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date: 27 January 2020

Australia Ensemblelocked

  • Peter McCallum


Australian chamber music group. Founded by Murray Khouri and Roger Covell in 1980 as the University of New South Wales Ensemble, it aimed to present varied chamber music programmes with a substantial commitment to new Australian music. The founding personnel were David Bollard (piano), John Harding (violin), Irina Morozova (viola), David Pereira (cello), David Stanhope (horn/second piano) and Murray Khouri (clarinet). Harding was replaced by Dene Olding in 1982 and the flautist Geoffrey Collins joined the group after the departure of Stanhope in 1983. In 1984, with an expanded international touring programme, the name was changed to the Australia Ensemble, reputedly to avoid confusion with groups from Wales. Donald Westlake took over as clarinettist in 1986, and was succeeded by Nigel Westlake (1987), Alan Vivian (1992) and Catherine McCorkill (1995), while Julian Smiles became the group's cellist in 1992. The ensemble is noted for its high performing standards, its variety of repertory and its championship of Australian music. It has toured throughout Australia for Musica Viva and internationally to North and South America, Europe, New Zealand, China, India and Japan. The ensemble's recordings range from Mozart and Beethoven to Dallapiccola and the complete string quartets of Peter Sculthorpe. Its numerous commissions, including works by Gordon Kerry, Roger Smalley, Andrew Schultz, Carl Vine, Nigel Westlake and others, have made a significant contribution to contemporary Australian chamber music....

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