Schumann Quartett © Kaupo Kikkas

Schumann Quartett

The Schumann Quartet has reached a stage where anything is possible, because it has dispensed with certainties. This also has consequences for audiences, which from one concert to the next have to be prepared for all eventualities: “A work really develops only in a live performance,” the quartet says. “That is ‘the real thing’, because we ourselves never know what will happen. On the stage, all imitation disappears, and you automatically become honest with yourself. Then you can create a bond with the audience – communicate with it in music.” This live situation will gain an added energy in the near future: Sabine Meyer, Menahem Pressler, Andreas Ottensamer and Anna Lucia Richter are among the quartet’s current partners.

A highlight in the 19/20 season is its three-year residency at the Chamber Music Society of the Lincoln Center in New York City, which began back in December 2016. Furthermore, the quartet will go on tour twice in the US, will give guest performances at festivals in Germany, Switzerland, France and the Netherlands and will also perform concerts in the big musical metropolises of London, Munich, Madrid, Hamburg and Berlin. In addition, the ensemble is part of the opera production “Inferno” at Opera Frankfurt and is looking forward to their annual concerts as part of its long-term residency at the “Robert- Schumann-Saal” in Düsseldorf.

Its album “Intermezzo” (2018 | Schumann, Reimann with Anna-Lucia Richter and Mendelssohn Bartholdy) has been hailed enthusiastically both at home and abroad and received the award “Opus Klassik“ in the category quintet. It is celebrated as a worthy successor to its award-winning “Landscapes” album, in which in which the quartet traces its own roots by combining works of Haydn, Bartók, Takemitsu and Pärt. Among other prices, the latter received the “Jahrespreis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik”, five Diapasons and was selected as Editor’s Choice by the BBC Music Magazine. For its previous CD “Mozart Ives Verdi”, the Schumann Quartet was accorded the 2016 Newcomer Award at the BBC Music Magazine Awards in London.

The three brothers Mark, Erik and Ken Schumann have been playing together since their earliest childhood. In 2012, they were joined by violist Liisa Randalu, who was born in the Estonian capital, Tallinn, and grew up in Karlsruhe, Germany. Those who experience the quartet in performance often remark on the strong connection between its members. The four musicians enjoy the way they communicate without words: how a single look suffices to convey how a particular member wants to play a particular passage. Although the individual personalities clearly manifest themselves, a common space arises in every musical work in a process of spiritual metamorphosis. The quartet’s openness and curiosity may be partly the result of the formative influence exerted on it by teachers such as Eberhard Feltz, the Alban Berg Quartet, or partners such as Menahem Pressler.

Teachers and musical partners, prestigious prices, CD releases – it is always tempting to speculate on what factors have led to many people viewing the Schumann Quartet as one of the best in the world. But the four musicians themselves regard these stages more as encounters, as a confirmation of the path they have taken. They feel that their musical development over the past two years represents a quantum leap. “We really want to take things to extremes, to see how far the excitement and our spontaneity as a group take us,” says Ken Schumann, the middle of the three Schumann brothers. They charmingly sidestep any attempt to categorise their sound, approach or style, and let the concerts speak for themselves.

And the critics approve: “Fire and energy. The Schumann Quartet plays staggeringly well […] without doubt one of the very best formations among today’s abundance of quartets, […] with sparkling virtuosity and a willingness to astonish” (Harald Eggebrecht in Süddeutsche Zeitung). So there is plenty of room for adventure.

Quotes taken from an interview with journalists from the classical music magazine VAN (vanmagazin. de)

Schumann Quartett © Kaupo Kikkas

Martin Klett & Schumann Quartett

Joseph Haydn’s quartets op. 76 represent the quintessence of a 40-year composing career. Alongside Haydn’s much-lauded humour, these six works are remarkable for the combination of various structural models that exploit the enormous potential inherent in the genre and inspired Haydn’s successors to emulate him. One of those was Bela Bartók, in whose second quartet we encounter an expressive, post-Romantic amalgamation of folk music, grinding chromaticism and raunchy rhythms. The genesis of Johannes Brahms’ famous Piano Quintet is no less of a roller-coaster. It started out in life as a string quintet in 1861 but Clara Schumann’s professional advice finally persuaded the composer to cast it in the form we know today. After a highly successful debut at Heidelberger Frühling 2014, the Schumann Quartet returns to Heidelberg, aided and abetted by pianist Martin Klett.

In cooperation with Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg

Special thanks to
S-Immobilien Heidelberg GmbH

 

 

The concert will be recorded by
SWR2

 

Broadcast: 3 September 15 1:05pm SWR2

Quatuor Modigliani

Amaury Coeytaux plays a 1773 violin by Giovanni Battista Guadagnini
Loïc Rio plays a 1780 violin by Giovanni Battista Guadagnini
Laurent Marfaing plays a 1660 viola by Luigi Mariani
François Kieffer plays a 1706 cello by Matteo Goffriller

regular guest of the world’s top venues and finest String Quartet & Chamber Music series. In the current and upcoming seasons, the quartet will be touring in the US, South America, Japan, and extensively throughout most of Europe. Highlights include the Wigmore Hall in London, the Paris Auditorium du Musée du Louvre, The Morgan Library & Museum New York, the Cologne Philharmonie, the Brussel Flagey, Pierre Boulez Saal in Berlin, the Munich Prinzregententheater, Tokyo’s Oji Hall and festivals such as Salzburg Festspiele, Schubertiade Schwarzenberg, Menuhin Festival Gstaad and Festspiele Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. In 2017 the Quatuor Modigliani was first the String Quartet to perform in the main Hall of the Hamburgs Elbphilharmonie.

In 2014, the Modigliani Quartet became Artistic Directors of the Rencontres Musicales d’Evian, a festival created in 1976 by Antoine Riboud and made famous through its former legendary artistic director Mstislav Rostropovich, after a pause of thirteen years. The joint efforts of the Evian Resort and the Modigliani Quartet achieved immediate success and the festival has now become again one of Europe’s major and most publicized Summer musical events.

The quartet has been recording for the Mirare label since 2008 and has released 8 CDs, all awarded prizes and receiving international critical acclaim. The next release will be „Carnet de voyages”. The Modigliani Quartet has built true artistic friendships and are regularly play with other musicians such as Nicholas Angelich, Daniel Müller-Schott, Yefim Bronfman, Sabine Meyer, Beatrice Rana and Renaud Capuçon.

After fifteen years of building up their own sound and profile, the Modigliani Quartet is now happy to pass their experience to the next generation. In 2016 they created the Atelier within the Festival in Evian and will be holding a series of masterclasses at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris beginning in November 2017. Thanks to the generosity and support of private sponsors, the Modigliani quartet plays on four outstanding Italian instruments.

The Modigliani Quartet also thanks the SPEDIDAM for its help.

JACK Quartet

Christopher Otto, violin
Austin Wulliman, violin
John Pickford Richards, viola
Jay Campbell, cello

Hailed by The New York Times as the “nation’s most important quartet”, the JACK Quartet is one of the most acclaimed, renowned, and respected groups performing today. JACK has maintained an unwavering commitment to their mission of performing and commissioning new works, giving voice to underheard composers, and cultivating an ever-greater sense of openness toward contemporary classical music. Over the past season, they have been selected as Musical America’s 2018 “Ensemble of the Year”, named to WQXR’s “19 for 19 Artists to Watch”, and awarded an Avery Fisher Career Grant.

Through intimate relationships with today’s most creative voices, JACK embraces close collaboration with the composers they perform, leading to a radical embodiment of the technical, musical, and emotional aspects of their work. The quartet has worked with artists such as Philip Glass, Steve Reich, Julia Wolfe, George Lewis, Chaya Czernowin, and Simon Steen-Andersen, with upcoming and recent premieres including works by Tyshawn Sorey, Georg Friedrich Haas, Clara Iannotta, John Luther Adams, Catherine Lamb, and John Zorn. JACK also recently announced their new Fulcrum Project, an all-access initiative to commission six artists each year, who will receive money, workshop time, mentorship, and resources to develop new work to be performed and recorded by the quartet.

The recipient of Lincoln Center’s Martin E. Segal Award, New Music USA’s Trailblazer Award, and the CMA/ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming, JACK has performed to critical acclaim at Carnegie Hall (USA), Lincoln Center (USA), Miller Theatre (USA), Wig-more Hall (United Kingdom), Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ (Netherlands), IRCAM (France), Kölner Philharmonie (Germany), the Lucerne Festival (Switzerland), La Biennale di Venezia (Italy), Suntory Hall (Japan), Bali Arts Festival (Indonesia), Festival Internacional Cervatino (Mexico), and Teatro Colón (Argentina).

According to Musical America, “many of their recordings are must-haves, for anyone interested in new music.” Among their dozens of releases, the most recent Cold Blue Music album of John Luther Adams’ Everything That Rises was praised as a “a wise and eloquent performance” by the San Francisco Chronicle, their concept album Imaginist with the Le Boeuf Brothers was nominated for a GRAMMY award in 2018, and their complete Xenakis: String Quartets was named one of TimeOut New York’s “Top Recordings of the Year.” Other albums include music by Helmut Lachenmann, Amy Williams, Elliott Sharp, Hannah Lash, Horatiu Radulescu, and more.

Committed to education, JACK is the Quartet in Residence at the Mannes School of Music, who will host JACK’s new Frontiers Festival, a multi-faceted festival of contemporary music for string quartet. They also teach each summer at New Music on the Point, a contemporary chamber music festival in Vermont for young performers and composers, and at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity. JACK has long-standing relationships with the University of Iowa String Quartet Residency Program, where they teach and collaborate with students each fall and spring, as well as with the Lucerne Festival Academy, of which the four members are all alumni. Additionally, the quartet makes regular visits to schools, including Columbia University, Harvard University, New York University, Princeton University, and Stanford University.

Armida Quartett © Felix Broede

Johannes Fischer & Armida Quartett

Combining a string quartet with a percussionist may appear rather unconventional, not to say risqué. But signing up five musicians who caused such a stir at the ARD (German Television’s Channel One) Competition in 2007 and 2013 and putting them on stage together is about as close as you can get to a sure-fire guarantee for an intriguing and exciting concert. In parts, Beethoven’s fiercely emotional F minor quartet op. 95 sounds almost percussive and is a perfect curtain-raiser for Johannes Fischer’s suggestive “Cloud Study” composed for the 2014 ARD Competition. Alongside “Starry Night” for marimba and string quartet by Steve Martland, whose early death robbed the musical world of one of the most original British composers of his generation, the five musicians will be performing works by Erik Satie sensitively arranged for this combination by Johannes Fischer.

In cooperation with Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg

The concert will be recorded by

SWR2

 

Broadcast: 22 June 15 8:03pm SWR2 Evening Concert

 

Jörg Tröger in an interview with Martin Funda – Armida Quartett

Armida Quartett © Felix Broede

Amaryllis Quartett © Tobias Wirth

Amaryllis Quartett

Tropical heat and screeching parrots or the gentle, meditative sounds of the guqing (Chinese zither) – the first half of the Late Night Lounge with the Amaryllis Quartet indicates ways in which the traditional sound range of the string quartet can be intriguingly extended by inspirations from other cultures. The second half promises sonic extensions of a different kind. Here the quartet joins forces with singer Anne-Christin Schwarz and cellist Stephan Braun to spirit their audience away to the world of jazz and a series of arrangements devised specially for the occasion.

In cooperation with Frauenbad Heidelberg

Amaryllis Quartett

Perhaps the most striking thing about Mozart’s specific genius is his thematic prodigality. But in this respect his string quartet K. 499 is a remarkable exception. Here Mozart restricts himself to a relatively small number of themes that are however worked over with the greatest aplomb and ingenuity. In his first string quartet (1953/54) György Ligeti combines his interest in folk music with a homage to Stravinsky and Bartók while at the same time preserving his own very personal style. The personal style of the four musicians of the Amaryllis Quartet was something Frühling audiences were able to sample at the String Quartet Festival 2012. Now they’re back for what will certainly be a very pleasurable reunion.

In cooperation with Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg

Special thanks to
Freundeskreis Heidelberger Frühling

 

The concert will be recorded by
SWR2

 

Broadcast: 16 July 15 1:05pm SWR2

Cuarteto SolTango

Cuarteto SolTango

The Cuarteto SolTango combine authentic tango sound with the subtlety of chamber music. The quartet is made up of violin, cello, bandoneon and piano and interprets not only Piazzolla’s tango nuevo but also the traditional “classical” tangos from the golden era that milongueros all over the world are so enamoured of. A sizable chunk of their repertoire is devoted to the orchestral music of Osvaldo Pugliese, a largely unknown composer not associated with the tango scene. At the Frühling, Martin Klett, chamber music pianist and founder of the ensemble, will be presenting a number of his own arrangements, which he has successfully performed not only at numerous tango festivals but also at international music festivals. Here the quartet takes the traditional sound of the old orquestas tipicas and transforms it into chamber music, regularly delighting audiences with a style of performance both unpretentious and involving.

In cooperation with Frauenbad Heidelberg

Armida Quartett

Winning the ARD International Competition in 2012 (also sweeping all other prizes including the audience prize) propelled the Armida Quartett on to the international concert platform. 2018 saw the quartet make their USA debut. In 2017 the quartet completed a season as ECHO (European Concert Hall Organisation) “Rising Stars” as their fourth disc was released. In 2016 they participated for two seasons on the BBC New Generation Artists Scheme, during which the Armida Quartett gave its’ BBC Proms debut and celebrated its tenth anniversary.

Founded in Berlin in 2006, the Armida Quartett took its’ name from a Haydn opera, the “father of the string quartet”. They have studied with members of the Artemis Quartett and Rainer Schmidt (Hagen Quartett), also drawing musical inspiration from Alfred Brendel, Reinhard Goebel, Eberhard Feltz, Walter Levin, Natalia Prischepenko and Tabea Zimmermann. The quartet has participated in masterclasses with the Arditti, Alban Berg and Guarneri Quartets.

The 2019/20 season sees the quartet as guest artists in major European cities including the Louvre, Paris, Mozarteum in Salzburg, Barcelona, Zaragoza and Bilbao – the latter with pianist Pavel Kolesnikov. In Barcelona the quartet will give the world premiere of a new work for quartet and electronics by Ramon Humet. Joining the Beethoven anniversary celebrations they are guests of the Beethoven-Haus Bonn, joined by their mentor and colleague, Tabea Zimmermann in an all-Beethoven programme. In spring 2020 they will tour to China with Sabine Meyer.

Leading towards a CD release of the complete Mozart quartets (CAvi records) in 2021, the quartet’s unique editing project working alongside G. Henle Verlag publishers on a new edition of the Mozart quartets continues. The quartet established its own Berlin concert series, “Mozart Exploded”, in 2016. The series explores Mozart as an avantgarde of his time and each programme juxtaposes a new composition currently including works by Jörg Widmann, Frangis Ali-Sade and Marco Nicodijevic. Other recent highlights have included tours to the USA and in Europe, they were guest artists at the Festspiele Mecklenburg-Vorpommern where they premiered and performed a new quintet by pianist Kit Armstrong as well as collaborating with Daniel Müller-Schott and the Modigliani Quartet. In the 2018/19 season, their first orchestral residency as Artists in Residence with the Duisburger Philharmoniker saw them performing Daniel Schnyder’s concerto, “Impetus” for string quartet and orchestra alongside chamber and education concerts. As guests of the 2019 Vale of Glamorgan festival, they performed three programmes with works entirely by contemporary composers including a world premiere by Robert Fokkens and works by Dobrinka Tabakova, Sofia Gubaidulina, Arvo Pärt, Pēteris Vasks, Steve Reich and Johannes Fischer.

The ensemble’s debut CD for CAvi in 2013, featuring works by Bartók, Ligeti and Kurtág, was selected for the critics’ choice list by the German Record Critics’ Award. Their disc of Mozart quartets (2016) won equally high praise and 2019 has recently seen the release of their next Mozart disc in a project that will see the complete Mozart quartets recording released in 2021. Beethoven, Shostakovich and a disc exploring their fascination in the fugue, “Fuga Magna” (2017) have all received notable praise.

Working with chamber partners is an inspiration for the Armida Quartett – they have additionally worked with Raphael Alpermann, Thomas Hampson, Ewa Kupiec, Maximilian Hornung, Sabine Meyer and Jörg Widmann and fellow BBC NGA alumni including Pavel Kolesnikov, Lise Berthaud, French horn player Alec Frank-Gemill and Quatour Van Kuijk.