Reviews & Articles (AIDS Memoir Quartet)

The Hon Michael Kirby in conversation with Lyle Chan onstage at National Gallery of Victoria, 23 July 2014 The Hon Michael Kirby in conversation with Lyle Chan onstage at National Gallery of Victoria, 23 July 2014



“Music may be the perfect art for recording ineffable memory.” – The Australian featured a half-page in-depth article by Matthew Westwood, Arts Editor.
Read the full article here.

“Sometimes words can fail to adequately describe what one witnesses … triumphantly articulating a story of humanity amid the gloom of disaster” – The Age.
Read the full review here.

“Lyle Chan’s An AIDS Activist’s Memoir in Music [is] as strong a statement as anything he did 20 years ago … the attitude remains: the steadfast determination of a seasoned activist, infused with an optimism that things can and will change for the better. This attitude infects every aspect of the music….” – Limelight magazine, review of Sydney concert premiere
Read the full review here.

“A crushingly powerful work of musical history … A towering piece.” – Limelight magazine, concert review of Bellingen Music Festival
Read full review here.

“This is affecting music and a unique and powerful means of relating this terrible history.” – Limelight magazine, review of the double-CD recording. Read the full review here.

“Lyrical and seamless … an historic, historical and musical journey … makes almost Mahler-like demands on the four musicians.” – ClassikON, review of Sydney concert premiere
Read full review here.

“An emotional and powerful composition. Acacia Quartet is superb … as evidenced by their dedicated interpretation of the music of Lyle Chan … This is a man who can do anything.” – Gwen Bennett, The Music Trust, review of the double-CD recording. Read the full review here.

“Maybe I don’t see the point of grieving. I respect the memory of all my friends who are not with us and I show my respect in ways like writing pieces about them. Maybe that is grieving.… I am just honoured to have known them and in some ways a memoir like this is to give a voice to people who are dead.” – The Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations interviewed Lyle Chan in depth. Read the interview here (original) or here (revised).

“Lyle Chan’s string quartet is a very ambitious work born out of a seemingly endless plague. Its composer has taken his experiences of living through the enormous tragedy of AIDS and from them has molded a serious and deeply felt work of art.”John Corigliano (Grammy, Oscar and Pulitzer-winning composer)

“Impressive, admirable, so very moving”Anton Enus (SBS newscaster) via Twitter. See complete Tweet here.

“Some weeks later the piece still resonates on an emotional level with me. I feel forever changed as a result of being witness to such a gorgeous piece of music from what was such an important history of AIDS activism in Australia.”Joel Murray, political candidate, a ‘response’ in Poslink (publication of Living Positive Victoria). See entire article here, p.13.

“I genuinely hoped Lyle Chan’s performance with the brilliant Acacia Quartet would help prove or at least remind me that social change was possible. And it did.”Liam Siemens, SAD Mag, Vancouver, Canada. See entire review here.


“In honor of ‪#‎WorldAIDSDay‬, have a listen to Acacia Quartet’s lovely recording of Lyle Chan’s String Quartet: An AIDS Activist’s Memoir in Music. (840-1401)” – The CD was the feature recording on 1 Dec 2014 on Naxos Music Library

The CD recording is played regularly on ABC Classic FM on the shows of Julia Lester (Drive), Emma Ayres and Julian Day (Breakfast).

The CD recording debuted at #8 in the Limelight Magazine Classical Charts.

Listen here to the replay of a personal radio interview with Lyle Chan by Fine Music FM’s Simon Moore.

“An activist is someone who cannot help but fight for something. That person is not usually motivated by a need for power, or money, or fame, but in fact driven slightly mad by some injustice, some cruelty, some unfairness. So much so that he or she is driven by some internal moral engine to act to make it better.” – Read here an interview with three AIDS activists including Lyle Chan by the Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations.


  1. […] have been many reviews of the AIDS Memoir Quartet but here are some where the listener felt a powerful personal […]