with Wilma Smith (violin) commencing 2020
Flinders Quartet (FQ) is instantly recognisable as one of Australia’s most loved chamber music ensembles. A quartet for the twenty-first century, FQ approaches its third decade with acknowledged musical skill and maturity. The group's dynamic and stirring performances of a full spectrum of repertoire have audiences and critics articulating their esteem, and the quartet is a highly-respected force in Australian chamber music.
Committed to industry development, FQ regularly commissions and premieres works by Australian composers. Their 2020 season includes the premieres of new works by Katy Abbott, Deborah Cheetham AO, and emerging composer Ella Macens (participant in FQ’s 2017 Composer Development Program). In their ongoing mission to further the Australian tradition of chamber music, FQ has previously commissioned and premiered works by Peter Sculthorpe, Ross Edwards, Elena Kats-Chernin, Stuart Greenbaum, Paul Dean, Paul Grabowsky, Ian Munro, Iain Grandage, Andrew Ford, Calvin Bowman, Tom Henry and Matt Laing. In 2016, FQ launched its Composer Development Program, working to further the career of emerging Australian composers.
Vanguards of the Melbourne chamber music scene, FQ initiated its own annual subscription series in 2002. The series has gained momentum each year, and the quartet now enjoys programming and presenting its own season in three Melbourne venues.
The quartet is regularly invited to perform and tour for chamber music presenters such as Musica Viva Australia, and is in demand at festivals throughout Australia often in association with some of the country’s finest talents, including Slava Grigoryan, Kristian Chong, Ian Munro, Paul Dean, Karin Schaupp, Genevieve Lacey and Jayson Gillham. International engagements have taken FQ to the UK, Singapore, Canada, and most recently, Sweden and Finland, where its was invited to perform the complete string quartets by Sibelius.
Building on its 2006 Limelight Award and 2007 Melbourne Prize for Music nomination, FQ was nominated for a 2007 ARIA (Australian Recording Industry Association) award for its performance of Gillian Whitehead’s "Bright Forms Return" in collaboration with new music ensemble Halcyon. In 2010, Flinders was again nominated for the Melbourne Prize for Music, and in 2011 received an ARIA nomination for its CD release with Karin Schaupp (guitar), "Fandango".
FQ was Radio 3MBS FM’s inaugural Artists in Residence, a position held until 2006. The quartet continues to receive regular airplay on that station, as well as on ABC Classic FM, Sydney’s Fine Music FM, various other Australian stations, and on Finland’s Radio Vega and the UK’s BBC Three.
FQ’s first commercial CD release, "Reinventions" with Genevieve Lacey, met with critical and popular acclaim and was re-released on the ABC Classics label in 2015, reaching #1 on the ARIA Core Classical album chart. Also on the ABC Classics label is its ARIA-nominated 2011 release, "Fandango" with Karin Schaupp, and 2015 release "Intimate Voices: Sibelius String Quartets". In late 2018, FQ released “The Offering”, a 2-CD set of four Australian works commissioned and/or premiered by the quartet.
FQ have a steadfast commitment to the development of Australian chamber music, musicians and audiences. As teachers and mentors, they regularly work with the Australian Youth Orchestra and its developmental programs for young chamber groups. They also work with the Victorian Amateur Chamber Music Society, and are regularly invited to tutor at secondary and tertiary institutions throughout Australia including the University of Melbourne. In 2018, Flinders Quartet were appointed Artistic Patrons of John Noble’s Quartet Program; an initiative that reaches student and amateur musicians in regional Victorian through mentoring and shared performances.