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  • Mandy Plumb


There is something magical, almost ethereal about the Australian String Quartet (ASQ). At their recent Brisbane Powerhouse concert featuring works by Benjamin Britten, David Paterson, and Beethoven, each artist became one with their instrument; and yet when they performed, they weren’t a quartet—they were one virtuosic union.

The South Australian quartet comprises of Dale Barltrop (violin), ‘Franny’ Francesca Hiew (violin), Christopher Cartlidge (viola), and Michael Dahlenburg (cello). And with half of the artists originally from Brisbane, the quartet were clearly at home in the Brisbane Powerhouse.

One could only marvel at their effortless transition between the contrasting composition styles that made up the programme. And what a superb programme! ASQ certainly lived up to their reputation of programming the most interesting works, bringing just the right amount of light and shade to an 80-minute concert.

Most notable was the Brisbane premiere of Paterson’s String Quartet No.1. If you just closed your eyes, listened, and let your imagination wander, the original work took you on a journey through grassy fields on a crisp autumn day through to a cold, lonely and rainy night in the city, as well as quality time at home with loved ones.

There is no doubt that ASQ is Australia’s finest string quartet who continue to remain relevant for all audiences.

To find out where and when ASQ will be performing next, visit


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