Pietra Quartet brings Beethoven and Debussy to Gerringong

Pietra Quartet.
Pietra Quartet.

Gerringong Music Club welcomes a new and exciting string quartet, Pietra Quartet with principal violinist Anna Da Silva Chen, Ben Tjoa, Justin Julian and Miles Mullin-Chivers. 

The Pietra Quartet was formed in mid-2016 by four Sydney Conservatorium students.

Recently, the group were chosen to participate in the annual Estivo Summer Chamber Music Festival and travelled to Verona, Italy where they received tuition and masterclasses from Eberhard Feltz, Johannes Meissl, Niklas Schmidt and Goetz Richter. 

Their programme includes Bach and Debussy. 

Gerringong Music Club’s last concert of the year was originally advertised as presenting Ana de la Vega and Daniel Röhn but they are unable to come to Australia due to Ana's pregnancy.

The concert is now scheduled for Sunday, November 19 (NOT as originally advertised on November 5) in Gerringong Town Hall at 2pm with Pietra Quartet. 

Tickets are $20 at the door, free for members, children and students. Doors open at 1.30pm. Afternoon tea will be available.

About the quartet

The quartet has worked under the tutelage of Associate Professor Alice Waten and the Goldner Quartet’s Julian Smiles while studying at the Conservatorium.

They have also studied with Alexandru Mihai-Bota and John Harding.

In 2017, the group travelled to Verona, Italy to participate in the annual Estivo Summer Chamber Music Festival, where they received tuition and masterclasses from Eberhard Feltz, Johannes Meissl, Niklas Schmidt and Goetz Richter.

The Pietra Quartet performs frequently, appearing at a wide range of venues, including Sydney Conservatorium of Music, the Great Hall at the University of Sydney, Customs House, the Calyx at Sydney’s Royal Botanical Garden, the Conservatorio di Verona and the Villa Mosconi Bertani winery in Valpolicella.

They have also performed in masterclasses for Takács Quartet violinist Edward Dusinberre and Adelaide Symphony Orchestra cellist Janis Laurs.

The Pietra Quartet is the recipient of the 2017 Westheimer String Quartet Fellowship, which includes a busy program of study, masterclasses, performance and travel.

About the musicians

Anna Da Silva Chen made her solo orchestral debut at the age of thirteen, and has since appeared as a soloist with the symphony orchestras of Sydney, Tasmanian, Adelaide, Canberra, Willoughby, ACO Academy, The Metropolitan, Hopkins Sinfonia, North Sydney, Ku-ring-gai, New South Wales Youth, Queensland Youth and Steel City Strings among others. 

She has performed alongside the Australia Piano Quartet and toured Australia with renowned ensemble Selby & Friends.

Anna has won the Kendall National Violin Competition, National Fine Music 102.5 Young Virtuoso Award, Australian National Youth Concerto Competition and overall prize at the NSW Secondary Schools Concerto Competition.

She was a grand finalist at the ABC Young Performers Awards string finalist for the three preceding years, won prizes at the Gisborne International Music Competition, and was selected as a junior semi-finalist at the Yehudi Menuhin International Violin Competition when she was fifteen.

Benjamin Tjoa has been learning the piano, violin and trumpet since he was 8 years old, and has had a hard time picking a favourite.

In 2012 he completed his Bachelor of Music (Performance), majoring in trumpet, before finishing his Bachelor of Music (Studies) in violin under Alice Waten in 2015.

As a violinist, Benjamin has been a member of the Australian Youth Orchestra and the SSO Sinfonia, as well as being the concertmaster of the Sydney Youth Orchestra and the Sydney Conservatorium of Music Chamber Orchestra.

He has performed as a soloist with the Sydney Youth Orchestra, as well as at the Opera House for concerts dedicated to both Steve Reich and Arvo Pärt.

In 2016, Benjamin was one of the violin fellows as part of the Sydney Symphony Fellowship program and has subsequently gone on to play with the Sydney Symphony and Adelaide Symphony Orchestras.

Justin Julian studies viola with Roger Benedict at Sydney Conservatorium of Music on a full scholarship. After some years on the violin, Justin moved to the viola at the age of 13.

Justin’s orchestral career was kick-started when, at age 15, he was appointed Associate Principal Viola of the Australian Youth Orchestra and Principal Viola of the Alexander Orchestra at AYO National Music Camp in 2014.

From the age of 17, he began working as a casual viola player. Justin now works with the Sydney Symphony, Melbourne Symphony, Tasmanian Symphony, Canberra Symphony, and Opera Australia Orchestras. He is also an Emerging Artist with the Australian Chamber Orchestra in 2017.

Miles Mullin-Chivers is a fourth year Sydney Conservatorium of Music student, currently completing honours.

He began studying the cello in 2002 with Takao Mizushima. I

n 2010, Miles commenced his studies with Susan Blake at the Sydney Conservatorium Rising Stars program on a scholarship. In 2013, he began studying with Julian Smiles, with whom he is still studying today.

He also studied briefly with Fred Sherry (Julliard, New York). In 2016, Miles was fortunate enough to have masterclasses with legendary Li Wei Quin, Phillip Muller, Richard Aaron and Wolfgang Emanuel Schmidt.

Miles has twice travelled to Verona, Italy to take part in the Estivo Chamber Music Festival and in 2017 performed at the Canberra International Music Festival.

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