It is not unusual for members of a professional string quartet to be artists in residence at conservatoires and universities, but it is rare to find one collaborating for an extended period with an orchestra. The appointment of Australia-based Grainger Quartet as artist associate with the Hong Kong Sinfonietta has opened up novel opportunities. Principal string players in other orchestras might baulk at seasoned outsiders entering their territory, 'but our orchestra is very nice in that way', Sinfonietta music director Yip Wing-sie said. Grainger Quartet violist Jeremy Williams is quick to agree. 'The orchestra has been very welcoming and willing to exchange ideas. It probably helps that quite a few of the members of the strings either studied with me or attended my chamber music classes when I was at the [Hong Kong] Academy for Performing Arts,' he said. Grainger will integrate with the orchestra in various ways. In the October concert Grainger will play as a solo quartet within larger ensembles - in Edward Elgar's Introduction and Allegro and the premiere of Angel Lam On-ki's newly commissioned work. 'The best interactions have come from playing with the orchestra, giving encouragement and sharing our experiences with them,' Williams said. 'We have taken string sectional rehearsals and socialised with many of the musicians, too.' Yip said the June concert was 'possibly the most intimate and effective opportunity to impart skills and experience in chamber music to other players in the orchestra'. Williams said that 'this non-conducted programme will enable us to work very closely with the players on an artistic level'. The programme includes Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No3 and Vivaldi's Concerto in B minor for 4 Violins, in which Sinfonietta players Jensen Lung and Eiko Hosaka will join Grainger violinists Natsuko Yoshimoto and James Cuddeford as the soloists. Outside the residency, according to Williams, the quartet views the local attitude to chamber music as: 'Hong Kong audiences are very open to chamber music with such a diverse range of nationalities and cultures. 'Our concert last November was packed out and people were turned away as a result. I believe Hong Kong could easily sustain a resident quartet,' Williams said. On longer-term possibilities for the Grainger Quartet and Hong Kong, Williams said: 'The quartet would like to keep coming here and maintain an ongoing relationship with the Sinfonietta after the residency. Some of our most committed supporters in Sydney are from Hong Kong so we are very much linked with the city through them.'