Lower Town Hall, Sydney
August 17, 2018

Ensemble Apex might be a student run ensemble, barely two years old, but it’s quickly becoming one of the most exciting new groups on the Sydney scene. Based at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and led by Sam Weller, the ensemble gave its first performance in 2016 and has since played with Lorde on 2DAY FM, performed at VIVID Sydney, launched a chamber music series, and delivered programs of both new music and orchestral canon masterpieces, joined by some of classical music’s hottest rising stars.

The centrepiece of Ensemble Apex’s 2018 season was a performance of Bartók’s Miraculous Mandarin, complete with new choreography danced by a cast from Sydney Dance Company’s Pre-Professional Year, the finale of a dynamic and eclectic concert in Sydney’s Lower Town Hall.

Ensemble Apex’s remit is wide-ranging: the first half of the concert opened with a slinky reading of Ravel’s Introduction and Allegro (Will Nichols taking the prominent harp part) before the world premiere of Josephine Macken’s densely textured wind quintet Lacerations II, which saw the instruments’ edges frayed and distorted through live electronics, the quintet eventually dropping out completely as the digital sounds took over. The set ended with...