2021 Windsong Series | Concert 1 | Art of the Quartet


Considering the current Covid-19 restrictions in place in NSW and across Australia, and in close consultation with the artists involved, we have had to make the difficult decision to cancel our upcoming performance of “The Art of the Quartet” with musicians from the Melbourne Chamber Orchestra. While as a nation we are becoming more used to these types of directional changes over the past year or so, we do not take this decision lightly: however, the safety of our community is of paramount concern (our artists, our staff, you our audience and our entire local community).

All ticket holders will be contacted individually about options for managing their requirements.

Friday 9 July 2021
Windsong Pavilion
Four Winds
Barragga Bay NSW 2550
$55 General Admission
$35 Concession
Free – 16yrs and under
Free – 2021 Access Pass Holder

Goethe described hearing a string quartet as “akin to a conversation between four sensible people”. Musicians from the Melbourne Chamber Orchestra (MCO) invite listeners into three very different quartet conversations: by its father Haydn, an extraordinary champion in Beethoven, and former Master of the Queen’s Music, Australian composer Malcolm Williamson.

This trilogy of works spans musical worlds far beyond the four voices who bring them to life.

Haydn’s instrumental writing takes on operatic and dramatic intent while also capturing the virtuosic qualities of Bohemian folk music. Composing his 3rd quartet for the Australian String Quartet, Malcolm Williamson maintained a deep affection for his native country often responding through music to political issues, such as Aboriginal rights, a matter close to his heart. Beethoven designated the “serioso” term to his 11th quartet, a work of both quiet and ferocious intensity portraying a man in emotional distress, whose life was full of musical triumph over adversity.

As MCO celebrates 30 years of performances in 2021, Artistic Director William Hennessy AM is joined by Markiyan Melnychenko, Merewyn Bramble and Josephine Vains in a rare foray outside of Victoria, during a year that also marks MCO’s Four Winds debut.


HAYDN String Quartet in B minor Op. 33 No. 1
WILLIAMSON String Quartet No. 3
BEETHOVEN String Quartet No. 11 in F minor Op. 95

The event runs for approx. 90minutes including interval. Bar will be open for drinks purchases during interval.

If you are an existing 2021 Access Pass holder, you can use your Access Pass for this Windsong Event – bookings are required.

Bookings are essential. Read more here about our venue’s Covid-19 protocols, and what to expect when you visit.


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Melbourne Chamber Orchestra is Victoria’s preeminent small orchestra and the leading independent Victorian chamber music organisation. For 30 years, the orchestra has created a distinctive orchestral practice, with a collegial ethos, exploratory programming, and ambitious regional touring. The orchestra’s Artistic Director is William Hennessy AM.

In up to 60 performances and events each season, MCO brings together the state’s most exciting chamber musicians to create music with uncompromising artistic quality, impressive finesse and extraordinary passion.

A performance by MCO conjures both the intimacy and detail of chamber music and the grandeur and spectacle of orchestral music. MCO reinvents itself as chamber music ensembles, a string orchestra and a mini-symphony, curating an eclectic selection of fine music for the enjoyment of thousands of attendees each year.

Through its programming, MCO expands the potential of the chamber orchestra, bringing new musical possibilities to the public. The orchestra performs music from before Bach to tomorrow, opening vibrant windows on our musical heritage while taking our artform into the future. The orchestra has commissioned over 100 new works and arrangements to champion contemporary composition and diversify the orchestral repertoire.

Through its touring, the Orchestra creates powerful fine music experiences to inspire Victorians wherever they are. In 2021, MCO ensembles will present 20 performances on tour for thousands of listeners across the state. The orchestra presents its festival, A Feast of Music, in Daylesford each year.

The orchestra presents a twelve-concert Melbourne orchestral season at the Melbourne Recital Centre, and in 2021 offers its first mini-season at Alexander Theatre, Ian Potter Centre for Performing Arts, Monash University. Broadcasts and streaming by ABC Classic FM and the MBS Fine Music network extend access to its work nationally and internationally.

William Hennessy AM | MCO Artistic Director

William Hennessy AM is the Artistic Director of the Melbourne Chamber Orchestra and has long been acknowledged as one of Australia’s foremost violinists and music educators. He has made over 250 concerto appearances as soloist with Australian orchestras having appeared with almost all of the major Australian symphony and chamber orchestras.

He was the founding leader of The Australian String Quartet 1985–1996, founding deputy leader of the Australian Chamber Orchestra 1975–1977, concertmaster of the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra from 1980-1984 and has been a member for substantial periods of The Macquarie Trio, The Academy of St Martin in the Fields, and The English Chamber Orchestra.

William Hennessy was Head of Strings at Melbourne University from 1997–2006 and an Artist in Residence at ANAM 2007–2014. Many of his former students hold prestigious professional positions and he is a noted developer of young chamber music ensembles and chamber orchestras.

William Hennessy was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia in 2018 for significant service to music.

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