Francesca Hiew - violin
A musician of diverse interests and influences, Francesca Hiew has maintained a multifaceted career. Prior to joining the Australian String Quartet as Second Violinist and Co-Artistic Director in 2016, Francesca was a full-time member of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, a core member of the Melbourne Chamber Orchestra and a founding member of the Auric Quartet. She has performed as a soloist with the Melbourne Chamber Orchestra, Orchestra Victoria and Corpus Medicorum.
Francesca enjoys teaching and coaching chamber ensembles - regularly tutoring for the Australian Youth Orchestra, Elder Conservatorium and the Australian National Academy of Music. A former student and fellow of the Australian National Academy of Music, Francesca is passionate about fostering future chamber musicians and audiences.
Image © Jacqui Way
Growing up as the second youngest of seven children in Brisbane, Francesca began learning the violin at the age of four at the Stoliarsky School of Music and from the age of nine, participated in international tours as an ensemble member and soloist, performing for Felix Andrievsky, Kurt Sassmanshaus, Paul Kantor and Dorothy DeLay.
Many international music tours and family holidays throughout her upbringing have instilled in Francesca a love of travel, culture and food, along with immense gratitude to be able to play music around the world.
Francesca plays a 1748-49 Guadagnini Violin, Piacenza, generously on loan from UKARIA.
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Image © Jiyang Chen
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Richard Narroway - cello
Praised by Gramophone Magazine for his “captivating sensitivity” and “exhilarating authority,” Australian cellist Richard Narroway enjoys an international career as a sought-after performer, recording artist, and teacher.
Richard’s numerous competition titles have contributed enormously to his reputation as one of his generation’s most notable artists. These include top prizes at the 2010 Stulberg International String Competition, Third Beijing International Cello Competition, and the Australian Youth Classical Music Competition. In addition he was a past recipient of the prestigious Australian Music Foundation Young Musician Award, an honour reserved for Australia’s most promising young artists. Most recently he was named winner of The Music Trust's 2020 Freedman Classical Fellowship, awarded to an exceptional instrumentalist annually.
He has given performances across Australia, North America, Europe, and Asia, in prestigious venues such as the Kennedy Center, Chicago Symphony Center, Koerner Hall, and the Sydney Opera House. Other recent highlights include a recital of the complete Piatti Caprices at the Sala Piatti, a historic venue in the composer’s hometown of Bergamo, Italy, which received stellar reviews from the local press; as well as a performance of Tan Dun’s Cello Concerto at the 2017 Aspen Music Festival, which was selected as one of the top 12 performances of the season by The Aspen Times.
In 2017, Richard made his recording debut with Bach’s Six Cello Suites, released to international acclaim. Gramophone described the recording as “riveting…an adventure in expressive possibility.” Since its release the album has been streamed over a million times, and continues to gain impressive traction around the world.
A passionate advocate of new music, Richard's collaborative projects with composers have taken him all around the globe, resulting in premiere performances in the United States, China, Australia, and New Zealand. From 2016-18 he performed as part of the resident contemporary ensemble at the Aspen Music Festival, premiering dozens of new works. In 2018 he also became a founding member of the Four Corners Ensemble (4CE), a group dedicated to celebrating diversity through new music. Since its inception, 4CE has been featured in collaborations and residencies with the Hartford Opera Theater, the Shanghai Conservatory of Music, the University of Michigan, and the Hartt School.
Deeply committed to community engagement and innovation, he takes a particular interest in devising projects that bring classical music to a wider audience. In 2019 he completed a video series involving tutorials of the twelve Piatti Caprices, uploaded on YouTube. In addition, from 2016-18 he served as Co-Founder and Artistic Director of Chamber Music Michigan, an organization committed to bringing chamber music to communities across the state. He also enjoys cross-disciplinary collaborations, such as his work in 2015 with the Mark Morris Dance Group’s Dance for PD (a project offering dance classes for people with Parkinson’s disease) to produce a recording of the Bourrées from Bach’s Cello Suite no. 3 as part of a global repertory project to be used by the 100 Dance for PD classes around the world. In the same year, Richard embarked on a multi-state tour around Australia performing and presenting the complete Bach Suites as well as a selection of contemporary Australian compositions in an effort to share the music through concerts, educational workshops and various events. Aside from the artistic and educational components of this project, Richard was also interested in bringing attention to Australia's natural landscapes and cultural history. He highlighted this perspective by recording distinctly Australian works in unique settings around the country.
Richard's former teachers and mentors include Hans Jensen, Richard Aaron, David Finckel, and Brinton Smith. He also enjoyed early studies with Susan Blake and Takao Mizushima in Sydney, Australia. He earned degrees from the Juilliard School and Northwestern University's Bienen School of Music, before completing a Doctorate at the University of Michigan, where he also served as teaching assistant. In 2018 he was named a Rebanks fellow at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, where he served as teaching assistant to professor Hans Jensen. Currently, Richard is Lecturer in Cello at the prestigious Melbourne Conservatorium of Music, University of Melbourne.
Laurence Matheson - piano
One of Australia’s most exciting young musicians, Laurence Matheson is in demand across the country as a soloist, chamber musician and collaborative pianist. He studied at the Australian National Academy of Music with Timothy Young as one of their youngest ever students and became a Fellow of the Academy in 2016 after winning the Directors’ Prize.
Laurence is regularly broadcast on ABC Classic and 3MBS FM, and has appeared as soloist with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, the Queensland Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra Victoria and the Australian Ballet, as well as in recital at the Melbourne Recital Centre and Sydney Opera House. His festival appearances include the Bendigo, Dunkeld, Brisbane Baroque, Music by the Springs and Melbourne Festivals and he was invited to perform alongside many of Australia’s greatest musicians at the Melbourne Recital Centre’s 10th Anniversary Gala concert. He records for Decca Classics and ABC Classic.
Laurence has a particular passion for chamber music and has performed with the Aurora Ensemble, Anthony Marwood, the Australian String Quartet and Kathryn Stott, while his regular duo partners include Suyeon Kang, Grace Clifford, Dale Barltrop, Sophie Rowell, and Tim Young. He is also a mentor and pianist for many of Australia's promising young violinists, including Decca Artist Christian Li and Edward Walton, as well as appearing in recital with some of Australia and the world’s top musicians.
Aside from piano, Laurence has also play-directed multiple concerto projects from the keyboard, is an accomplished harpsichordist and was commissioned to write for Victorian Opera's 2012 production of Cinderella during composition studies with Richard Gill.
Image © Pia Johnson