Migration, a brave and intriguing programme, featured two new works in the first half for String Quartet and Guitar and Schubert’s epic String Quartet in G D.887 in the second. The vibe in the Theatre was receptive to the new. First came American Composer Ralph Towner’s Migrationa work in one long movement with a play on the simultaneous use of major and minor harmony, the use of a rhythmical frame of three pitted against another of two and the use of repetition.

Slava Grigoryan was commanding in the stretchy, chatty interchanges with the Quartet. At times, it was as if the guitar was saying, “Yes but…” in response to discursive phrases flaunted by the strings. Grigoryan’s command and brilliant execution of the florid solos and relentless, unstoppable drive carried the work.

Australian String Quartet, Slava Grigoryan Dale Barltrop, Francesca Hiew, Slava Grigoryan, Stephen King, Sharon Grigoryan. Photo © Mark Turner

To be fair, the writing favours the guitar but Towner’s exploration of the String Quartet’s possibilities in tonal variation and virtuosic capacity was less convincing. Overall, the work conveyed a homogenous sound hub enlivened by Grigoryan’s sparkling guitar. The final section’s...