Mandelring Quartett

Sebastian Schmidt, violin
Nanette Schmidt, violin
Andreas Willwohl, viola
Bernard Schmidt, violoncello

“Brilliance is not a strong enough word – it’s more like an electric shock. The music transfixes the listener from literally the very first note, electrifying heart and brain without any advance warning. Mendelssohn’s music as played by the Mandelring Quartet, under extreme tension, heated and feverish, is dangerously close to catching fire!” So wrote the Neue Zürcher Zeitung in a CD review. In 2014 The Strad, the leading English-language classical music magazine, gave the Mandelring Quartet a title page and a detailed portrait. The music magazine Fono Forum classes the ensemble as one of the best half-dozen string quartets in the world.

The Mandelring Quartet’s success in winning some great competitions – in Munich (ARD), Evian and Reggio Emilia (Premio Paolo Borciani) – was what launched their international career. Today their performing commitments take them to international musical centres such as Vienna, Paris, London, Madrid, New York, Los Angeles and Vancouver. In addition their concert diary includes regular tours to Central and South America, the Near East and Asia. They are also warmly welcomed guests at leading festivals including the Schwarzenberg Schubertiade and those at Schleswig-Holstein, Rheingau, Lockenhaus and Montpellier. Wherever these four musicians appear, they leave behind lasting musical impressions: for example, after the Mandelring Quartet’s performance of their Shostakovich quartet cycle at the Salzburg Festival the Salzburger Nachrichten wrote “A memorable festival experience not likely to be equalled in the near future.”

The HambacherMusikfest, the Mandelring Quartet’s own festival in its home town of Neustadt on the Weinstrasse (Wine Road), has developed into a meeting point for lovers of chamber music from all over the globe. Since 2010 the ensemble has had a concert series of its own in the Berliner Philharmonie.

The Mandelring Quartet celebrated its 30th birthday in 2013 in the Berlin Radialsystem V with a project called “3 from amongst 30”, five concerts at each of which the audience was invited to select a programme of three works from a list of thirty immediately before the start.

Numerous prize-winning CD recordings testify to the quartet’s exceptional quality and wide-ranging repertoire. Their recording of the complete quartets of Shostakovich attracted particular attention and came to be regarded by critics as the benchmark recording of these works. Their recording of all Mendelssohn’s chamber music for strings also received outstanding reviews. Their recent project has been a complete recording of all the string chamber music of Brahms.

Viano String Quartet fotografiert von Jeff Fasano

Viano String Quartet

Lucy Wang, violin
Hao Zhou, violin
Aiden Kane, viola
Tate Zawadiuk, violoncello

The Viano String Quartet, celebrated for its “great dynamic range, [its] tremendous sound and [its] spontaneity” (American Record Guide), has already received prestigious prizes in various national and international competitions: In addition to first prize at the International String Quartet Competition in Banff In 2019 (shared 1st prize with the Marmen Quartet), the quartet won the Grand Prize at the ENKOR International Music Competition and the second prize at the Yellow Springs Chamber Music Competition in 2019. It received further prizes, among others, in 2018 at the Wigmore Hall International String Quartet Competition and the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition as well as in 2017 at the 9th Osaka International Chamber Music Competition. Since its founding in 2015 at the Colburn Conservatory of Music in Los Angeles, where it was made ensemble-in-residence for the 2020/21 season, the quartet has been to the Wigmore Hall, the Segerstrom Center for the Arts, the SOKA Performing, among others Arts Center, and the Cerritos Center for Performing Arts. Last summer the Viano String Quartet performed by invitation at the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival as well as at the McGill International String Quartet Academy. In the 19/20 season, the Viano String Quartet already expected some important debuts on three continents: in the Schneider Concerts series in New York City, at the Beijing International Chamber Music Festival, at the Chamber Music Society in Vancouver, Canada and in Europe. The quartet can be heard at other concerts in Los Angeles, among others. European tours supported by the Banff Center will take the quartet to Paris, Brussels, Hamburg, Berlin, Leipzig, Heidelberg, Bonn, Lucerne, Eisenstadt and Salzburg in 2020. Well-known chamber music partners of the Viano String Quartet have so far included the pianists Emanuel Ax and Elisso Virsaladze. The string quartet received musical impulses and support from artists such as David Finckel, Gary Hoffman, Arnold Steinhardt, Jean-Yves Thibaudet and members of the Emerson String Quartet, the Brentano String Quartet, the St. Lawrence String Quartet and the Calidore String Quartet. The quartet has participated in the St. Lawrence String Quartet Summer Chamber Music Seminar, the McGill International String Quartet Academy (MISQA) and the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival of the Yale School of Music. In addition to their classical concert activities, the four musicians are committed to teaching children and target groups outside the concert hall.

Danish String Quartet

Frederik Øland, violin
Rune Tonsgaard Sørensen, violin
Asbjørn Nørgaard, viola
Fredrik Schøyen Sjölin, violoncello

Among today’s many exceptional chamber music groups, the Danish String Quartet continuously asserts its preeminence. The Quartet’s playing reflects impeccable musicianship, sophisticated artistry, exquisite clarity of ensemble, and, above all, an expressivity inextricably bound to the music, from Haydn to Shostakovich to contemporary scores. Their performances bring a rare musical spontaneity, giving audiences the sense of hearing even treasured canon repertoire as if for the first time, and exuding a palpable joy in music-making that have made them enormously indemand on main concert stages throughout the world.

Since its debut in 2002, the Danish String Quartet has demonstrated a special affinity for Scandinavian composers, from Nielsen, Hans Abrahamsen, Bent Sørensen and traditional Nordic folk music, alongside music of Mozart and Beethoven. The recipient of many awards and prestigious appointments, including the Borletti Buitoni Trust, the Danish String Quartet was named in 2013 as BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artists and appointed to the The Bowers Program (formerly CMS Two) at the Lincoln Center in NYC.

The group takes an active role in reaching new audiences through special projects. In 2007, they established the DSQ Festival, now in its 11th year, which takes place in an intimate and informal setting in Copenhagen. This October, the Danish String Quartet performed, over the course of six concerts, the complete Beethoven cycle of 16 string quartets. In 2016, they inaugurated a new concert series, Series of Four, which they both perform and invite colleagues —the Ebène Quartet, mandolin player Chris Thile, among others—to appear at the venerable Danish Radio Concert Hall. Concerts this season have ranged from a chamber version of the Fauré Requiem, a recital with violinist Augustin Hadelich and a world premiere of Bent Sørensen’s Dancers and Disappearance for string quartet and accordion.

The Danish String Quartet has received numerous citations and prizes, including First Prize in the Danish Radio Chamber Music Competition, the Vagn Homboe String Quartet Competition and the Charles Hennen International Chamber Music Competition in the Netherlands, as well as the Audience Prize at the Trondheim International String Quartet Competition in 2005. In 2009, the Danish String Quartet won First Prize in the 11th London International String Quartet Competition, now known as the Wigmore Hall International String Quartet competition, and return to the celebrated London concert hall frequently. The Quartet was the awarded the 2010 NORDMETALLEnsemble Prize at the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Festival in Germany, and in 2011, they received the Carl Nielsen Prize, the highest cultural honor in Denmark. Most recently, the Quartet received its first GRAMMY nomination in 2019, for the first release of its five-disc recording project, PRISM, on the ECM New Series label.

In addition to the subsequent recording releases for the PRISM recording project, future performance ventures include the full PRISM cycle at La Jolla Music Society over the span of five concerts in November 2019, and the complete Beethoven cycle at Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center in February 2020 and at the Schubert Club in St. Paul, MN in May 2020.

For four seasons, beginning in 2020/2021, the Danish String Quartet will begin a collaboration with four acclaimed composers – Bent Sørensen, Lotta Wennäkoski, Anna Thorvaldsdottir, and Thomas Adès. The four composers will compose works to complement and juxtapose four of Schubert’s greatest chamber works, the String Quartet in G Major, D. 887, String Quartet in D minor, D. 810 – “Death and the Maiden, ” String Quartet in A Minor, D. 804 “Rosamunde,” and String Quintet in D Major, D. 956. All the works will be premiered at Carnegie Hall, NYC and tour world wide. Future projects also include a musical investigation of William Heinesen’s ‘De fortabte spillemænd’, a ‘time based media’-project dealing with Ligetis music and how it has been used in Stanley Kubrick’s movies as well as several outreach initiatives in local musical centers in Denmark. *

Violinists Frederik Øland and Rune Tonsgaard Sørenson and violist Asbjorn Norgaard met as children at a music summer camp where they played soccer and made music together. As teenagers, they began the study of classical chamber music and were mentored by Tim Frederiksen of Copenhagen’s Royal Danish Academy of Music. In 2008, the three Danes were joined by Norwegian cellist Fredrik Schøyen Sjölin.

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.

String Quartet Festival | Long Night of String Quartet

String Quartet Festival | Concert

€ 18 half-day ticket (2.30pm to 6.00pm) incl. the events at 2.30pm and 4.00pm.