Barega Sax Quartet presents a program of new Australian compositions which breathe new energy into the sax quartet tradition, yet also transmute the concept entirely. Ball’s multi-movement work Artefacts of an Ancient Future reimagines the sax quartet as a semi-modular ensemble of anachronistic ‘found objects’. Purposefully exploiting hyper-idiomatic sonic and physical “artefacts”, the instruments are variously prepared and extended beyond any traditional concept. This tangential development and experimentation with the saxophone’s tonal concept and physical function has influenced this work’s compositional language and process. With an almost occult, ritualistic sense of melody and rhythm, this work will inspire an audience to reimagine their concept of the saxophone’s sound, while remaining accessible enough to evoke individual meaning within the music.
The Barega Saxophone Quartet was formed in 2007 and is one of Australia’s premier single reed ensembles, performing regularly nationally and internationally. Barega’s lineup consists of Emma Di Marco, Samantha Mason, Andrew Ball, and Ashleigh Porter; all graduates of the Queensland Conservatorium, established educators, and active members of the Brisbane music scene. The group enjoys a versatile and wide-ranging programme of music from French classical repertoire to minimalism and contemporary works, in addition to specializing in compositions of a crossover classical/jazz nature. It’s long been Barega’s goal to commission, perform and promote original Australian repertoire; they have recently worked with composers including Michael BakrnÄçev, Louise Denson, Thomas Green, Catherine Likhuta, Andrew Garton, Nathan Lam, Paul Cutlan, Andrew Kennedy, and Marge Smith. The ensemble has recently collaborated with the Hourglass Ensemble (Sydney), Trichotomy (Brisbane), and the Australian Saxophone Orchestra. Barega has performed nationally and internationally at events including ‘SaxOpen’, Strasbourg, 2015, the Australasian Saxophone and Clarinet Conference, Sydney, 2013; XVI World Saxophone Congress in St Andrews, Scotland, 2012; the Crossbows Festival, Brisbane, 2012; and the Australian Clarinet and Saxophone Festival, Melbourne, 2011. Barega’s debut album “Three Serpents” (2015) is the first volume in a series of recordings capturing their proud tradition of championing new music by Australian composers and arrangers. The ensemble has recently released their second album of new music â€œAbandon Controlâ€ù (2017), and is looking forward to touring to the World Saxophone Congress XVIII in Zagreb, Croatia, in 2018.