acacia quartet

Founded in 2010 by violinists Lisa Stewart and Myee Clohessy, violist Stefan Duwe and cellist Anna Martin-Scrase, Acacia Quartet has quickly won great respect for their versatile and inventive programs which often couple established repertoire with the unorthodox. In 2013 Acacia was nominated for both an ARIA Award and an APRA-AMCOS Art Music Award. Their performances feature regularly on ABC Classic FM and Fine Music 102.5.

In just five years Acacia has released as many albums, including their ARIA-nominated recordings of songs with soprano Jane Sheldon, North + South and their collaboration on I Was Flying (Winter Love) by and with pianist/composer Sally Whitwell and the complete string quartets of Elena Kats-Chernin, Blue Silence (Vexations840), selected as ‘Editor’s Choice’ in Limelight Magazine, ‘CD of the Week’ on ABC Classic FM and nominated for a 2013 APRA-AMCOS Art Music Award.

In addition to their special relationship with composers Elena Kats-Chernin and Lyle Chan, Acacia has collaborated with composers Eric Whitacre, Gordon Kerry, Joe Chindamo, Joe Twist, Moya Henderson, Jeremy Rose, Andrew Batt-Rawden, Anastasia Pahos, Sally Whitwell, Nicholas Vines and Ross Fiddes. Acacia’s collaborations with performers to date also include singer-songwriter Katie Noonan, vocal ensembles Halcyon and the Song Company, sopranos Jane Sheldon and Anna Fraser, saxophonists Michael Duke and Nick Russoniello, flautists Jane Rutter & Sally Walker, ARIA Award-winning pianist and composer Sally Whitwell, pianists Gerard Willems, ARIA Award-winning Tamara-Anna Cislowska and Philip Shovk, violist Emile Cantor and clarinettists David Griffiths and David Rowden.

So far, Acacia’s engagements included the Melbourne Recital Centre, the Concourse, the National Gallery of Victoria, Woodend Winter Arts Festival, Peninsula Summer Music Festival, Bellingen Music Festival, Music by the Sea, Four Winds, Queer Arts Festival Vancouver and being Ensemble-in-Residence at the Bowral Autumn Music Festival, along with live broadcasts on ABC Classic FM and Fine Music 102.5FM. Acacia Quartet are thankful for the three years they were Artist-in-Residence at Fine Music 102.5. Since 2016 Acacia has their own concert series in the Utzon Room at the Sydney Opera House.

To download a PDF of the Acacia Quartet biography please click here.

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Born in Sydney, Lisa began playing the violin at age five with Hiroko and William Primrose. She continued with Yasuki Nakamura, performing solos throughout Australia and represented Suzuki Australia in Japan, the United States and New Zealand performing Mozart's violin concertos at the age of 11. Furthering her studies with Christopher Kimber, Lisa won several national prizes which provided her scholarship to study in Germany with Igor Ozim and the Amadeus String Quartet.

Highlights include performing and recording with Concerto Koln, Guest Co-Concertmaster with the London Philharmonic Orchestra under Bernard Haitink and solo recordings of Bach Double Concertos with oboist Christian Hommel and violinist Christine Pichlmeier for Naxos with the Cologne Chamber Orchestra. Lisa also recorded French violin sonatas for the Klavins Music label.

Upon returning to Sydney in 2001, Lisa had a wonderful time as Guest Concertmaster at the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra , the West Australian Symphony Orchestra and Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra before beginning her studies at the National Art School. Since 2010 Lisa has loved being a founding member of Acacia Quartet and is very passionate about supporting composers.

Lisa has enjoyed residencies at Arthur Boyd's Bundanon both as a violinist and also as an established illustrator. Her illustrated books Can I Cuddle the Moon?, Mummy's Kisses, Bushland Lullaby, Rainforest Lullaby and Jam For Nana have been published by Scholastic Press and Random House.

To download a PDF of Lisa's biography please click here.

Myee began the violin at the age of ten with Ernest Llewellyn. Within eight years she had won 1st Prize at the QYO National Youth Concerto Competition and started playing with the Australian Chamber Orchestra.

In 1989 Myee left Australia to study with Alice Waten at the Academy for Performing Arts in Hong Kong and then in 1991 to London with Prof. David Takeno at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama. In London, Myee won 1st Prize at the Royal Overseas League Competition and was chosen as Concertmaster of the Jeunesses Musicales World Orchestra.

Her next journey was to Norway in 1994 where she played with the Trondheim Symphony Orchestra as Principal 2nd Violin and then Assistant Concertmaster. Myee also became Artistic Leader of the Arctimus Ensemble, and was invited as Guest Concertmaster of Risor Festival Strings, Norbotten Chamber Orchestra and Guest Associate Concertmaster with the Norwegian Radio Orchestra. As a member of the Norwegian Baroque Orchestra she played at festivals in Schleswig-Holstein, Bremen, Lucerne, Frankfurt, Oslo and Bergen.

Since returning home in 2003, Myee has enjoyed touring with the Australian Chamber Orchestra, playing as Guest Principal with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, Pinchgut Opera, Sydney Philharmonia and the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra and recording for Vexations840 and ABC Classics. The pride of her life, however, is her two beautiful daughters, Freya and Kaia.

To download a PDF of Myee's biography please click here.

Stefan started playing at the age of six with Hedwig Thierfelder in his native Osnabruck, Germany, which let to studies with teachers Marcel Charpentier, Konrad Grahe and Emile Cantor. He also participated in masterclasses with Thomas Brandis and Serge Collot. Upon completing his studies at the Folkwang University of the Arts in Essen he played with many orchestras in Germany including Philharmonia Hungarica, Cologne Chamber Orchestra and Die Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen.

Since immigrating to Australia in 2001 Stefan has regularly played with the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra, the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra and many other ensembles. As soloist he has recorded the Brandenburg Concerto No. 6 for ABC Classics.

With the formation of the Acacia Quartet he has turned his focus to chamber music. Stefan at the Australian Institute of Music.

To download a PDF of Stefan's biography please click here.

Born in Vermont, Anna has been playing the cello since she was nine. At 16, Anna moved to Salzburg, where she completed her Bachelor of Music Performance at University Mozarteum. Anna gained extensive orchestral and chamber experience performing throughout Europe with the Vienna Youth Orchestra, the Salzburg Chamber Soloists, and various quartets and small ensembles before moving to Australia in 2008.

Her southern hemisphere highlights include recording her recent solo CD Verklarung: Ecstatic Exercises for Cello by Australian composer, Moya Henderson; recording numerous cello soundtracks for Sonar Music, for the Australian Film Television and Radio School, and the intensely varied recording and performing schedule of Acacia Quartet.

As a founding member of the Acacia Quartet in 2010, and the jazz duo Double Standard in 2011, Anna celebrates her passion for both classical and contemporary music. She also enjoys teaching students from the very young to the very-young-at-heart from her home studio in Sydney.

To download a PDF of Anna's biography please click here.