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Signum Quartett

Florian Donderer, violin
Annette Walther, violin
Xandi van Dijk, viola
Thomas Schmitz, violoncello

The Signum Quartet has made its mark (lat. signum) on the international quartet scene by virtue of its energetic and lively interpretations, and has established itself as one of today’smost exciting ensembles of its generation.

Intensive studies with the Alban Berg Quartet, Artemis Quartet and the Melos Quartet, as well as collaborations with György Kurtág, Walter Levin, Alfred Brendel, Leon Fleisher and Jörg Widmann have characterised the artistic development of the Signum Quartet, a laureate of numerous awards, among others Premio Paolo Borciani and London International String Quartet Competition. The quartet has enjoyed support from Bayer Kultur as part of its stART cultural programme and as ensemble of the BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artists scheme.

Chamber music partners of the quartet include Jörg Widmann, Elisabeth Leonskaja, Leonard Elschenbroich, Alexander Krichel, Adrian Brendel, Christian Ihle Hadland, Eckart Runge, Nicolas Altstaedt, Mark Simpson, Carolin Widmann and the actor Dominique Horwitz.

The quartet has performed throughout their native Germany including at the Berlin Philharmonie and Konzerthaus, Laeiszhalle Hamburg, Liederhalle Stuttgart, Frankfurt, Philharmonie Essen and Gewandhaus Leipzig and abroad: Wigmore Hall and Cadogan Hall London, Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Philharmonie de Luxembourg, as well as venues across Finland, Norway, Switzerland, France and at the Harvard Musical Association in Boston. It has appeared also at music festivals including the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival, Rheingau Music Festival, Cheltenham Music Festival, Aldeburgh, BBC Proms, and Aix-en-Provence. Performances of Bruno Mantovani’s 3rd string quartet which he composed for the Signum Quartet were given in Vienna, Luxembourg and Frankfurt. Lately the quartet performed together with Nils Mönkemeyer in Hamburg, in Cologne with Paul Watkins (Emerson String Quartet) and with Daniel Ottensamer in Frankfurt as well as the Bonner Beethoven-Haus. Future concerts will bring the quartet amongst others to Concertgebouw and the biennale in Amsterdam, to Madrid, Monte Carlo, once again to Cologne, Frankfurt, to the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg and to Wigmore Hall London.

In 2009, the Signum Quartet began recording for Capriccio Vienna and their first release – a CD of quartets by Ludwig Thuille – was awarded the Supersonic in Luxemburg, which they followed in 2012 with a recording of movements by Schubert, Rihm, Wolf, Ives and Orff. Their third Capriccio recording ‘No.3’, released in May 2013, presents quartets by Bartók, Schnittke and Berg, and was awarded the International Classical Music Award’s 2014 as ‘Best Chamber Music Recording’. A CD called “soundescapes” with works by Ravel, Debussy and Adès has been released in 2015. A recording of Brahms’ Hungarian Dances featuring Nils Mönekemeyer followed in the same year (Sony) and the latest CD is called “Alla czeca” (Suk, Schulhoff, Dvorak) (Capriccio). A new Schubert CD “From Afar” has just been released on the label Pentatone.

The Signum Quartet has launched a project called #quartweet which invites composers of all ages and abilities to tweet them a short quartet of 140 notes or less on Twitter. Composers like Bruno Mantovani, Sebastian Currier, Konstantia Gourzi, Caroline Shaw, Julian Grant und Steven Mackey and many more already participated. At the Signum Quartet’s concerts now their #quartweets can be heard offline as well and of course for the year 2020 there will be #BEEtweets!

Quartetto di Cremona

Cristiano Gualco, violin
Paolo Andreoli, violin
Simone Gramaglia, viola
Giovanni Scaglione, violincello

Since its formation in 2000, the Quartetto di Cremona has established a reputation as one of the most exciting chamber ensembles on the international stage. Regularly invited to perform at the most important festivals and concert seasons across Europe, North and South America, and the Far East, the Quartet has garnered universal acclaim from critics and audiences alike for its high level of interpretive artistry.

Awarded with the BBT Fellowship in 2005, the Quartetto di Cremona is the recipient of the second “Franco Buitoni Award” (2019), in recognition of their contribution in promoting and encouraging chamber music in Italy and throughout the world.

The complete Beethoven string quartets recordings have been recently released for Audite. All the volumes attracted high levels of acclaim in the international press, winning several prizes (Echo Klassik 2017 and ICMA 2018, among the others) and with the Quartetto di Cremona being unanimously considered the true heir of the great Quartetto Italiano. A new album dedicated to Schubert will be released in April 2019, including the String Quintet in C major with cellist Eckart Runge (Artemis Quartet) and the String Quartet “Der Tod und das Mädchen”.

They regularly collaborate with numerous artists of international renown, including Lawrence Dutton, Eckart Runge, Andrea Lucchesini, David Orlovsky, Edicson Ruiz, Aaron Pilsan and the Emerson String Quartet.

Frequently invited to present master classes across Europe and the United States, since autumn of 2011 the Quartet was assigned the professorship at the prestigious “Walter Stauffer Academy” in Cremona (String Quartet Advanced Master).

The Quartetto di Cremona is kindly supported by the Kulturfonds Peter Eckes (Mainz) with four fabulous Italian instruments:

Cristiano Gualco – violin G.B. Guadagnini “Cremonensis”, Torino 1767 Paolo Andreoli – violin
Paolo Antonio Testore, Milano ca. 1758 Simone Gramaglia – viola
Gioachino Torazzi, ca. 1680 Giovanni Scaglione – cello
Dom Nicola Amati, Bologna 1712

The ensemble is ambassador for the “Friends of Stradivari” international project and it has been the first Italian string quartet recipient of a long term loan of the Stradivarius “Paganini Quartet” by the Nippon Music Foundation (Tokyo). The Quartet is also testimonial for Thomastik-Infeld Strings.

In November of 2015 they were awarded honorary citizenship of the city of Cremona.

Navarra String Quartet

Magnus Johnston, violin
Marije Johnston, violin
Sascha Bota, viola
Brian O’Kane, violoncello

Formed in 2002, the Navarra String Quartet has built an international reputation as one of today’s most dynamic and poetic string quartets. Selected for representation by the Young Classical Artists Trust (YCAT) from 2006 to 2010, they have been awarded the MIDEM Classique Young Artist Award and a Borletti-Buitoni Trust Fellowship. They have appeared at venues including the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Royal Festival Hall, Wigmore Hall, Sydney Opera House, Lincoln Center, Luxembourg Philharmonie, Berlin Konzerthaus, the Laeiszhalle in Hamburg, at international festivals such as Rheingau, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Aix-en-Provence and Bergen, and further afield in Russia, the USA, China, Korea, Australia and the Middle East.

Highly-acclaimed recordings include Haydn’s The Seven Last Words for Altara Records, a disc of music by Joseph Phibbs for NMC Records, and a disc of Pēteris Vasks’ first three String Quartets for Challenge Records, which they recorded whilst working closely with the composer himself. The recording was described by critics as “stunning”, “sensational” and “compelling”, and was nominated for the prestigious German Schallplattenkritik Award.

The Quartet plays on a Hieronymus II Amati violin, a Jean-Baptistery Vuillaume violin (kindly loaned to Marije by a generous sponsor through the Beares International Violin Society), and a Grancino cello made in Milan in 1698, generously on loan from the Cruft – Grancino Trust which is administered by the Royal Society of Musicians.

Callisto Quartet

Paul Aguilar, violin
Rachel Stenzel, violin
Eva Kennedy, viola
Hannah Moses, violoncello

The Callisto Quartet brings together four passionate musicians who share a love for chamber music. Highlights of their achievements include the top prize at the 2018 Melbourne International Chamber Music Competition, the grand prize of the 2018 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition and prizes at the 2018 Wigmore Hall International String Quartet Competition. Besides serving as the Graduate String Quartet in Residence at the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University the quartet was invited to study with Günter Pichler (Alban Berg Quartet).

Their primary mentors include Si-Yan Darren Li, Peter Salaff, and Gerhard Schulz. They have also worked with the Brentano, Cavani, and Emerson Quartets. Other activities include serving as faculty and giving masterclasses at numerous places including the Bravo International Chamber Music Workshop, University of Central Florida, Midwest Young Artists Conservatory, and the CIM Preparatory Division.

The quartet has performed in many renowned chamber music festivals such as the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, the McGill International String Quartet Academy, the Juilliard String Quartet Seminar, and the Robert Mann String Quartet Institute. Highlights of their recent performances include collaborations with cellist David Geringas and pianist Gilles Vonsattel, as well as their New York City debut on the Schneider Concert Series. The year of 2019 includes performances at the Ravinia Festival as well as collaborations with Frank Cohen and John Novacek.

Cuarteto Quiroga

Aitor Hevia, Violine
Cibrán Sierra, Violine
Josep Puchades, Viola
Helena Poggio, Violoncello

Cuarteto Quiroga has established itself as one of the most dynamic and unique quartets of its generation, winning international acclaim from critics and audiences alike for its distinctive personality as well as its bold and original approach to the string quartet repertoire. The quartet honours the memory of galician violinist Manuel Quiroga, one of the most outstanding instrumentalist of spanish music history.
Prizewinners of several major international competitions (Bordeaux, Paolo Borciani, Genève, Beijing, Fnapec-Paris, Palau-Barcelona), the ensemble appears worldwide on emblematic stages (Wigmore Hall, Musikfestival Heidelberger Frühling, Laeiszhalle Hamburg, Konzerthaus Berlin, Liederhalle Stuttgart, Muziekgebouw und Concertgebouw Amsterdam, De Doelen Rotterdam and Auditorio Nacional Madrid).
Frequent stage partners include Martha Argerich, Veronika Hagen, Valentin Erben, Javier Perianes,  Jörg Widmann and Jonathan Brown.
Their CD-albums »(R)evolutions« and »Statements« have been acclaimed by the trade press and the international audience. In 2015 they released »Frei Aber Einsam«, dedicated to Brahms (Cobra) and the piano quintets of Granados and Turina (Harmonia Mundi) in collaboration with pianist Javier Perianes. The latest albums are »TERRA«, dedicated to works of Bartók, Ginastera & Halffter, and »HERITAGE« with music of the Spanish Court in the XVIII Century.
Cuarteto Quiroga has its official residence throughout the year at Madrid’s Cerralbo Museum.

Dörte Schmidt

Dudok Quartet

Judith van Driel, violin
Marleen Wester, violin
Marie-Louise de Jong, viola
David Faber, violoncello

The Dudok Quartet Amsterdam is one of the most versatile and appealing string quartets of this time. The quartet’s aim is to share the heart of music through captivating performances and an open approach of the audience.

The Dudok Quartet Amsterdam was the first Dutch group to be rewarded the prestigious Borletti-Buitoni Trust Award in 2018.

The quartet studied with the Alban Berg Quartet in Cologne and subsequently, for two years, at the Dutch String Quartet Academy with Marc Danel of Quatuor Danel, graduating with highest distinction in 2013. Between 2011 and 2013, the quartet was awarded top prizes in international string quartet competitions such as Quatuors à Bordeaux and Joseph Joachim Weimar. In 2014, the quartet received the Kersjes Prize, an award of €50.000 offered to a chamber music group of exceptional talent. Since 2017, the group has been performing on instruments on generous loan by the Dutch Musical Instrument Foundation (NMF): violins by Francesco Goffriller and Vicenzo Panormo, a viola by Max Möller and a cello by Sébastien Philippe Bernardel.

Its first album, Metamorphoses, was named Editor’s Choice in The Gramophone, and the second, Labyrinth, met with similar acclaim, including a five-star review in BBC Music Magazine.

Recent highlights include the ensemble’s USA debut, the world premiere of Kaija Saariaho’s opera Only the Sound Remains with Philippe Jaroussky and the Dutch National Opera and the quartet’s debut at the Vienna Konzerthaus and the Beethoven Haus Bonn. In October 2017, the quartet premiered an adaptation of Beethoven’s Op 132 String Quartet, re-imagined specifically for children over six in cooperation with director Rosabel Huguet and Oorkaan production company.

The Dudok Quartet Amsterdam is a regular guest in both the Concertgebouw and the Muziekgebouw in Amsterdam and has performed in venues all over Europe.

Dalia Quartet

Elena Rey, violin
Oleguer Beltran, Violin
Wenting Kang, viola
Erica Wise, violincello

The Dalia Quartet brings together four established musicians, each with diverse backgrounds as soloists, orchestral and chamber musicians. The Dalia Quartet was born out of their desire to explore the string quartet repertoire in depth, and to share its extraordinary complexity and intimacy with audiences.

Its members have thriving careers in the orchestral world as members of Mahler Chamber Orchestra, Lucerne Festival Orchestra, Camerata Bern, Orquestra da Camera and the Dortmunder Philarmoniker.

The enthusiastic reception of their initial concerts in 2014 soon led to concerts at L’Auditori de Barcelona, el Petit Palau, the Schubertíada de Vilabertran, Enclave de Cámera de Ourense, Auditori de Girona, and the Bulgaria Hall in Sofia among others. During the 2017-18 season they held artistic residencies in Cervera and the Teatre de Sarrià. Upcoming concerts include their debuts in London, Offenburg and Heidelberg (Germany), Fundación Juan March in Madrid and Sociedad Filarmónica de Bilbao.

Cosmos Quartet

Helena Satué, violin
Bernat Prat, violin
Lara Fernandez, viola
Oriol Prat, violincello

The Cosmos Quartet was established in 2014 from the friendship and mutual interests of four young Spanish musicians. Each of them has had an international trajectory as a soloist, chamber and orchestral musician.

They have received coaching from professors such as Alfred Brendel, Rainer Schmidt, Johannes Meissl, Hatto Beyerle, Miguel da Silva, Jonathan Brown, Anita Mitterer, Krzysztof Chorzelski, Patrick Jüdt and Quartetto di Cremona among others.

Despite the fact that it is a recently formed ensemble, the Cosmos Quartet has already gained an international career winning recently the First Prize at the 2018 Competition Irene Steels-Wilsing Foundation in Heidelberg. In 2016 the quartet has been semifinalist in the string quartet speciality of the prestigious “Concurs de Genève” celebrated in the city of Geneva. They also achieve the Third Prize at the “Carl Nielsen International Chamber Music Competition”, First Prize at the International Chamber Music Competition “Mirabent i Magrans” in Sitges and the “Kammermusik Preis” and “Artis Quartet Preis” both at the International Summer Academy ISA in August 2014.

Since the beginning, they have played at venues such as the “MUHBA” in Barcelona, “Fundación Juan March” in Madrid, “Auditorio Miguel Delibes” in Valladolid, Santa Cristina d’Aro Summer Music Festival as well as concerts in Austria during the “ISA 2014” and a Live broadcasted concert at the “ORF Kulturhaus” of Vienna.

They have been invited to participate at the “East Neuk Festival” in Edinburgh, at the “Festival de Monteleón” in León, and the “Académie Musicale de Villecroze” in France, held by Johannes Meissl (Artis Quartett) in 2015.

During the 2016-2017 season, Cosmos Quartet has been one of the selected groups to form part of “Joventuts Musicals de Catalunya”, having the opportunity to play in many places around Catalonia.

Currently they are former members at European Chamber Music Academy “ECMA” held by Hatto Beyerle and Johannes Meissl.

Among the upcoming projects, we stand out the concert in the festival “Emergents” during the 2017-2018 season in “l’ Auditori” of  Barcelona and a concert in Heidelberg Strichquartettfest 2019.

The quartet is based in Barcelona with the support of “Residència d’Investigadors de Catalunya” and Dr. Francesc Farré i Rius.