Sixteen years ago Jane Gower founded the quartet island in order to explore the unjustly neglected early nineteenth century repertoire for bassoon, violin, viola and cello, on the instruments of the era.
In its original configuration of European-based Australian women, island recorded its first CD for Centaur Records; the quartets of François Devienne, a première on historical instruments.
Three further premiere CD’s have followed, all being met with great critical acclaim. The 2004 CD of the three Quartets, Op.40, of Franz Danzi, was awarded 10/10 in Classics Today. For the German label ARS island recorded in 2007 the two quartets of Franz Krommer, Op.46, and J.N.Hummel’s string trio in G, and in 2010 the Grand Quintet and Variations by Anton Reicha.
island has performed extensively throughout Spain, France and the Netherlands, made its Australian debut in the 2001 Barossa Festival, and featured prominently in the 2006 Flanders Festival. The quartet made its second tour for the Dutch Netwerk voor Oude Muziek in 2008 and two years later collaborated with the leading Barossa Valley winery Torbreck Vintners to launch the inaugural chamber music series Barossa Klassik.
As specialists on their period instruments, the four women of island perform, also as soloists, with some of the finest early music orchestras and ensembles throughout Europe, The United States and Australia, such as The English Baroque Soloists, Academy of Ancient Music, The Australian Chamber Orchestra, Les Arts Florissants, The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra, The Orchestra of the 18th Century, and Concerto Copenhagen. In the rarely heard, virtuosic and captivating repertoire for classical bassoon and strings, island unites the wealth of its players’ experience with a unique feminine charm, open expressiveness, drama, and wit.
An island concert contains all the best elements of the circus; breath-taking feats of skill and dare- devilry, humour and beauty.