2019 began for Tinalley String Quartet in the auspicious surrounds of the Grand Ballroom at Government House in Sydney as we recorded a short video on January 22nd to promote the launch of our latest CD on the Decca/ Universal label. The disc features the first two quartets of Felix Mendelssohn as well as a collaboration with Greta Bradman on a selection of Lieder for Voice and Piano which were arranged for us by Australian composer Calvin Bowman. It is always a huge pleasure to be able to work in the beautiful surrounds of Government House and we are exceedingly grateful for the generous patronage of His Excellency David Hurley, Governor of NSW and Mrs Hurley that allows us to do so.
Returning to ‘quartet life’ after an extended break over Christmas and New Year is always a joyous time for the group and offers a chance to catch up with dear friends and swap holiday stories as well as get back to the serious business of quartet playing. I am always amazed by the fact that even though our approaches to our own individual playing are in a constant state of evolution, returning to the group after an absence of a couple of months feels like slipping into a pair of thoroughly comfortable slippers and offers a very reassuring musical grounding in our increasingly hectic lives.
Forging any kind of an existence as a quartet is desperately hard. We all have full time jobs (across two states) and various family commitments so the fact that we choose to invest a significant portion of our time performing, rehearsing and travelling as well as in the pursuit of future concerts and fundraising to allow the quartet to operate meaningfully speaks volumes for the passion we have for string quartet playing. Beginning a new venture (such as the one with The Sydney) is especially exciting as it gives us the chance to forge new relationships with artists like Oxana and offers the potential for exciting future collaborations. We are privileged to be able to be a part of The Sydney community in 2019 and hope that the relationship will develop and flourish.
As for the rest of 2019…we will be building on our partnership with the University of Queensland where we were appointed Ensemble in Residence last year and appearing at the Queensland and Tyalgum Music Festivals. We will give concerts throughout Far North Queensland as well as in Brisbane, the Hunter Valley, Byron Bay and Macedon in Victoria. We will also run our own Chamber Music Winter School in collaboration with UQ and in October will travel to Ukaria in South Australia to record the next instalment of our journey through Mendelssohn’s chamber music for strings.
Another crazy, wonderful, joyous, varied and challenging year lies ahead of us…. We look forward to seeing you all in Sydney in April for one of our favourite Piano Quintets!
Adam Chalabi (First Violin-Tinalley String Quartet, Associate Professor, University of Queensland)