Plektra is an acoustic plucked string ensemble based in Sydney performing an evocative fusion of contemporary Australian art music and “world music” works inspired by countries and regions of Eastern Europe as well as works from the classical tradition. They bring together these diverse musical and cultural influences forming a unique sound that has earned them high regard in Australia, Europe and North America. Plektra’s sound is created by an instrumentation consisting of mandolins, mandola, classical guitar, classical bass guitar, the Russian domra, Middle Eastern oud and on occasions, violin and didgeridoo.
Much of Plektra’s material is written and arranged by Dr. Stephen Lalor whose training in Kiev and experience across several genres and styles of music is evident in the blend of European, Celtic and indigenous themes that enrich the ensemble’s repertoire.
The members of Plektra are passionate about performing for new audiences and deliver their repertoire of quality compositions and arrangements in both a lyrical and virtuosic fashion. The members are Conservatorium and University trained professional instrumentalists currently performing in a wide range of musical contexts from symphony orchestras to jazz and traditional music groups.
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"Of the various mandolin cultures in the world, Australia’s is arguably closest to that in the United States. Plektra, a seven-member ensemble from Sydney, is the brainchild of Stephen Lalor, one of the leading lights of the mandolin scene down under (CMSA members who attended the recent convention in Minneapolis no doubt have fond memories of Plektra’s outstanding performances there).
All of the music on the CD is arranged or composed by Lalor. The playing is highly polished with (very) tight ensemble and beautiful sound throughout. Lalor’s music is immediately appealing -- harmonically straightforward, highly melodic and rhythmic with a strong Russian influence (such as the first and third movements of the “Brisbane Suite,” a highlight of the CD).
Many mandolinists talk a world music game, but Lalor (and Plektra) walk the walk and play for keeps." - Robert Margo (Classical Mandolin Society of America, August Journal 2014)