Contrasting light and darkness, SA’s internationally celebrated Zephyr Quartet are gearing up for another beautiful play of duality, and semi-improvisation.
Set in the Waterhouse Workers Hall late this month, Zephyr Quartet will return for a second run of their show, Between Light. Playing with the Italian term ‘chiaroscuro’ as their genesis, the quartet has plucked their strings for an outing of light and darkness, where audiences become participants during the night’s processes. Occupying a manifold of rooms within the heritage hall, audiences will actively participate under the guidance of the quartet, as each composition houses its own space. Together with esteemed lighting designer, Geoff Cobham, the quartet will collaborate both sonically and visually, creating a space filled with sound and imagery. Attributed for being Australia’s most, “lateral thinking and inventive ensemble” Zephyr Quartet promises an emotionally captivating performance. Departing from the conventional concert and recital formats, the quartet hopes to unify the compositions of music, lighting and space. The quartet’s founder and cellist, Hilary Kleinig anticipates the five day shows for its unpredictability and distinctive, charming, set of performances. “It’s a conversation between the theatre and lighting that’s responding to the music, but also a conversation with the space that we’re in —the acoustics and the feel, how the audience reacts being in that space,” Kleinig says. “We’re really excited to explore how using a different space adds a different quality to each of the pieces. Collectively we love that space and have great expectations.” Also in alignment with the quartet’s message is the idea of leniency, exercising a medium that migrates from semi-improvised and fully scored music. In late 2013, the quartet commissioned five renowned contemporary Australian artists who each created a score for the show. “The composers that wrote these pieces were from jazz backgrounds, so very much of what they do is improvisation. We encouraged them to include these elements of improvisation in the pieces, but also not feel like they have to write jazz in a vertical style,” says Kleinig, “We gave them free range and I think they really enjoyed that.” “For the audience it would be difficult to tell what elements are improvised and what ones are not, but knowing that some of it is makes for a really interesting performance experience for us players but also for audience members —I think that’s exciting.”
On that same note, audience members are not going unnoticed either, together moving into the different spaces with the quartet.
“This isn’t a passive experience,” says Zephyr Quartet’s Hilary Kleinig
Since their formation in 1999, Zephyr Quartet have sustained a reputation that challenges tradition and invites commentary on the relationship between society and art. Supplementary to their performances, the string family welcome an ensemble of instruments in their works including drums, as well as working with singers, instrumentalists and electronic artists. “We’re always looking to work with artists and musicians who share our interest in stepping outside the boundaries of genre and allowing other influences to inform their work.” Earlier this year, the quartet presented their sell-out world premiere of Exquisite Corpse at the Adelaide Festival of Arts, and earned a Ruby Award for their 2014 project Music for Strings and iThings. “I think one of the reasons why we’ve been so successful is because we’ve kept going, and in that time we’re constantly recessing what we are doing, what we’re interested in exploring —what works and what doesn’t.” Zephyr Quartet at Waterhouse Workers Hall Saturday, July 2 and Sunday, July 3, 5.30pm Wednesday, June 29, Thursday, June 30, Friday, July 1, Saturday, July 2, 8pm vitalstatistix.com.au