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#04 / 2012

Newsbeat Australian Youth Orchestra’s Quarterly Publication

Principal Sponsor


UPCOMING CONCERTS AYO National Music Camp Concert Series

Australian Youth Orchestra

12 – 19 January Elder Hall, University of Adelaide

Tues 19 Feb 8pm Melbourne Town Hall

Sat 12 Jan Conductors: Elizabeth Wallfisch, Bruno Weil, Fabian Russell 4pm Orchestral Passions: Concert 1 7.30pm Orchestral Passions: Concert 2* Wed 16 Jan 5:30pm Beats & Drums Thurs 17 Jan 8pm Chamber Music Highlights Fri 18 Jan 5.30pm New Sounds In Composition Fri 18 Jan 8pm Mighty Brass Ensemble Sat 19 Jan Conductors: Elizabeth Wallfisch, Bruno Weil, Fabian Russell 4pm Orchestral Passions: Concert 1 7.30pm Orchestral Passions: Concert 2* * Both 7.30pm Orchestral Passions concerts will be broadcast live thanks to ABC Classic FM For repertoire details go to Free admission, no booking required

Arvo Volmer conductor Kristian Chong piano WESTLAKE The Glass Soldier: Suite RAVEL Piano Concerto for the Left Hand STRAVINSKY The Firebird: Suite Book Now $42 Adult, $28 Concession or 136 100

Australian Youth Orchestra with Christoph Eschenbach and Joshua Bell Christoph Eschenbach conductor Joshua Bell violin Sat 3 Aug 8pm Sydney Opera House SCULTHORPE Earth Cry TCHAIKOVSKY Violin Concerto STRAVINSKY The Rite of Spring Book Now $35–$84 or 02 9250 7777 Mon 5 Aug 8pm Arts Centre Melbourne, Hamer Hall SCULTHORPE Earth Cry TCHAIKOVSKY Violin Concerto RIMSKY KORSAKOV Scheherazade Book Now $35–$84 www.artscentremelbourne. or 1300 182 183

AYO Celebrates 65 Years 2013 marks the 65th year that AYO has been providing orchestral training and during that period more than 10,000 young people have come together to learn from each other and their inspirational teachers. Each year we are rewarded with fresh ideas and inspiration from hundreds of young musicians and welcome back former members such as Libby Wallfisch to train the next generations. With more than twenty international tours, AYO has taken young Australians from all corners of the country on a journey of personal discovery and shown the world what depth of musicality and feeling is alive in our young people. I can’t wait for the opportunity to take the AYO on tour again next August and look forward to the response from audiences here and in Europe. The strength of early sales for our Sydney and Melbourne concerts with Eschenbach and Bell suggests these concerts are going to sell out, so please book soon if you are planning to attend. For parents with teenage children seriously pursuing music studies, these concert tickets will be a great Christmas gift.

In addition to preparing for our summer programs the AYO staff will be moving offices during December. The AYO’s Sydney office will move around the corner to Gloucester Street and our Melbourne office will move to South Yarra. It has not been an easy job to find alternate affordable accommodation and I am grateful to all the AYO staff for their patience and positive approach to the situation we have found ourselves in. We are sorry to have to leave the Arts Exchange after more than ten years and thank Arts NSW for supporting the AYO with this tenancy during that time. I look forward to having these changes behind us in January and to getting on with an exciting year ahead for AYO. My thanks to all our supporters for helping create some great opportunities for 2012 and beyond and I hope you can join us along the way. Colin Cornish Chief Executive Officer



by Sarah Gilchrist

Full Steam Ahead for AYO National Music Camp This January, 242 young musicians, composers, arts administrators, writers and sound production students will descend on Adelaide for AYO National Music Camp, where they will present a series of eight summer concerts. Here, Music Director Elizabeth Wallfisch discusses what’s in store for this exciting program.

Newsbeat #04


You have been a Guest Director/ Leader on the violin with many of the world’s orchestras including the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Netherlands Bach Society, Tafelmusik – Canada, Carmel Bach Festival Orchestra. Can you tell me what inspired you to take the role of Music Director at AYO National Music Camp? EW I was a music camper from the age of nearly 14, to 18, and a member of the AYO for 3 seasons, including the tour to Japan in 1970. These were the years of ‘Aunty’ Ruth Alexander, Ron Maslyn Williams, and Percy Jones. John Bishop had recently died. John Hopkins was our conductor for those years, among many other visionary skilfull and inspiring conductors. It was the best thing every year. I have only happy memories. Inspiring memories, of falling in love with music, orchestral music – Dvorak, Borodin, Beethoven, Bartok, Elgar. Chamber Music featured highly on the agenda and we worked at some of the greatest piano trios in my time as a Camper. It is immeasurable how much we learned and absorbed and then brought to our music making as adults! And then there were the friendships forged there that are still as fresh as they were then. The Music Camp family is as strong now as it was then. I was invited to be Music Director of Camp first for 2007, and my heart leapt with terror and joy. Who, me? Music Director? But it worked, and it was a fine Music Camp, and now I have high hopes for an even stronger and more joyous Camp in 2013.

the greatest composer of all time – Bach. There is not one musician who is untouched by the music of Bach. So, in the evolutionary process that is programme building over the last 18 months, this has been the root of all discussion. The wheel radiates out to all corners of the world, bringing in composers and works that may surprise, and will certainly delight the players and listeners alike. It is the greatest honour I can imagine in my career to hold this position for these 2 seasons. A privilege indeed. How important was participating in similar orchestral camps for your musical development? EW Pivotal. From the moment we played our first auditions at Music Camp (they did them on arrival in those days), to the first rehearsal with the conductor, to the tutorials, the chamber music the meals and the sense of community, the love of music, I was hooked. I have always, from my earliest years, had the desire to play the violin. Music Camp was food and drink to me, and to many others. We learnt soooo much! And came home inspired to learn more, to play better. And to go to the next Camp. What will be the focus of the AYO National Music Camp in 2013? EW Leipzig, in a word. As the hub of a musical wheel. The Leipzig of Johann Sebastian Bach, of Mendelssohn, to Schumann, to Brahms, to Schoenberg, to Mahler, to Elgar, to Stravinsky, to now. This part of Germany has been home to

The ‘Concept of Style’ is key to bringing the music of all ages alive, and we will certainly be concentrating, intensely and respectfully, on learning as much as we can about the languages of each composer, and bringing the stories in the music to life, as closely as possible to the intentions, as we imagine, that were the composers. What should participants do in their preparation for AYO National Music Camp? EW Have a Happy Christmas time! And after the festivities, get into shape on their instruments, with a good regime of practice. Take a look at the orchestral music – get ahead! If a young player goes to camp not having practised for 2 weeks, they are likely to be overwhelmed by the challenges presented, not have enough time to practise their parts and be struggling to keep up. It is full on once they are there! Concerts from 12–19 Jan at Elder Hall, University of Adelaide, free admission Go to for full schedule



by Sally Quinn

WORLD PREMIERE AYO TO PERFORM NIGEL WESTLAKE’S CONCERT SUITE This February, the Australian Youth Orchestra will give the world premiere concert performance of Australian composer Nigel Westlake’s The Glass Soldier. Westlake composed the stunning score to accompany Hannie Rayson’s play by the same name which was performed by the Melbourne Theatre Company. The Glass Soldier is an orchestral suite of astonishing power and integrity. It was commissioned by Don Farrands in memory of his grandfather Nelson H. Ferguson who served in France as a Field Ambulance Officer in World War I. This is the first time that the complete suite of five movements will be played. The orchestra, totalling 79 musicians (29 heralding from Victoria), will perform under Music Director and Chief Conductor of the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, Arvo Volmer.

Westlake looks forward to hearing his work performed in full, “I think of it like a film score – an epic love story, steeped in pathos, drama, tragedy and triumph against adversity, set against the backdrop of World War I. Having played in the Australian Youth Orchestra myself many years ago, I feel a special affinity with these young musicians. I can’t wait to hear this music finally brought to life by the youthful vitality and consummate musicianship of the AYO under Maestro Volmer.” Also on the evening’s program is Stravinsky’s The Firebird: Suite (1919) and Ravel’s Piano Concerto for Left Hand. Leading Melbourne-based pianist, Kristian Chong will perform Ravel’s 18 minute concerto. Commissioned by the Austrian concert pianist, Paul Wittgenstein, who lost his right arm during World War I, the piece, with its jazz-influenced rhythms and harmonies, is a testament to virtuosity and brilliance. CONCERT INFORMATION: Tues 19 Feb 8pm Melbourne Town Hall Book Now Tickets from $28 Bookings through Ticketmaster: or 136100

Photo: Nigel Westlake


by Sally Quinn


Joshua Bell and AYO International Tour 2013 Tickets Released Tickets for the Australian Youth Orchestra’s 21st International Tour are now on sale. Marking its 65th anniversary, the AYO will embark on a ten-city tour of Australia and Europe in August 2013. The Tour begins with concerts at the Sydney Opera House and Arts Centre Melbourne. Following the Australian concerts, the orchestra will travel to Europe performing at prestigious summer festivals and venues in Austria, Germany, The Netherlands and Switzerland, including the Konzerthaus in Berlin and the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. Grammy-award winning violinist, Joshua Bell, will play alongside the orchestra and under the direction of Maestro Christoph Eschenbach, who last conducted the AYO on its 1988 acclaimed Bicentenary tour of Asia and Europe.

Sat 3 Aug 8pm Sydney Opera House or 02 9250 7777

Sydney audiences will have the opportunity to hear Eschenbach’s outstanding interpretation of Stravinsky’s phenomenal work, The Rite of Spring, which celebrates its 100th Anniversary in 2013. The unfamiliar harmonies and jagged rhythms caused a furor when originally premiered in 1913 and the work continues to astonish audiences.

Fri 9 Aug 8pm Konzerthaus, Berlin

The Melbourne repertoire features Rimsky Korsakov’s Arabian Nights-inspired Scheherazade: an all-time concert favourite that charms with exotic strings, luminous flutes and tambourines. Sumptuous eastern tones radiate throughout the piece whilst the atmosphere and melodies are excitingly Russian. The Tour marks the AYO’s seventh visit to Europe and reinforces it as the preeminent orchestra and training ground for young pre-professional musicians.

Mon 5 Aug 8pm Hamer Hall, Arts Centre Melbourne or 1300 182 183

Sat 10 Aug 8pm Schloss Grafenegg, Austria Sun 11 Aug 5pm Ulrichshusen, Germany Tue 13 Aug 8.15pm Het Concertgebouw, Amsterdam Thu 15 Aug 8pm Kongress Palais Kassel, Germany Fri 16 Aug 8pm Kurhaus, Germany Sat 17 Aug 7.30pm Festival Tent, Gstaad, Switzerland Photo: Joshua Bell



by Sam Torrens

AYO CHAMBER PLAYERS – THE MUSIC OF FRIENDS This September, AYO Chamber Players performed at the beautiful Government House Ballroom. AYO Orchestral Operations Coordinator, Sam Torrens, blogged from the program. Following a two and a half year absence from the West, the AYO has returned to Perth for the 2012 AYO Chamber Players program. 33 of our finest string players arrived on Saturday morning for a truly engaging week of music making under the guidance of some of Australia’s finest string players and two phenomenal international artists. There is a buzz of excitement about as old friends reunite and new friendships are formed making music. ‘Focus on the Process’ is the message of the week from our Music Director, Dale Barltrop. The string quartets and piano trios will be performing in two fantastic concerts for both their peers and the general public, however the main aim of this week together is for the musicians to really develop their understanding of how to make great chamber music. Our musicians ask questions of their tutors and work to develop their own ensemble voice. They also exploit one another’s own musical experiences to create something unique. Chamber music offers these musicians the opportunity to truly engage and communicate with one another throughout the rehearsal process. The majority of the ensembles at this program have come together especially for this program, and it is heartening to watch the development of these new relationships. To read Sam’s blog in full or check out other AYO blogs go to

Above: Amy Brookman, violin Photo Credit: Tony McDonna

Musica Viva Festival 4 – 7 April 2013 Conservatorium of Music, Sydney Returning in 2013, in collaboration with the AYO, the Musica Viva Festival promises 4 days filled with exciting experiences. From main festival concerts featuring the best international artists, through to recitals by AYO musicians, as well as master classes, workshops and more. A unique aspect is the intimate link with AYO’s Chamber Players program. Our musicians will work with some of the world’s best chamber musicians, as well as performing recitals. Book now or 1800 688 482


by Flora Wong


ON THE ROAD WITH THE AYO STRING QUARTET The AYO Regional Residencies String Quartet program took place in Far North Queensland in October. The AYO String Quartet travelled to regional areas to teach Masterclasses and experience life on the road as a touring quartet, performing a string of concerts in Townsville, Magnetic Island and Ayr. Here violinist Flora Wong gives us an insight into their time on tour. What a tour! Our week in Townsville was a whirlwind of rehearsals, local radio interviews, school workshops and concerts, and we thoroughly enjoyed it! Unusual performance spaces were a theme for the tour – it would be hard to pick a favourite! The highly atmospheric lighting and initially baffling acoustic of C2 in the Townsville Civic Theatre? The charmingly laid-back Magnetic Island RSL? The poster-covered walls of the Burdekin Theatre, cataloguing the hosts of entertainers who had graced the stage before us? (From the Kransky Sisters to the Sensitive New Age Cowpersons!) It was a valuable experience for us to learn how to adjust to the acoustics of each venue, and we also had the opportunity to experiment with different layouts: sitting, standing, cello inside or outside – the jury is still out on what works best, and I suspect it will always vary depending on the players, the repertoire and the venue!

Some of the most memorable moments of the program came from working with the students of the local schools in workshops – for someone who has had relatively little experience in teaching young aspiring musicians, I found the opportunity to workshop and perform for the students challenging, humbling and immensely rewarding. Question time was always fun; the students wanted to know all sorts of things, from how much we practiced a day (roughly three to four hours) to how long we’d been playing together (about a week!) to why our strings didn’t break when we played the second movement of Ravel’s string quartet (we don’t know!) It’s quite hard to accept that the tour is over and we must throw ourselves into preparations for our respective end of year recitals. I think we’re all incorporating as much chamber music into our recital programs as possible, which will hopefully include getting the band back together – after all, why would anyone perform alone when they could perform with friends? To read Flora’s blog in full or check out other AYO blogs go to Above: Flora Wong, violin, Cameron Campbell, viola, Zoe Freisberg, violin and Oliver Scott, cello



by Caterina Savoca

Alumni Interview: Alex King AYO alumnus Alex King reflects on some of his memories with AYO and how those experiences have impacted on his life. What are some of the memories you have of your time with AYO? AW I was a member of AYO for only a short while – but what an experience! The main event during my time in the orchestra was the 1988 European tour. I will never forget it, at least those parts which I still remember... (Amsterdam was a revelation). The 1988 AYO was a remarkable orchestra. It crackled with excitement, talent and joie de vivre. It was a fascinating time in history: we played in East Berlin, at the Schauspielhaus, just before the Wall came down. As a result of that tour, I made some great friends, performed in some of the great concert halls of the world, and played some of the great repertoire, opportunities for which I will forever be grateful. Tell us about your family and interests. AW My wife, Maya, and I are lawyers. However, we met in intervarsity choirs (mere fronts for sex, drugs and Late Romantic oratorios). My parents are not musicians, or even musical, but are great lovers of music, and encouraged and promoted my love of music, and that of my siblings. In addition, and to my benefit (though I did not realise it at the time), my mother was a quality slave driver when it came to instrumental practice. Had she not been, I would never have made AYO. Thanks, Mum!

Our daughters, Aurelia (13) and Zephyrine – or Zephyr (11), both play music: Aurelia the violin, and Zephyr the cello and French horn. Each is more musical than me. I hope they continue to play, as I know what wonderful opportunities lie ahead for them if they do. Outside of work and school we, as a family, enjoy out-doorsy stuff: horse riding, bike riding, running/walking Archie (our Kelpie), skiing, diving, etc. We have a cat called Pinot Noir. We also listen to a lot of music at home: I tend to stick to the dead composers, Maya and the girls to the living (and popular) ones. What encouraged you to begin playing the viola and triggered your interest in music? AW I’m told that when I was seven years old I was transfixed by Strauss’ waltzes and demanded to play the violin. I switched to the viola when, in high school, to which I’d won a music scholarship, it was suggested to me that it might be a good idea. The teachers said it was because the school chamber orchestra had a need in that regard. I think they were being kind. There were some very fine violinists in my year, who weren’t budging from the firsts, so – ever the pragmatist – I took up the viola. It bore fruit: I would not have made AYO as a violinist, and I still smile at the memory of being the only male in a section of 14 violas on the ‘88 tour. I was also a singer from a young age. I was a boy treble with the Australian Opera in the early ‘80s and was fortunate enough to be a raggazo next to Pavarotti’s Rodolfo in a 1982 AO production of La Boheme. My dad, a Wagner tragic, would have loved me to become Australia’s first true heldentenor. Based on my fairly ordinary bass-baritone voice, it was a classic parental aspiration – a lovely idea but entirely fanciful. How did you end up a lawyer and not a violist? AW I said I am a pragmatist. That’s why I am a lawyer, not a violist or singer. I realised in my late teens – in part because of the skills of the remarkable players in AYO – that I lacked the talent to be the sort of professional musician (Star! Name in lights!) that I wanted to be, and was not happy to aspire to something less than that. Youthful, idealistic, unrealistic – yes; but it drove me to something easier – the law. I landed on my feet. I’m a partner at a Arnold Bloch

Newsbeat #04

Leibler, one of the Australia’s preeminent commercial law firms, practising in disputes and litigation. I love it. It’s a wonderful job, most of the time. Also, we’re very fortunate, because our jobs afford Maya and me the opportunity to support the arts, and AYO in particular. What are your thoughts about Eschenbach returning to conduct the AYO 25 years on? AW I was very excited to hear that Christoph Eschenbach had agreed to conduct the AYO again, on a European tour, 25 years after his first. Maestro Eschenbach was faaaaabulous. We loved him. He quickly warmed to us, too. I remember the “shock and awe” on his face as he walked into his first rehearsal moments after the orchestra had ripped into the opening bars of the overture to Ruslan and Ludmilla, one of our party pieces, to show him what we could do. The AYO musicians who will tour with Eschenbach, and Joshua Bell, next year are in for a real treat. I envy them.


How do you use the AYO and the AYO National Music Camp experience in your working life? AW The lessons I learnt and experiences I had at AYO National Music Camp and in AYO still resonate for me. By playing music at camp and in AYO I learnt that persistence, focus, ambition, a little luck, a sense of fun, cooperation, working towards a goal, and a monster party after the main gig, kept me smiling and enjoying all that the orchestras in which I played had to offer. I’m now more than twice the age I was during the ’88 tour, a sobering thought. Yet, whenever I hear certain passages of music – at home, in the car, at the Melbourne Recital Centre, wherever – which we played in AYO on the ’88 tour, I get an immediate visceral reaction and am transported back to the 8th chair (maybe it was the 10th chair) in the violas, as though it was this morning. That’s priceless. Go, AYO! Long may it play and prosper! Christoph Eschenbach is again directing the Australian Youth Orchestra in 2013. To book tickets go to: (Sydney concert)

Above: Alex King with daughter Zephyrine (Melbourne concert)



by Caterina Savoca

AYO Across Australia WOMEN IN BUSINESS LUNCH, PERTH On the 27 September, AYO Board Director, Kellie Benda hosted a ‘women in business’ lunch in Perth to raise awareness of the AYO amongst senior business women in WA. Around 30 ladies came together at King & Wood Mallesons to hear an uplifting performance by an all-female AYO string quartet participating in the AYO Chamber Players program.

Above from left to right: Tara Houghton, Amy Brookman, Rebecca Gill and Jordonne Colley

Above: AYO musicians speaking with Helen Fairhill Carroll from Wesfarmers

The quartet, which consisted of violinists Rebecca Gill and Amy Brookman, violist Tara Houghton and cellist Jordonne Colley, performed Beethoven’s String Quartet Op.18 no.4. The musicians were warmly received and later spoke of the wonderful opportunities AYO has provided them and the profound effect AYO has had on their professional development. The comments from the musicians led a lively discussion around the room and left all attendees with a greater appreciation and understanding of the AYO. We would like to extend warm thanks to King & Wood Mallesons for their generous hospitality.

Newsbeat #04

Above from left to right: Mrs Chernov, Bridget O’Donnell, Tom Higham, Anna Pokorny, Glenn Christensen and Governor Alex Chernov

AN AYO MUSICAL SOIRÉE AT GOVERNMENT HOUSE, MELBOURNE Victorian Governor Alex Chernov and Mrs Chernov kindly hosted a reception in support of the AYO on 2 October at Government House, Melbourne. Over 50 friends and supporters enjoyed a charming evening which included speeches by the Governor, AYO CEO Colin Cornish and a performance by the accomplished AYO string quartet consisting of Glenn Christensen, Bridget O’Donnell, Tom Higham and Anna Pokorny.

Above: AYO musician Glenn Christensen, William Forrest AM and AYO Chair, Mary Vallentine AO

The Governor spoke of his admiration for the AYO, the calibre of musicians that have trained with the AYO and for the outstanding role the organisation has played in the development of Australia’s orchestral musical talent. During the evening, Colin Cornish announced AYO’s Victorian plans for 2013 including concerts at Hamer Hall and Melbourne Town Hall, and regional residencies in Central Victoria.

Above from left to right: Leonie Marks, Simon Marks, Lyn Kelson and Michael Kelson

Above from left to right: AYO Board Director, Frank Zipfinger, AYO musician Bridget O’Donnell, Peter Waters, Louise Gourlay OAM, Professor Zeger Degraeve


AUSTRALIAN YOUTH ORCHESTRA Founders Professor John Bishop OBE Ruth D. Alexander Patron Emeritus Professor Di Yerbury AO Board of Directors Mary Vallentine AO Chairman Peter Grant Deputy Chair Ron Ogden Treasurer/Company Secretary Kellie Benda Dr Graeme L Blackman OAM Monica Curro Erin Flaherty Luke Nestorowicz Shefali Pryor Clare Pullar Frank Zipfinger Foundation Member Ron Maslyn Williams Honorary Life Members Leonard Amadio AO Margaret Greene Donald Hazelwood AO OBE Professor John Hopkins OBE J. Leonard Porter Professor Peter Sculthorpe AO OBE Maureen White Graham Wood OAM Artistic Advisory Committee Shefali Pryor Chair Keith Crellin OAM Monica Curro Elizabeth Koch OAM Siobhan Lenihan Tim Matthies Marshall McGuire Michele Walsh 65th Anniversary Appeal Committee Frank Zipfinger Chair Erin Flaherty Christina Green Clare Pullar Mary Vallentine AO

Management Colin Cornish Chief Executive Officer Katie Priddis Business Manager Howie Huang Financial Accountant Rossy Yang Assistant Accountant Lucy Papworth Operations & Planning Manager Michelle Zarb Operations & Music Coordinator Samuel Torrens Orchestral Operations Coordinator Meredith Potts Program Administrator Sarah Gilchrist Marketing & Communications Manager Aleisha Conlay Marketing Coordinator Sally Quinn Publicist Sue Felton Development Director Caterina Savoca Individual Giving Manager Johanna Burnett Development Coordinator Volunteers Patrick Brislan Alumni Volunteer Elizabeth Cooney Development Intern Jessica Qu Accounts Volunteer

Contact details Email: Web: Sydney Level 4, 40 Gloucester Street The Rocks NSW 2000 Phone 61 2 9252 3855 Toll free 1300 668 500 Facsimile 61 2 9252 8033 Melbourne Arts House, Suite 3 204 St Kilda Road Southbank VIC 3006 Phone 61 3 9699 9281

AYO is a registered not-for-profit organisation. Every gift over $2 is tax-deductible. ABN 42 004 355 739


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Australian Youth Orchestra is supported by the Australian Government

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AYO July Season Concert Partner

AYO National Music Camp Partner

2012 AYO February and July Seasons Partner

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AYO Regional Residencies Partners

Honorary Auditor

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AYO is supported by the NSW Government through Arts NSW

The Australian Youth Orchestra is grateful to the many donors and volunteers who contribute so generously to all its programs

AYO Newsbeat Vol.4  

AYO's quarterly publication

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