plex·us noun \ˈplek-səs\
1. a network of anastomosing or interlacing blood vessels or nerves;
2. an intertwining combination of parts or elements in a structure or system [from Latin plectere "to braid" (past participle plexus) from Greek plekein "to plait, twine," plektos "entwined," from Proto-Indo-European root *plek- "to plait, twist, entwine"]
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 100 composers, and has given over 80 world premieres. PLEXUS seeks to involve both Australian and overseas writers, film-makers, actors, directors, poets, choirs, and visual artists, as well as guest instrumentalists and vocalists, as part of its ongoing commitment to synthesising creative links across multidisciplinary artistic networks.
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 performs regularly at the Melbourne Recital Centre, and has performed in Adelaide at Elder Hall, in Hobart at St Michael’s Collegiate School, and in Canberra at the National Gallery of Australia. The ensemble has appeared as part of several festivals and series, including Port Fairy Spring Music Festival, Metropolis New Music Festival, ABC Sunday Live, Medley Hall Concert Series, and Macedon Music Series. In addition, PLEXUS has given several concerts at the Tallis Pavilion Beleura, and at Deakin Edge, Federation Square.
PLEXUS have been honoured for their work, as fellows of Medley Hall at the University of Melbourne, as mentors for the Australian Youth Orchestra, Monash University and Rehearsal Magazine, as recipients of the MRC Contemporary Masters Award, and as shortlisted finalists in the Melbourne Prize for Music 2016 Outstanding Musicians Award. In 2017, the trio collaborated with Victorian Opera, workshopping then live streaming three new chamber operas, after “Three Tales” by Gustave Flaubert. In 2018, PLEXUS is invited to be Artist-in-Residence with Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.
PLEXUS is exclusively supported by private donations, and all funds raised are dedicated to the commissioning and presentation of new music and collaborations.