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FLINDERS QUARTET

Shane Chen (violin), Nicholas Waters (violin), Helen Ireland (viola) and Zoe Knighton (cello)

Flinders Quartet (FQ) is instantly recognisable as one of Australia’s most loved chamber music ensembles. A quartet for the twenty-first century, Flinders continues its second decade with acknowledged musical skill and maturity. Their dynamic and stirring performances of a full spectrum of repertoire have audiences and critics articulating their esteem, and the quartet is now a highly respected force in Australian chamber music.

FQ regularly commissions and premieres works by Australian composers. In 2016, the quartet premiered works by Stuart Greenbaum and Elena Kats-Chernin, while Calvin Bowman and Iain Grandage commissions and arrangements are slated for 2017. In their ongoing mission to further the Australian tradition of chamber music, FQ has previously commissioned and premiered works by Katy Abbott, Ross Edwards, Richard Mills, Paul Dean, Paul Grabowsky, Andrew Ford, Ian Munro, Tom Henry and Peter Sculthorpe. In 2016, FQ launched its inaugural composer workshop initiative, working with emerging Australian composers.

Vanguards of the Melbourne chamber music scene, FQ initiated their own annual subscription series in 2002. The series has gained momentum each year, and the quartet now enjoys programming and presenting their own season in four Melbourne venues.

The quartet is regularly invited to perform and tour for chamber music presenters such as Musica Viva, and is in demand at festivals throughout Australia often in association with some of the country’s finest talents, including Paul Dean, Kristian Chong, Ian Munro, Paul Dean, Karin Schaupp, Genevieve Lacey and Jayson Gillham. International engagements have taken them to the UK, Singapore, Canada, and most recently, Sweden and Finland, where they were 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 they 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 2017, FQ will record and release a CD of Australian works commissioned and/or premiered by the quartet.

The members of Flinders Quartet 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.

I could hardly praise the playing of the Flinders Quartet more highly: accurate and perceptive with excellent timing and coordination.
— BACHTRACK, March 2016
... Flinders Quartet displayed seamless ensemble as well as profound understanding of the music they played.
— ARMIDALE EXPRESS, March 2016
Their shading, rhythmic pliability and tautness of ensemble are impeccable.
— LIMELIGHT MAGAZINE (reviewing "Intimate Voices"), December 2015
... intense clarity and fluid partnership ...
— COURIER MAIL (reviewing "Intimate Voices"), September 2015
... the quartet sounded as if they had been playing together for a lifetime: unity of interpretation, tight ensemble, fine balance, matched tone, and fluent dialogues between solo and collective lines.
— THE AUSTRALIAN, May 2014

quartet members

Flinders Quartet is

Shane Chen (violin)   Nicholas Waters (violin)
Helen Ireland (viola)   Zoe Knighton (cello)

Shane Chen, violin

Shane Chen, violin

SHANE CHEN

Shane burst onto the Australian music scene fresh from the Australian National Academy of Music (ANAM) as a string finalist in the 2012 Symphony Australia Young Performer Award competition and finalist in the ANAM concerto competition. During his two years of study (2011 – 2012) at ANAM under William Hennessey, Shane became a very active chamber music player and has performed in various chamber music series including Australian Voices, Melbourne Festival Quarttehaus and TSO Beethoven Festival recital series. Shane has appeared as soloist with Adelaide Symphony Orhcestra, Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, Melbourne Chamber Orchestra and Orchestra Victoria. He is currently a core member of the Melbourne Chamber Orchestra and regular guest with Orchestra Victoria. 

NICHOLAS WATERS 

Nicholas completed his Bachelor of Music in 2012 at Melbourne Conservatorium of Music. In 2013 he commenced studies at the Australian National Academy of Music with Adam Chalabi whilst also participating in the Sydney Symphony Sinfonia, where he was awarded the inaugural Joan McKenzie Emerging Artist award. 

In 2014, as a Fellow with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Nicholas toured to China, performed chamber music concerts throughout New South Wales and was featured in the Digital Masterclass Series with Andrew Haveron on YouTube. Also during 2014 Nicholas performed as a guest artist with Wilma and Friends. In 2015 he performed as a core player in Affinity Collective’s Open Rehearsals and Ballantyne Chamber Music Concert Series in Melbourne.

Nicholas has performed as a casual musician with the Sydney Symphony and Orchestra Victoria and in masterclasses with Dale Barltrop, Stanley Dodds, James Ehnes, Stefan Jackiw, Anthony Marwood, Natsuko Yoshimoto and the Tokyo and Tinalley String Quartets. 

He is currently studying violin with Robin Wilson and Sophie Rowell at the Australian National Academy of Music and is a finalist in the Kendall Violin Competition. In 2016 Nicholas will take part in the ACO’s Emerging Artist Program.

Nicholas Water, violin

Nicholas Water, violin

Helen Ireland, viola

Helen Ireland, viola

HELEN IRELAND

Originally from Adelaide, Helen has made Melbourne her home since moving in 2000 to attend the Australian National Academy of Music. Helen is also a core member of the Melbourne Chamber Orchestra and teaches viola at Melbourne University. A graduate of the Canberra School of Music, Helen was awarded the Erica Haas prize for chamber music. She participated in several Australian Youth Orchestra tours, becoming principal viola of the Camerata in 1998. In 1996, Helen was a finalist in the viola competition at the International Winter School for Strings.  Helen has worked with many leading Australian orchestras, including the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra and the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra. She plays regularly with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and Orchestra Victoria where she has been guest principal and associate principal.  Helen is qualified as a Feldenkrais practitioner and looks forward to helping other musicians with this work.

Helen is a founding member of Flinders Quartet.

ZOE KNIGHTON

 

After starting cello at the age of nine with Jill Kahans, and graduating from the University of Melbourne with the highest mark of her year, Zoe went on to establish herself as one of the country’s most sought after cellists. Having studied with Christian Wojtowicz, Michel Strauss (Paris), Nelson Cooke, and Angela Seargeant, she has continued this legacy by teaching at The University of Melbourne, Victorian College of the Arts, Monash University, The University of Tasmania, The Australian Youth Orchestra, The Victorian Amateur Chamber Music Society, as well as other masterclasses and workshops.

Zoe has played numerous concertos with Melbourne orchestras, and with pianist Amir Farid made an impressive debut at the Melbourne Recital Centre to great critical acclaim in 2009. Their partnership continues with recordings for ABC, concerts throughout Australia and the release of five CDs on the MOVE label. She has been praised for her “thrilling tenor sound” (Limelight Magazine), “sublime phrasing”, and “many great technical demands which Knighton carried off with ease.”

Zoe continues to freelance with Melbourne’s orchestras and is a regular panelist for national and international competitions.

Zoe is a founding member of Flinders Quartet.

Zoe Knighton, cello

Zoe Knighton, cello