Formed in 2005, the Chiaroscuro Quartet comprises violinists Alina Ibragimova (Russia) and Pablo Hernán Benedí (Spain), the Swedish violist Emilie Hörnlund and cellist Claire Thirion from France. Dubbed ‘a trailblazer for the authentic performance of High Classical chamber music’ in Gramophone, this international ensemble performs music of the Classical and early Romantic periods on gut strings and with historical bows. The quartet’s unique sound – described in The Observer as ‘a shock to the ears of the best kind’ – is highly acclaimed by audiences and critics all over Europe.

Their growing discography includes recordings of music by Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert and Mendelssohn. The Chiaroscuro Quartet was a prize-winner of the German Förderpreis Deutschlandfunk/Musikfest Bremen in 2013 and received Germany’s most prestigious CD award, the Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik in 2015 for their recording of Mozart’s Quartet in D minor, K. 421 and Mendelssohn’s Second string quartet in A minor, Op. 13. Among the ensemble’s chamber music partners are renowned artists such as Kristian Bezuidenhout, Trevor Pinnock, Jonathan Cohen, Nicolas Baldeyrou, Chen Halevi, Malcolm Bilson and Christophe Coin.

Recent engagements included their enthusiastically received debut concerts at Vienna Konzerthaus and Philharmonie Warsaw. In April 2016, the quartet embarked on its first tour to Japan playing concerts in Tokyo and Hyogo. Other highlights have taken the ensemble to the Edinburgh International Festival, Concertgebouw Amsterdam, London’s Wigmore Hall, Auditorio Nacional de Música Madrid, Music Festival Grafenegg, The Sage Gateshead (recorded for BBC Radio 3), Auditorium du Louvre Paris, Théâtre du Jeu-de-Paume in Aix-en-Provence…

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String Quartet

Heath Quartet

The Heath Quartet are one of the most exciting British chamber ensembles of the moment and are being showcased by the Emerging Talent Scheme of the Wigmore Hall, with plans for the 2017/18 season including a cycle of Jörg Widmann’s string quartets.

The quartet’s debut CD was released in autumn 2015 on the Wigmore LIVE label featuring the Tippett quartets, winning the Gramophone Chamber Award 2016. The 2016/17 season sees their discography develop on the Harmonia Mundi label, with two releases featuring Tchaikovsky’s 1st and 3rd, and the complete Bartok quartets respectively – both projects part-funded by the Quartet’s Borletti-Buitoni Trust Special Ensemble Scholarship 2011.

Projects this season include collaborations with pianists Hannes Minnaar and James Baillieu, clarinettist Michael Collins and guitarist Xeifei Yang, a return to the Konzerthaus Berlin and numerous appearances in the UK including concerts in Bath, Birmingham, Manchester and Oxford. Regular visitors to the United States the quartet has upcoming performances in Seattle, Washington and Toronto. They’ve previously made their debut in New York at both Carnegie Hall and the Lincoln Centre, and have a continued residence at Middlebury College in Vermont.

The quartet are also extremely active on the summer festival circuit in the UK, with recent marathon appearance at the Ryedale and Kilkenny Festivals.

Click here to download the Heath Quartet’s full 2016/17 biography.

String Quartet

Simón Bolívar String Quartet

Askonas Holt extends its successful collaboration with El Sistema from Venezuela to encompass the Simón Bolívar String Quartet. The Simón Bolívar String Quartet has given concerts across Venezuela, throughout the Americas, Europe and Asia, performing in concerts as well as taking part in education and community events.

In February 2012 the Simón Bolívar String Quartet recorded its first album for Deutsche Grammophon, which was released in early 2013.

Created from within the Fundación Musical Simón Bolívar, the Simón Bolívar String Quartet is composed of principal musicians of the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela. They have worked with such musical personalities as Gustavo Dudamel, Claudio Abbado and Sir Simon Rattle.

Click here to download the Quartet’s full 2016/17 biography.

Founded in 1994 by Austrian violinist and conductor Thomas Zehetmair, the Zehetmair Quartet now ranks among the world’s finest string quartets. The quartet is renowned for its refined, intellectual interpretations characterised by a pristine, uncompromising approach. The four virtuosos perform at an exceptionally high technical level, instilling in their music an exceedingly rare combination of genuineness and remarkable expressiveness. In addition to a repertoire of widely known works, the quartet also captivates audiences with its profound understanding of contemporary music.

One of the unique artistic feats achieved by the quartet include, among other things, its cyclical performance of all string quartets by Robert Schumann in London’s Wigmore Hall, the world premiere of string quartet No. 2 by Heinz Holliger – a work commissioned by Köln Musik GmbH for the Zehetmair Quartet. The 2009 performance by the Zehetmair Quartet during festivities celebrating the 100th birthday of Elliott Carter in New York proved to be a phenomenal success.

For its recording of Bartók’s 4th and Hartmann’s 1st string quartet as well as the 1st and 3rd string quartet by Schumann with ECM, the Zehetmair Quartet garnered awards such as the Diapason d’Or for the year, the Gramophone Award (Record of the Year) and the Edison and Klara Prize for the year’s best international production.

A recording featuring string quartets No. 4 by Hindemith and No. 5 by Bartók was acclaimed as a reference recording in the media and was recognised with the Diapason d’Or for the year. The ensemble’s most recent …
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