Australia’s leading international student news website

Multicultural Duomo Quartet through to Asia-Pacific Chamber Music Competition

Elizabeth Yick

Wed Jul 03 2013

Asia-Pacific Chamber Music Competition: Duomo Quartet

BASED in Singapore, and with members from Australia, Hong Kong and China, the Duomo Quartet are giving it all they’ve got at the Asia-Pacific Chamber Music Competition kicking off in Melbourne next week. Elizabeth Yick tells how you too, can listen in. 

Photo: Supplied

The Duomo Quartet. Started in 2011, the musicians met while studying at the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music in Singapore. Photo: Supplied

After a first round of auditions, the Duomo Quartet is through to play in the Asia-Pacific Chamber Music Competition.

Starting in Melbourne next week from July 8 to 14 , it’s a prestigious event bringing together some of the most promising young chamber musicians in the region.

Based in Singapore, the Duomo Quartet was founded in 2011 and is unique in its multicultural approach in the musical education of its members. With members from Australia, Hong Kong and China, the fledgling quartet has also had the privilege of learning and developing under the tutelage of the word-famous T’ang Quartet.

This competition is the quartet’s biggest gig yet.

Besides cash prizes for the winning chamber group, it’s an open door to coveted performance opportunities in festivals and concert halls throughout the Asia-Pacific region. It’s also regarded as a stepping stone to the International Chamber Music Competition.

As part of the Asia-Pacific Chamber Music Competition, participants compete in either of two categories, as part of a piano trio, or in a string quartet. Each ensemble will perform an array of pieces in two separate rounds – ranging from the classical composition of Haydn and Beethoven, to some more modern arrangements from after 1930.

The Duomo Quartet will be performing the Haydn String Quartet Op.77 No.1 and the Beethoven String Quartet Op.95 “Serioso” in the first round, and the Penderecki String Quartet 3 and the Debussy String Quartet in G in the second.

Should they advance into the final round, the quartet plans to perform String Quartet No.3 by Robert Schumann, a work known for its elaborate genius and complex qualities.

The finals are a very exciting prospect for Duomo’s first violinist Monique Lapins.

“There will be opportunities for various performances if we win… and also because the finals will be at the Melbourne Recital Centre which has amazing acoustics,” she says.

She is also looking forward to rubbing shoulders with the competition.

“It will be really interesting to see how other chamber music groups work – what they do differently perhaps and what we might learn from them,” she says.

The Duomo Quartet have some fun off-stage. Photo: Supplied

The Duomo Quartet have some fun off-stage. Photo: Supplied

Ms Lapins has been playing the violin by the Suzuki method since she was six, and had met the other members of the quartet whilst they were all studying at the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music in Singapore. Since then, the four musicians have performed regularly as a quartet around Singapore.

Last year, the quartet was invited to perform at a number of international music festivals in Europe.

Ms Lapins says they have been very lucky to be mentored by the T’ang Quartet who have been “so helpful in all aspects as mentors”.

“They are such talented musicians themselves, it has been a true privilege to work with and learn from them,” she says.

The judging panel, made up of world-famous chamber musicians and chaired by the Concertmaster of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra Wilma Smith, will select up to three ensembles from each category to advance into the final round.

Chamber Music Australia general manager Benjamin Woodroffe expects competition to be stiff with a “remarkably strong field of applicants this year”.

“The calibre of the young musicians selected to compete promises a lively and tremendously exciting week of chamber music competition,” he says.

But what the panel will be looking for ultimately, he says, is a “complete ensemble that has an intelligent knowledge of repertoire and performance”.

What’s playing

To see the talented Duomo Quartet perform alongside some of the best up-and-coming chamber music groups in the Asia-Pacific region, tickets for the competition may be purchased through the Chamber Music Australia website, where further information on the various competition-concerts may also be found.

For those who are uncertain about chamber music as a genre, there will be a free concert held on Saturday July 11 July from 2.30 to 5.30pm at the Elisabeth Murdoch Hall, where a number of community and amateur chamber music ensembles will perform at the Melbourne Recital Centre. Entry to this concert is free, and no booking is required.

Finally, the renowned T’ang Quartet will be performing in a free concert at the ABC Iwaki Auditorium on Monday July 8 at 7.30pm, as an opening act to the Asia-Pacific Chamber Music Competition. Bookings are essential for this concert, and can be made by email. It is a rare chance to witness the performance of an ensemble touted as ‘chamber music royalty’, and this concert is not to be missed by any chamber music enthusiast.

For program and repertoire details as well as venue information, visit the official event site for the Asia-Pacific Chamber Music Competition.