In March 2024 the Brodsky String Quartet gave seven performances of Peter Sculthorpe’s String Quartet No.11 (Jabiru Dreaming) across New Zealand, beginning at the Gisborne War Memorial Museum in Gisborne on 14 March and taking in venues in Christchurch, Dunedin, Wellington, Hamilton, Hastings, and Auckland. The optional didjeridu part for the piece was performed by William Barton, the celebrated exponent of the instrument and longstanding champion of Sculthorpe’s music.

The 15-minute work was commissioned by Musica Viva Australia and premiered with the Kronos Quartet in 1990 at the Adelaide Festival. It is cast in two movements, whose language is suffused by the living, indigenous musics of the Kakadu National Park in northern Australia. The first, marked Deciso, contains rhythmic patterns found in the indigenous music of the Kakadu area, some of which also suggest the gait of the jabiru, a species of stork. The second movement is based upon an Aboriginal chant transcribed by a member of the Baudin exploratory expedition in 1802. This is the first such music committed to Western notation.

Its subtitle Jabiru Dreaming takes its name from a famous rock formation in the National Park. “This rock is regarded as sacred, but there is nothing forbidding about it”, Sculthorpe notes, “on the contrary, it seems to beckon and welcome”. The formation also lends its name to an 8-minute 1989 work by Sculthorpe for four percussionists with optional didjeridu , premiered at SACEM, Paris, by Synergy, and written as a celebration of the French bicentenary.

The Brodsky String Quartet have been performing Sculthorpe’s chamber music since the early 1990s. In 1993, whilst Sculthorpe was Featured Composer at Dartington International Summer School they gave the world premiere of his Lament for String Sextet (which they later recorded on Silva Classics), and, in 1994, the world premiere of From Nourlangie at the Vale of Glamorgan Festival, in performance with the 8th and 11th quartets – again, during a Sculthorpe residency). In 1996 they premiered his String Quartet No.13 at the Cité de la musique, Paris, with the mezzo-soprano part sung by Anne Sofie von Otter  - a piece they also recorded alongside the 11th quartet, 8th quartet, and From Nourlangie.

String Quartet No.11 was recently performed by the Australian String Quartet at the Muziekgebouw in January 2024 as part of the String Quartet Biennale Amsterdam. In 2021 the work featured as part of the Goldner Quartet’s 25th anniversary celebration season, touring Australia. Sculthorpe’s String Quartet No.18 – his final contribution to the genre – has featured in their valedictory 2023/24 season; they performed the work in March at the Adelaide Festival alongside music by Matthew Hindson and Carl Vine.