December 2016 seems to have been a good month for Aria award winning classical guitarist Slava Grigoryan. He married the girl of his dreams, cellist Sharon Draper who plays with the Australian String Quartet. They announced he would join their Migration National Concert Tour May 23 until June 5, 2017.
He also broke chart records with an unbroken six-week run of his recording of the stunning Bach Cello Suites: Volume 1. For this outstanding album he faced strong competition at the time. Andre Rieu, always popular, and Star Wars the music plus a recording of deceased Tenor Pavarotti all gave him considerable competition, but he managed to retain the top spot throughout the Christmas period.
Slava Grigoryan and the Australian String Quartet (ASQ) from its home base at the Elder Conservatorium of Music, University of Adelaide where it has for the past 30 years dedicated itself to musical excellence, will start their Migration Concert Tour on May 23, 2017.
They will be visiting Canberra playing in the Gandel Hall of the National Gallery of Australia, in Brisbane at the Conservatorium Theatre, in Adelaide at the Adelaide Town Hall, in Sydney at the City Recital Hall and ending in Melbourne on June 5 at the Melbourne Recital Centre.
The spotlight will be on their distinctive Australian ‘accent’, with the ASQ members playing on a matched set of eighteenth century instruments made by Italian Luthier Giovanni Battista Guadagnini, on loan for the Quartet’s exclusive use through the generosity of Ulrike Klein and UKARIA.
The first time I watched and listened to Slava Grigoryan play was as a teenager when he breathed new life into the traditional classical guitar works I loved. He also began a rocket ride to new heights of excellence for the classical guitar in Australia, as he gradually developed a national and then an international reputation for both virtuosity and versatility. To date he has played with many famous orchestras of the world, often with jazz musicians, and most notably with his brother Leonard Grigoryan.
This collaboration with the Australian String Quartet is an exciting one as they have also come together to make three world-premiere recordings.
The first work on the program is entitled Migration; a contemporary composition by celebrated American jazz guitarist, composer and bandleader Ralph Towner, it is all about ‘dissolving the boundaries of the jazz and classical styles.
The second showcases the instruments played in their own right and comes from the Austrian jazz guitarist and record label owner Wolfgang Muthspiel.
Muthspiel formed the MGT trio with Slava Grigoryan and Ralph Towner in 2008, and for this work he fused together two different musical genres to complete what has been described as ‘an interactive web of equal voices’.
The third is by award winning Australian composer music director and cellist Iain Grandage who as a music director has won Helpmann Awards. He also collaborates with the brilliant award-winning singer-songwriter Kate Miller-Heidke and comedian, actor, composer, songwriter, pianist and director Tim Minchin.
The program concludes with the epic, final string quartet of the divinely gifted true poet Franz Schubert (1797-1828) who left a legacy of unspoiled idealism.
In his short time on earth Schubert composed music that illuminated his own frugal everyday existence from when he was a choir boy until he played the violin in an orchestra, while studying and writing some of the gems of musical literature, as well as instrumental works written for Viennese dilettante groups that were also admired by his warm circle of friends.
ABC Classics have recently released the ASQ Migration album of their works for the quintet genre, which was first forged during the so-called Baroque period of music (1600 – 1750). At the time, mastering the string quartet for any young musician was basically a prerequisite for being recognised as a serious composer evident in publications of the era.
No doubt you and your friends and family will be warmed considerably by the music played on both the album and the tour with Slava Grigoryan and the Australian String Quartet. Being there means you will enjoy a penultimate experience first hand.
Carolyn McDowall, The Culture Concept Circle, 2017
Dale Barltrop violin I
Francesca Hiew violin II
Stephen King viola
Sharon Grigoryan cello
Migration Concert Tour
Perth, Tuesday 23 May 7pm, Government House Ballroom
Canberra, Sunday 28 May 2pm, Gandel Hall, National Gallery of Australia
Brisbane, Monday 29 May 7pm, Conservatorium Theatre
Adelaide,Tuesday 30 May 7pm, Adelaide Town Hall
Sydney, Wednesday 31 May 7pm, City Recital Hall
Melbourne, Monday 5 June 7pm, Melbourne Recital Centre
RALPH TOWNER b.1940
WOLFGANG MUTHSPIEL b.1965
- I. Introduction – One More for Igor?
- III. Laws of Perspective
IAIN GRANDAGE b.1970
- I. Più mosso
- II. Adagio –?
- III. Subito allegro?