year. They played the first movement of Shostakovich’s String Quartet No. 7, immediately followed by the first movement of his String Quartet No. 3. A highlight of this performance was when the lights of the building opposite turned off in time with a particularly crunchy chord from Quartet No.3, it fit the drama of the piece perfectly and Flinders had no trouble portraying the drama and angst of these two movements. The second program they will be presenting in 2019 will be an ambitious program where they will create their own Shostakovich String Quartet cycle from all fifteen string quartets in just 75 minutes. I’m excited to see what they come up with because it seems like a daunting task!
Helen Ireland (viola) spoke about the exciting community outreach programs Flinders have planned. From bringing the anger and angst from Shostakovitch to angry and angstey adolescence to their continued work with John Noble’s Quartet program it seems like 2019 will be a busy year for them. Zoe Knighton (cello), founding member and heart and soul of the quartet spoke at the end of her excitement for the 2019 season and I have to say, I’m with her! I can’t wait for 2019 and what the FQ will bring.