Arts & Entertainment

Flinders Quartet Digital Concert

Photo: Agatha Yam

Flinders Quartet, Melbourne’s longest running professional string quartet will soon premier Hidden Thoughts II: Return to Sender.

From renowned Australian composer Katy Abbott, the brand new work for female voice, narrator and string quartet will be performed and streamed live across Australia, straight from the Melbourne Digital Concert Hall at 7pm on July 23.

Katy was inspired to write the piece as a musical response to the letters of comfort and encouragement which many Australians wrote to asylum seekers detained on Nauru. The piece incorporates verbatim theatre, spoken word, song, and visual elements to symbolise the moving number of Australians who wrote those letters to people they had never met.

Flinders Quartet will perform alongside three time Green Room Award winner and 2018 Helpmann Award nominee, mezzo-soprano Dimity Shepherd. The concert will be narrated by actor and performed Richard Piper.

Zoe Knighton, the quartet’s artistic spokesperson and cellist said, “Performing this work provides us with a rare opportunity to be a voice for those who haven’t been able to have had their words heard.

In an interview with City Hub, when asked what drew her to the letters, Katy answered, “I remember hearing the original call to Australians to write a letter of support or encouragement that would make its way to an individual person seeking asylum on Nauru. I always intended to write a letter and never got around to it.

In 2017 I was finishing a work Hidden Thoughts where I used the hidden thoughts of women as the text in the piece and I found myself reflecting on other ‘hidden thoughts. I simply knew I wanted to be part of giving the thoughts in the letters air time – in the hope the intended recipients may hear them. This work is now my letter.”

When asked how they hope to impact viewers with their music, Zoe responded, “It has been our mission since we began in 2000 to break down the normal barriers perceived around ‘stuffy classical chamber music.’

In a piece like this which is fairly epic in scale, the benefit is that there is a great scope for variation of mood, texture and pacing. This piece is perfectly paced, and like a great TV drama which will make you laugh and then a page later, reach for a tissue or groan in despair and anger, the timing is universally brilliant.

Jul 23. Online streaming. $20+b.f. Tickets & Info: www.melbournedigitalconcerthall.com

By Rida Babar

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