Last week WASO flew north to once again perform as part of The Karijini Experience, leaving the airport runway for the catwalk.

Joining the event for the fourth time, WASO’s String Quartet performed three concerts to intimate audiences in beautiful natural bushland.

Taking off from Perth, the group landed at Paraburdoo airport before driving to Karijini National Park.

Fotis Skordas (cello) and Cerys Tooby (violin) ready to take off

The touring group comprised of Rebecca Glorie (violin), Cerys Tooby (violin), Rachael Kirk (viola), Fotis Skordas (cello), Alena Tompkins (Executive Manager, Community Engagement & Education) and Tom Rogerson (Production Manager). Camping on site in tents, it was the first time for all six participating in the annual event.

(L to R) Rebecca, Cerys, Alena, Rachael, Tom and Fotis in Kalamina Gorge, Karijini

The group presented three performances in stunning backdrops, showcasing orchestral music in the unique landscapes of the Pilbara.

The Wombat Stew Community Concert provided an opportunity to introduce families to string instruments. Audiences leant about the different sounds the instruments can make, and techniques used to create them. This event provided several new experiences for Alena, who presented her first WASO performance, and sang into a microphone for the very first time!

Wombat Stew Community Concert

Music in the Gorge saw the quartet present 40 minutes of classical favourites in the spectacular Kalamina Gorge. Performers and audiences were welcomed on to Banjima Country by Banjima Native Title Aboriginal Corporation Chair and Elder, Maitland Parker. Tura’s Sonus Ensemble also performed, creating an unforgettable afternoon of music for the audience.

WASO String Quartet perform Music in the Gorge

The Art of Everyday Runway Show completed the trio of performances. The Indigenous Fashion Showcase highlighted more than 30 emerging and established First Nations textile artists from across the state. WASO’s String Quartet performed a selection of Elena Kats-Chernin miniatures to accompany runway walks by Indigenous models in Kalamina Gorge.

Runway Show in the Gorge

The Runway Show was presented in collaboration with The Junction Co., SheOak Lane and curator Emilia Galatis, with Deanna Exeter of The Junction Co. having a very special connection to the event.

“It was a privilege to project manage the show, bringing this ground-breaking experience to life. Working with WASO was, for me, extra special as the orchestra is linked to some of my favourite childhood memories. For Christmas, my grandparents would buy my brother and I tickets to WASO performances. I have beautiful memories of the anticipation when we arrived at Perth Concert Hall, watching the orchestra warm up, and then the music! I was mesmerized and to this day orchestral music still takes me on a journey and fills me with joy.” – Deanna Exeter.

WASO String Quartet with Deanna Exeter of The Junction Co.

To conclude their time in Karijini, the musicians, Alena and Tom attended a special Bush Tucker Degustation Dinner on the final night, a first for everyone and a fantastic way to celebrate the tour.

“We were thrilled to take part in this unique festival in this very special place. I’ve come away with many wonderful memories, but one that will remain with me for a long time is performing Peter Sculthorpe’s 11th String Quartet in Kalamina Gorge surrounded by trees, spinifex and rocks, with the sound of birds and waterfalls in the distance.” – Rachael Kirk.

The Karijini Experience is held on the traditional lands of the Banjima people in Karijini National Park. We respectfully acknowledge the Banjima people, their Elders past, present and emerging and their families. The Banjima people have close associations with Eastern Guruma, Yinhawangka and Nyiyaparli Pilbara language groups, and we thank them all for welcoming us to their Lands. We would also like to thank The Karijini Experience for inviting us to perform once again at this event.