Acacia Celebrates Five Years With Music And Art

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To celebrate its 5th birthday in May 2015, Acacia Quartet, one of Australia’s most exciting and sought-after string quartets, is delighted to present Five Chapters, the second program in its 2015 ACACIA Presents… series.

For this special concerts, Acacia proudly presents the world premieres of works by two great Australian composers who have supported the quartet from its inception in 2010: Elena Kats-Chernin and Lyle Chan.

One of our most internationally renowned composers, Kats-Chernin chose Acacia to record her entire string quartets – resulting in the APRA-AMCOS Art Music Award-nominated CD, Blue Silence, and became Patron of the quartet. Especially arranged for Acacia as a piano quintet, with celebrated pianist Tamara-Anna Cislowska, Five Chapters unites Acacia’s passions for Australian new music and its creators with a nod to their five years together, in a work of mystery and expectation, vivacity, riddles, and spiralling momentum towards time’s inexorable horizons.

Elena Kats-Chernin by Lisa Stewart, 2015
Elena Kats-Chernin by Lisa Stewart, 2015

To highlight this milestone 5th birthday, Acacia’s own violinist, Lisa Stewart – also a published illustrator – has created a stunning mixed media portrait of composer, Elena Kats-Chernin. This unique artwork features strands of Elena’s original manuscripts, and will be offered for auction online (from 1 May), and at the Sydney concert on 28 May. Full proceeds go towards Acacia Quartet’s 2016 ACACIA Presents…. concert series in Sydney and the Southern Highlands, with exciting, innovative programs containing new Australian works revealed in late 2015.

Meeting Acacia Quartet in 2010, composer Lyle Chan decided to release his private string quartet compositions to the public. Chan considers his string quartet to be an ongoing diary, with the best-known section being his memoir of the years 1991-96, released as An AIDS Activist’s Memoir in Music (premiered, recorded and toured by Acacia Quartet to critical acclaim in 2014). This concert is the premiere performance of a movement written ten years ago as a gift and tribute to a dear friend, whose favourite composer was Wagner: listen for a subtle quote of the Good Friday Spell from Parsifal!

And in keeping with Acacia’s love for the classics, they will perform Debussy’s exquisite String Quartet in G minor (1893), considered a watershed in the history of chamber music. Debussy’s unorthodox use of impressionistic tonal shifts, languid rhythms and exotic scales broke all the rules in this moving, and startlingly beautiful music.

Founded in 2010 by violinists Lisa Stewart and Myee Clohessy, violist Stefan Duwe and cellist Anna Martin-Scrase, Acacia Quartet has quickly won great respect for versatile and inventive programs and a reputation for excellent performances of new music. In four years Acacia has recorded as many albums – two of which were ‘Editor’s Choice’ in Limelight Magazine, and which earned nominations in 2013 for both the ARIA Award for ‘Best Classical Album’ and an APRA-AMCOS Art Music Award. Passionate about supporting Australian composers, working with young musicians and sharing their love of music with audiences of all ages, their performances feature regularly on ABC Classic FM, Fine Music 102.5 and Qantas In-flight Entertainment.

Commemorating their 5th anniversary this year, Acacia celebrated with the world premiere of seven new Australian works and performances at Adelaide Festival Centre, the Concourse in Sydney, the Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre, Bellingen Festival and as Ensemble-in-Residence at the Bowral Autumn Music Festival, amongst other engagements. Collaborating artists include pianists, Tamara-Anna Cislowska and Gerard Willems, the Song Company, flautist Jane Rutter, and sopranos Amelia Farrugia and Ayse Goknur Shanal. Acacia will also feature on ARIA award-winning pianist and composer, Sally Whitwell’s new album, I Was Flying (ABC Classics) to be released in June 2015.

The programme: FIVE CHAPTERS

Chan, L: String Quartet (2005-6, Thomas Brand gewidmet)/ Debussy, C: String Quartet in G minor, Op.10 (1893) Kats-Chernin, E: Five Chapters (2015)

All ticketing, concert and auction details at


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