The Chamber Project @ Soultrap Bar

John Ritchie
11th Jun 2019

A unique musical experience can be had in Sydney this winter at the Soultrap Bar in Surry Hills where, together with The Chamber Project, classical music and urban underground life are combined to create an intimate afternoon or evening of music and culture. During this ongoing series of events, Soultrap brings you an up close classical musical experience from some of Sydney's best musicians, allowing you to be immersed in the magic of sound.

On selected afternoons or evenings already locked away during June, July and August, a classical musical performance is provided in a casual setting, where the audience can relax, eat, drink and listen. Award winning musicians who have performed at iconic venues including the Sydney Opera House, go back to their small stage roots showcasing their art in the somewhat different environment of the soothing underground urban bar scene.

On the Queen's birthday holiday this June at Soultrap, I was privileged to take a musical journey with musician Ike See, a violinist who won his first national award at the age of 10 and currently performs with the Australian Chamber Orchestra. Caroline Hopson who plays with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Opera Australia Orchestra and the Australian Chamber Orchestra, performed with Ike, whilst Nathan Greentree on viola and cellist Heather Lindsay, made up the balance of the string quartet.

Sipping Soultrap signature cocktails in the atmospheric basement, the audience spent a captivating afternoon with the quartet performing a range of pieces commencing with a piece from the musical score from the film Mishima composed by Philip Glass. A brief description of the film and it's subject, the Japanese revolutionary and writer Yukio Mishima, set the scene for the music to follow.

This was followed by a piece from Wood Works and the Danish String Quartet with a focus on Nordic folk music. The piece, it was explained, is in three parts,  signifying a wedding ritual still used today on the Danish island of Fanø, a seafaring society, where young marrying couples drink three shots of alcohol, one sweet, one sour and one bitter, to represent the upcoming trials and tribulations of the married lives of seamen and their wives. 

From here the room hung in solemness as the quartet performed Opus 76, No.2 ("Fifths") by Joseph Haydn, a recognisable sad piece often heard at the funerals of the notable. The mournful notes reached in to our souls and the room became still as everyone stopped, to do nothing else but just...listen and reflect. Soon though the mood was lifted again and rebalanced with some more upbeat pieces of folk music. A wonderful afternoon. 

The Chamber Project is being held twice a month through winter and will continue through the remainder of the year across various afternoons and evenings offering a different line up of musicians and music each month. The Nexas Quartet, a Sydney ensemble that promotes the musical plurality of the saxophone with the rhythms and sounds of Buenos Aires as part of their Tango de Saxos performance is lined up to perform over coming weeks in June.

Choose from a number of ticket options starting from $39 per person or indulge a little with a loved one or friend with the ultimate experience for two at $129 which includes entertainment, guaranteed table seating, cocktail of choice including the aptly named ‘Full Symphony’ or ‘Undertone’ and a charcuterie and cheese board with accompaniments, perfect for sharing.

Soultrap is an underground bar located at 70-72 Campbell Street, Surry Hills. Tickets are now available to purchase.