I am very excited to confirm today that I will be very shortly writing my Third String Quartet. It is being commissioned by the Tank Stream Quartet
, a brilliant Australian group. Despite the members being relatively young (late 20s) and the quartet not being long-established they have enjoyed a meteoric rise, winning First Prize in the 2002 4th Osaka International Chamber Competition, touring internationally and being chosen as cultural ambassadors to represent Australia at the recent Danish Royal Wedding. They are currently resident in Berlin and are participating in a mentorship with the famed Alban Berg String Quartet. I find this very exciting to learn - the Alban Berg String Quartet is one I listened to and adored as a child. While in Europe they have been involved in some exciting collaborations including with cellist Peter Wispelway and they will be back in Australia in November to record two CDs for ABC Classics. This all started just over a year ago when one day in my car I heard some incredibly vibrant and expressive string quartet playing on the radio - it was the Ravel String Quartet and the playing was superb, particularly the beautiful intonation. When I heard the announcer say that it was the Australian quartet Tank Stream I immediately contacted them and offered my services to compose for them. I was fortunate as they had not yet commissioned an Australian composer but wanted to move in that direction. I sent them a recording of my first two string quartets, they liked them and the ball began to roll. With the announcement today that the Australia Council
is funding them to commission me the story is complete - bar the writing and playing of course! It doesn't always work like that, I have tried to service many items on my wish-list to no avail - but this one worked and I'm glad. I must confess that major projects and prospects have been lean on the ground since I returned from overseas three months ago - a much needed antidote today.