astra chamber music society

  musical director: John McCaughey

Astra presents Three Solo Recitals

Sometimes in musical history, the best players are also the ones doing the newest things! In this group of three concerts of the Astra season, a gallery of noted Australian performers in the domains of string, keyboard and wind instruments offer distinctive versions and visions of contemporary playing.

Concert 4 - Sunday 17 August, 5 pm

Church of All Nations, Carlton
180 Palmerston Street (corner Drummond Street)

Erkki Veltheim, solo and trio: new work in improvisation, composition and electronics

Erkki Veltheim – violin, composition with Scott Tinkler (trumpet) and Anthony Burr (bass clarinet)

Erkki Veltheim is a performer of near-legendary skills on both violin and viola, and a current holder of a Sidney Myer Creative Fellowship. He also stands at the forefront of new work crossing boundaries between improvisation and composition, electronics and vernacular idioms, and is active as performer and composer in many countries.

In this program he is joined by two other Australian international musicians of similar distinction, Anthony Burr and Scott Tinkler. The concert creates a rare opportunity to hear, in the first part, three leading exponents of improvised music together and, in Part II, Veltheim’s newest work in violin and electroacoustics, developed during his Australia Council residency at the Cité International des Arts in Paris in 2012.

Bookings at or phone 9326-5424

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Concert 5 - Saturday 30 and Sunday 31 August, 5 pm [2 performances]

The Eleventh Hour Theatre
170 Leicester Street, Fitzroy

Michael Kieran Harvey: Inferno after Dante

Michael Kieran Harvey, piano
Elliott Gyger Inferno, after Dante (2013)

This concert brings together the advanced composing and performing skills of two leading Australian musicians, combined in an unusual phenomenon - a single, hour-long piano composition for virtuoso performer, inspired by the scope and content of Dante’s vision of Hell.

A winner of the 2013 Paul Lowin prize for Australian compositions, Elliott Gyger has a large output of works embodying a diversity of culture and techniques within a single composition. His Inferno creates a series of graphic tableaux, with influences from Liszt, Messiaen, Carter, Ligeti and Birtwistle. The enormous contemporary repertoire of pianist Michael Kieran Harvey was thus brought to bear in preparing this performance over the last 18 months.

Bookings at or phone 9326-5424

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Concert 6 - Friday 12, Saturday 13 and Sunday 14 September, 8 pm

Mission to Seafarers, the Norla Dome
717 Flinders Street, Docklands

Aviva Endean: in the half light - immersive clarinets

Aviva Endean, clarinet, bass clarinet and contrabass clarinet
Music by Claudio Ambrossini, Gérard Grisey, Alvin Lucier, Salvatore Sciarrino and Aviva Endean

In earlier eras, practioners of classical music have been more alert than the common practice of our own time to the spatiality and acoustics of music, and its reception by the audience. A classic reverberant domed space at the Mission to Seafarers – truly one of Melbourne’s unique acoustic environments – becomes a vehicle for Aviva Endean in a special range of recent repertoire for clarinet, bass and contrabass clarinets, to engage the listener in new acoustic and directional experiences.

The space itself seems to playing along, and each chair in the room has its own distinctive point of hearing. Aviva Endean’s extended contemporary skills in the three instruments lead into her own compositions as well: an exploration of sound in light and light in sound, each at their thresholds of perception.

Bookings at or phone 9326-5424

Astra's 2014 program now available

Download it from here or use our contact form to request a copy in the mail. Why not join our mailing list while you are there?

Sound and Space: Astra and Architecture

'Music always interacts with the architecture in which it is heard, although classical music practice is sometimes slow to realize this. In Melbourne many of the best concert-spaces are buildings not built for that purpose – the splendid heritage of public and ecclesiastical constructions from the first 100 years of the city’s history, as well as industrial and more recent buildings.'

This site, a collaboration between Astra and Culture Victoria, uses images and recordings to document how musical and architectural designs have formed an interactive partnership over three decades of Astra events.


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