PLEXUS, ENSEMBLE

Melbourne ensemble PLEXUS brings together the talents of three of Melbourne's most vibrant and versatile musicians, Monica Curro (violin), Philip Arkinstall (clarinet), and Stefan Cassomenos (piano).

The name PLEXUS reflects this ensemble's devotion to supporting and engaging an ever-growing network of exceptional artists across a variety of disciplines.

Since launching in 2014, PLEXUS has commissioned over 70 composers, including Ian Whitney, Nicholas Routley, Hugh Crosthwaite, Paul Dean, Daniel Clive McCallum, Michael Kieran Harvey, Gordon Kerry, Richard Mills, Iain Grandage, Paul Grabowsky, Richard Grantham, Michael Knopf, Adrian Hollay, Nicholas Buc, Rob Cossom, Sean O’Boyle, Brigid Bisley, Julian Yu, José Hernán Cibils, Larry Sitsky, Robert Davidson, Gerard Brophy, Lisa Cheney, Sally Greenaway, Sally Whitwell, Maria Grenfell, Nat Bartsch, Jonathan Dreyfus, Sam Dickenson, Tony Gould, Allan Zavod, Lachlan Davidson, Martin Kay, Luke Howard, Stefan Cassomenos, Ian Munro, Mary Finsterer, Martin Bresnick, Kevin March, Joe Chindamo, Warren Lenthall, and Jessica Wells. 

In its first year, PLEXUS premiered 22 new works over a total of 15 performances, including appearances as part of the Festival of Music and Words at fortyfivedownstairs, the Metropolis New Music Festival and the Spotlight series at Melbourne Recital Centre, the Port Fairy Spring Festival, Medley Hall, 3MBS Radiothon, Port Fairy Winter Weekends, Lyrebird Music Society, and ABC Sunday Live.

The 2015 season features world premieres of 23 newly commissioned works, in a program which includes a three-concert series at the Melbourne Recital Centre Salon as part of Local Heroes, a separate three-concert series at Federation Square's Deakin Edge performance space, an artist residency with the Composition Department at Monash University, and numerous other performances as part of various Melbourne series and festivals.

PLEXUS was formed with the express goal of celebrating and continuing the work of the acclaimed ensemble of the same instrumental combination, the Verdehr Trio. Founded in 1972 by Walter Verdehr (violin) and his wife Elsa Ludewig-Verdehr (clarinet), the ensemble commissioned numerous important composers of the late 20th century. PLEXUS brings to Australian audiences the most significant and culturally relevant of these works, and also continues in the Verdehrs' tradition, by commissioning Australian and international composers on a regular basis.

PLEXUS seeks to involve both Australian and overseas writers, film-makers, actors, directors, poets, choirs, choreographers and dancers, as well as guest instrumentalists and vocalists, as part of its ongoing commitment to synthesising creative links across multidisciplinary artistic networks. 

Collaborative artists include Judith Dodsworth (soprano), Natalya Sara Cohen (film maker), Christopher Saunders (tenor), James Vinson (film maker), Michelle Wood (cello), Helen Morse (actor), Paul English (actor), Deborah Cheetham (soprano), Liane Keegan (contralto), Daniel Carison (baritone), Damien Eckersley (double bass), Jacqui Dark (mezzo-soprano), Kanen Breen (tenor), Cameron Menzies (director), and the Royal Melbourne Philharmonic Choir.

PLEXUS has achieved substantial recognition for its work, including receiving a Melbourne Recital Centre Contemporary Masters Award in 2014. The ensemble is exclusively supported by private donations, and all funds raised for PLEXUS as well as all of the trio’s performance fees are dedicated to the commissioning and presentation of new music and collaborations.