AN AMBITIOUS, young chamber music quartet aims to encourage a love of classical music in Australia, particularly in youths.
The Penny Quartet is taking part in a two-week residency at Four Winds, Barragga Bay.
The Melbourne-based quartet’s tenure involves professional development, pop-up shows, workshops, and culminates in a recital at the Four Winds site on Friday, April 3.
Comprising Madeleine Jevons and Amy Brookman on violin, Elliot O’Brien on viola and Gemma Tomlinson on cello, the quartet are either past or current students at the Australian National Academy of Music (ANAM).
Each of the musicians held degrees before starting their studies at ANAM – degrees in music, of course.
“We want to encourage a new way of hearing classical music, showing that it’s not as stuffy as people think it is,” Ms Jevons said.
“Also it’s important for the audience to know it’s okay not to understand the music, you don’t have to analyse it, you can just sit there and listen,” Ms Tomlinson said.
The quartet has played shows to children in the Bega and Bermagui libraries, where some children commented they had never seen an instrument like a violin before.
Being able to expose classical music to young people is something the quartet is very passionate about, as Ms Jevons said many studies have proved playing classical music benefits education.
The Penny Quartet formed in March 2014 inspired by Ms Tomlinson’s cello teacher Howard Penny, from whom they took their name.
“Chamber music is very much part of what we do at ANAM and we were put together initially for an event called the 3MBS Schubert Marathon,” Ms Jevons said.
“They needed a quartet from ANAM so do a piece so we were formed by Howard Penny and it worked quite well.”
Tired of the solo music scene, the quartet love sharing their passion of chamber music with each other.
“You are bouncing off each other, it is so much more enjoyable when you are playing music with other people,” Ms Brookman said.
As they are just beginning their careers the quartet was very appreciative of Four Winds hosting them as resident musicians to help with their professional development.
Despite the challenges ahead, they are committed to the life of chamber musicians.
“It’s really hard work and a really hard commitment for a young person as you need to spend so much time just practicing,” Ms Jevons said.
“But it’s just like any other job in a lot of ways.”
“Except that the hours are more and it pays way less,” Mr O’Brien added.
After their residency, the Penny Quartet are travelling to the US in June for a Summer School at Stanford University and have a concert at the University of Queensland in July, after which they will focus on promoting themselves in the music scene and learning all they can.
“Because, let’s be honest, the ambitions are high,” Ms Jevons said.
Classical performance with ‘gutsy’ sound
THE Penny Quartet will perform at the Four Winds site, Barragga Bay, on April 3 from 3-5pm.
The quartet will perform Haydn opus 76 no: 4 “Sunrise” and Prokofiev String Quartet 1, Opus 50.
The musicians described the Haydn piece as “something you can hum along too”, and the Prokofiev number as a more modern piece with a “gutsy” sound.
The program will include music from the Bega Chamber Orchestra.
Tickets are $20 for adults, $10 concession and children are free.
Bookings can be made at at Four Winds' website.