Formed in 2002, Nexas Quartet are focused on promoting the musical diversity of the saxophone, showcasing its versatility and ability to cross genres. The group’s success comes from a combination of personalities, virtuosic saxophone skills, and an ability to program concerts of a wide appeal that has seen the musicians perform in a multitude of settings. This unique approach has enabled Nexas Quartet to perform throughout Australia and internationally, performing a diverse repertoire that reflects their artistic direction. Ranging from transcriptions, standard and contemporary repertoire, to collaborations with theatre companies and premiering and commissioning new works. At the forefront of chamber music, Nexas Quartet are leaders in promoting existing and creating new repertoire for the saxophone quartet.
Over the last couple of years the quartets has developed an ongoing collaboration with opera star Peter Coleman-Wright. This has been highlighted by the 2017 recording ‘Ballads of a Pleasant Life’ for ABC Classics. This collaboration also resulted in the show ‘Composers in Exile’ described thus by Bill Stephens for Arts Review: ‘the brilliance of the five performers, their easy charm and obvious affection and enthusiasm for the material, proved a seductive combination in a presentation which informed the mind while pleasuring the soul’. This collaboration has been presented at the Adelaide Cabaret Festival, The Concourse (Chatswood), Glenn Street Theatre (Canberra), Independent Theatre (North Sydney) and Camelot Lounge (Marrickville).
The Nexas Quartet has always held the creation of new music as one of their prerogatives. This was exemplified by the 2016 release of their debut album ‘Current’, a reflection of their collaboration with leading Australian composers. The recording described by Stephanie Eslake for Limelight as ‘a riveting release’ contains works by Kats-Chernin, Hindson, Skipworth, Rojas and Orlovich. Nexas has continued to commission and perform new works as demonstrated by the 2017 premiere of Jodie Blackshaw’s concerto “Catango 5’ for saxophone quartet and wind band, and in 2018 Mark Oliveiro’s ‘Mega Vignettes’ (Extended Play – City Recital Hall). Other examples of collaborating with Australian composers include Drew Crawford on the Melbourne Theatre Company’s production of Jumpy as well as the 2015 world premiere of Matthew Hindson and Cyrus Meurant’s Romeo and Juliet with the National College of Dance.
Collaborating with a wide range of artists has been at the forefront of Nexas’ endeavours. The quartet has performed with some of Australia’s finest musicians including Gerard Willems AM (pianist), Frank Celata (SSO clarinettist), Daniel Rojas (pianist), Nicky Crayson (jazz vocalist), David Theak (jazz saxophonist and bandleader), Frank Celata (SSO clarinettist) and Peter Coleman-Wright (opera singer).
The quartet has performed at the Australian Festival of Chamber Music in Townsville, Adelaide Cabaret Festival, Melbourne Recital Centre, Sydney Opera House and at World Saxophone Congresses (Scotland, France and Croatia).
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