The Hagen Quartet celebrates its 40th anniversary in the 2020/21 season, with concert programs featuring the ten great string quartets and the clarinet quintet by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, the piano quintets by Dmitri Shostakovich and Robert Schumann, the string quintet by Franz Schubert and the clarinet quintet by Jörg Widmann. This combination of Mozart’s quartets and quintets with guest musicians will be performed especially in the concert series of the Hagen Quartet in the Vienna Konzerthaus. This season, the four musicians will tour to London, Brussels, Munich, Berlin, Amsterdam, Wroclaw, Barcelona, Madrid, Turin, Hamburg, the Schubertiade in Schwarzenberg, the Salzburg Festival and the Lucerne Festival, to name but a few cities and festivals. The Hagen Quartet will travel again to the United States and Japan.
The Hagen Quartet’s unprecedented 3 1/2-decade career began in 1981. Its early years, marked by a series of prizes in chamber music competitions and an exclusive recording contract with Deutsche Grammophon that was to produce around forty-five recordings over the following twenty years, enabled the group to work its way through the immensely vast repertoire for string quartet in which this ensemble’s distinctive profile has emerged.
Subsequent recordings for myrios classics with Brahms’ Clarinet Quintet together with Jörg Widmann and with Mozart’s string quartets were highly praised by the international press and received prizes such as the Echo Klassik in Germany and the Diapason d’or in France. In 2019 a recording with the 3rd string quartet and the piano quintet by Brahms together with Kirill Gerstein has been released and in autumn 2020 a recording with the Clarinet Quintets of Mozart and Jörg Widmann (first recording).
In January 2019, the Hagen Quartet was awarded the Concertgebouw Prijs for the artistic appeal it has radiated over many years and the contribution it has made to the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam.
Collaborations with artistic personalities such as György Kurtág and the late Nikolaus Harnoncourt are as important to the Hagen Quartet as its concert appearances with performers including Maurizio Pollini, Mitsuko Uchida, Krystian Zimerman, Heinrich Schiff, Jörg Widmann, Kirill Gerstein, Sol Gabetta, Gautier Capucon and Igor Levit.
The ensemble’s concert repertoire and discography feature attractive and intelligently arranged programmes embracing the entire history of the string quartet genre, from its pre-Haydn beginnings right through to Kurtág. The Hagen Quartet also works closely with composers of its own generation: not only reviving existing works, but also commissioning and premiering new pieces. Recently, Myrios Classics released a recording featuring Brahms’ String Quartet No. 3 and his Piano Quintet, with Kirill Gerstein as guest pianist.
Many young string quartets regard the Hagen Quartet as a model in terms of sound quality, stylistic variety, ensemble playing and serious commitment to the works and composers of the genre. As teachers and mentors at the Salzburg Mozarteum and the Hochschule in Basel, as well as in international masterclasses, the quartet’s members pass on their great wealth of experience to younger colleagues.
The Hagen Quartet plays on old Italian master instruments.