United by their passion for chamber music, the Enigma Quartet love what they do and relish the opportunity to share the joy of music with audiences around Australia. Comprised of successful artists in their own right, and holding coveted positions in Australia's top orchestras, they love the challenge of performing together despite the difficulties of juggling conflicting work schedules and the mayhem of having young kids.
After welcoming cellist Rowena Macneish in 2011, the quartet won second prize in the prestigious Musica Viva Chamber Music Competition, launching their performing career and introducing them to the St. Lawrence, Goldner, Enso and Takacs Quartets for invaluable masterclass opportunites. They were mentored by Musica Viva under their Rising Stars program in 2012 and have performed at many festivals including the prestigious Huntington Chamber Music Festival in 2015. Enigma have been broadcast across Australia for Sunday Live on ABC Classic FM and have performed regularly in Musica Viva’s Coffee Concert Series.
The quartet enjoy exploring new music and have been fortunate to premiere works by Lachlan Skipworth, Gerard Brophy, Philip Jameson and Alice Chance, as well as collaborations with soprano Emma Matthews, saxophonist Christina Leonard, double-bassist Kirsty McCahon, bassoonist Jack Schiller and the German-based Amaryllis Quartet. The quartet are regulars on the Sydney concert scene where they perform at the Independent Theatre and Sydney Mozart Society amongst other venues.
Enigma have also undertaken one of the most ambitious commissioning and performance projects in recent years, alongside world-renowned shakuhachi master, Riley Lee, to create an entirely new genus of music. The project entitled Five Elements takes the listener on a kaleidoscopic journey through the Australian landscape that traverses universal concepts linking humanity to our natural environment and spiritual core through music.
Drawing inspiration from the belief in many ancient cultures that the entire universe was made of just five fundamental elements, earth, air, water, fire and ether, Riley Lee and the Enigma Quartet have commissioned and selected music from Australia’s finest compositional voices to present a strikingly original concert.
Eight of the Five Elements commissions were made possible with the generous support of the Australia Council for the Arts, and an additional work was commissioned by Riley Lee for the 2008 World Shakuhachi Festival with the support of the Australasia Performing Rights Association. The project has been recorded for digital release on the ABC Classics label and hard copies will be available for sale in the foyer with 10% of artist profits donated to the Australian Koala Foundation. In late February this year the group toured to Hawaii to perform Five Elements for the Honolulu Chamber Music Society – a feat that now seems surreal, not only for its fortuitous timing.