Francesca Hiew

Virgin Australia Voyeur - - STARS OF 2018 -

She picked up a vi­o­lin aged four. By nine, Francesca Hiew was per­form­ing in New York. At 31, as the vi­o­lin­ist in the Aus­tralian String Quar­tet, she tours na­tion­ally sev­eral times a year, and spends con­sid­er­able time teach­ing and men­tor­ing — with 2018 be­ing one of her busiest years yet.

“We went to China this year, where we worked with the stu­dent string quar­tets at the Bei­jing Cen­tral Con­ser­va­tory,” Hiew says. “On all our tours, we make sure we put aside a few days so we can work with schools and help out.”

Hav­ing just per­formed with the Syd­ney Dance Com­pany and com­plet­ing a tour of Italy, Hiew says the quar­tet isn’t afraid of per­form­ing in non-tra­di­tional venues. “We’ve played in pubs, in a bike shop, on a skate ramp in Ade­laide, in restau­rants, bars, a florist shop,” she re­calls. “A hun­dred years or so ago, we moved ev­ery­thing to concert halls, and that’s some­thing that made clas­si­cal mu­sic seem more elite — whereas it was al­ways meant as mu­sic for the peo­ple, played in homes, just part of life.

“Now I feel it’s seen as a lux­ury item, and I don’t think that’s the case at all, so we’d love to get away from that,” she con­tin­ues. “We have a fo­cus on not just school ed­u­ca­tion, but au­di­ence ed­u­ca­tion too, we want to play for as many peo­ple as we can, open peo­ple’s minds to mu­sic, in dif­fer­ent set­tings.”

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