Ensemble in Residence
Founded in 2010, Acacia Quartet has won great respect for their versatile and inventive programs which couple established repertoire with the unorthodox. Acacia has recorded nine albums – three of which earned nominations for an ARIA Award for ‘Best Classical Album’ and an APRA-AMCOS Art Music ‘Award for Excellence’. Their CD recordings ‘Blue Silence’, the complete works for string quartet by Elena Kats-Chernin, and ‘An AIDS Activist’s Memoir in Music’, by Lyle Chan, have both received ‘Editor’s Choice’ in Limelight Magazine.
Acacia is passionate about supporting Australian composers, working with young musicians and sharing their love of music with audiences of all ages. Their performances feature regularly on ABC Classic FM, Fine Music 102.5 and Qantas In-flight Entertainment. Acacia’s most recent recording ‘I Was Flying’ with ARIA award-winning pianist and composer Sally Whitwell (ABC Classics) reached #2 on the Classical iTunes Top 100 Chart and became an ARIA finalist in 2015.
In addition to their special relationship with composers Kats-Chernin, Chan and Whitwell, Acacia has worked closely with composers Gordon Kerry, Joe Chindamo, Moya Henderson, Jeremy Rose, Nicholas Vines, Ross Fiddes, Nick Wales, Andrew Batt-Rawden, Alice Chance, Ann Boyd and Joe Twist. They have collaborated with leading Australian pianists Phillip Shovk, Tamara-Anna Cislowska, Gerard Williams, Stefan Cassomenos and Sally Whitwell, clarinettists David Griffiths and David Rowden, violist Emile Cantor, bassoonist Kim Walker, flautists Sally Walker and Jane Rutter, saxophonists Nick Russoniello and Michael Duke, didgeridoo player William Barton, sopranos Anna Fraser, Jane Sheldon, Taryn Fiebig and Amelia Farrugia, guitarist Matt Withers and recorder player Alicia Crossley.
Acacia’s engagements have included the Melbourne Recital Hall, Sydney Opera House, City Recital Hall, The Concourse Chatswood, the National Galleries of VIC and NSW (Resonate Series), the Peninsular Summer Music Festival, the Bowral Autumn Music Festival, Four Winds, Bellingen Music Festival, Macedon Music Society, Noosa Festival and Music by The Sea in Queensland.
Acacia Quartet gave their international debut in Vancouver, Canada at the Roundhouse in June 2016. The following year Acacia was invited by the Christine Raphael Foundation to give their European debut in Berlin, Germany where they performed four concerts and recorded a CD with three string quartets by Günter Raphael. Their most recent CDs were released at the end of 2018. 'Muse' in collaboration with recorder player Alicia Crossley and 'Imaginations' with guitarist Matt Withers.
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Image © Chris Donaldson
Image © Chris Donaldson
Lisa Stewart - violinist
Born in Sydney, Lisa began playing the violin at age five with Hiroko and William Primrose. She continued with Yasuki Nakamura, performing solos throughout Australia and represented Suzuki Australia in Japan, the United States and New Zealand performing Mozart's violin concertos at the age of 11. Furthering her studies with Christopher Kimber, Lisa won several national prizes which provided her scholarship to study in Germany with Igor Ozim and the Amadeus String Quartet.
Highlights include performing and recording with Concerto Koln, Guest Co-Concertmaster with the London Philharmonic Orchestra under Bernard Haitink and solo recordings of Bach Double Concertos with oboist Christian Hommel and violinist Christine Pichlmeier for Naxos with the Cologne Chamber Orchestra. Lisa has also recorded French violin sonatas for Klavins Music label.
Upon returning to Sydney in 2001, Lisa was Guest Concertmaster at the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra, the West Australian Symphony Orchestra and Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra before beginning her studies at the National Art School. Since 2010 Lisa has been a founding member of Acacia Quartet and is very passionate about supporting living composers.
Lisa has enjoyed residencies at Arthur Boyd's Bundanon both as a violinist and also as an established illustrator. She has published nine books with Scholastic Press, Random House and Hachette and is currently working on her thirteenth children's book.
Lisa plays an A.E.Smith violin that was kindly purchased for her.
Image © Jamie Gray
Myee Clohessy - violinist and Artistic Director of BAMF
Myee grew up in Mittagong and started learning the violin aged ten with Ernest Llewellyn. As a schoolgirl at Frensham, she was taught music by Ian Cooper and Roma Dix. By the age of eighteen Myee won 1st Prize at the QYO National Youth Concerto Competition before moving to Hong Kong to study with Alice Waten followed by Prof. David Takeno at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama in London. During these years Myee was joint 1st Prize Winner of the Royal Overseas League Competition and performed in many of the world's great concert halls as Concertmaster of the Jeunesses Musicales World Orchestra.
In 1994 Myee moved to Norway where she played with the Trondheim Symphony Orchestra, as Principal 2nd Violin and then as Assistant Concertmaster. Myee became Artistic Leader of the Arctimus Ensemble and as a member of the Norwegian Baroque Orchestra, played at festivals in Schleswig-Holstein, Bremen, Lucerne, Frankfurt, Oslo and Bergen.
Since returning home in 2003, Myee has toured and recorded with the Australian Chamber Orchestra, Australian Brandenburg Orchestra and Pinchgut Opera. She has been Guest Principal with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, Sydney Philharmonia and Pacific Opera and has recorded for Vexations840, ABC Classics and Fine Music 102.5 FM. Myee became Artistic Director of the Bowral Autumn Music Festival in 2014 and formed the Highlands Music Collective and The Roma Strings in 2019.
Image © Chris Donaldson
Stefan Duwe - violist
Stefan started playing at the age of six with Hedwig Thierfelder in his native Osnabruck, Germany, which led to studies with teachers Marcel Charpentier, Konrad Grahe and Emile Cantor. He also participated in masterclasses with Thomas Brandis and Serge Collot. Upon completing his Bachelor of Music in 1992 at the Folkwang Hochschule in Essen he played with many orchestras in Germany including Philharmonia Hungarica, Cologne Chamber Orchestra and Die Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen.
Since immigrating to Australia in 2001 Stefan has regularly played with the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra, the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra and many other ensembles. As a soloist he has recorded the Brandenburg Concerto No. 6 for ABC Classics.
With the formation of the Acacia Quartet in 2010 he has turned his focus to chamber music. In 2016, Stefan performed a duo at the Bowral Autumn Music Festival with his former teacher, mentor and dear friend, Prof. Emile Cantor on viola. Together with Acacia Quartet, they toured their 'Phantasy' program in Sydney, Melbourne and regional NSW.
Image © Jamie Gray
Anna Martin-Scrase - cellist
Born amongst the maple-covered hills of Vermont, USA, Anna began playing the cello at age nine. She moved to Salzburg, Austria at the age of 16, where she lived for the next 10 years. She completed a Bachelor of Music Performance at Mozarteum University Salzburg, studying cello with Astrid Sultz, Michael Tomasi and Heidi Litschauer. Whilst in Austria, Anna performed with the Salzburg Chamber Soloists, the Salzburg Cathedral Ensemble and at the Salzburg Festival with her quartet.
Since moving to Sydney in 2008, Anna has played Principal Cello with the Sydney Philharmonia Orchestra and Pacific Opera and recorded for Vexations840, AFTRS, Sonar Music and a solo album of Moya Henderson’s Ecstatic Exercises for Solo Cello. She was one of the founding members of Acacia Quartet in 2010 and has enjoyed discovering the east coast of Australia by performing at festivals and music societies with Acacia
Anna plays on a Frederic Chaudiere cello that was kindly purchased for her.