Chamber’s got talent

ACO Collective: This group of emerging talent, including cellist Alexandra Partridge (front right) perform at the MEC tonight. Photo Ken Leanfore

ACO Collective: This group of emerging talent, including cellist Alexandra Partridge (front right) perform at the MEC tonight. Photo Ken Leanfore

Cellist Alexander Partridge, originally from New Zealand, hasn’t explored much of regional Australia. But, as a member ACO Collective, she is getting the chance to do just that on tour with Finnish string quartet Meta4.

They will be in concert at the Manning Entertainment Centre, Friday, September 16, at 7.30pm. ACO Collective artistic director Pekka Kuusisto invited Meta4 to lead ACO Collective in a regional tour – Beethoven & Mendelssohn – featuring works by Webern, Jaakko Kuusisto, Mendelssohn, Australian composer Peter Sculthorpe, and Beethoven’s last complete work, String Quartet in F major, Op.135.

The Australian Chamber Orchestra, based in Sydney, auditions emerging artists to the age of 26, for the ACO Collective. It features a group of 17 players at any time. “I’m lucky they picked a few from Melbourne,” Partridge said. The “out-of-towners” are flown to Sydney for three day’s rehearsal before a tour, and use a website to study the music in preparation for rehearsal. “It’s pretty intense.”

“Pekka is phenomenal, he is so gifted,” Partridge said, “and Meta4 are unbelievsable musicians. They have such a great approach.”  She said Kuusisto is “a rockstar in this industry” and its “awesome” to work with him. 

Partridge said most of the collective are students or have recently graduated. “It’s a good insight into the life of a professional musician.” She is in her third and final year at Australian National Academy of Music, and must decide how to pursue her career come December. “It’s nerve-wracking. I would like to do master studies in Germany.” She has done a post graduate degree and works part-time doing marketing for an arts organisation. 

Partridge says Beethoven’s quartet piece is difficult but having Meta4, who have played it before, leading the collective is so helpful. “It’s a nice range of pieces. All have interesting moments.” Her favourite piece is Kuusisto’s Wilma, Op. 27. “It has a great variety of colours and fun rhythms, and it’s epic for cello as it’s so high up in register.” The concert is 90 minutes with a 20 minute interval.  Book at themec.com.au or call 6592 5466.

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