U.K.-based Quartet Makes Its Carnegie Hall Debut Two Days Later
Middlebury, VT—The Elias String Quartet make their first-ever Vermont appearance, courtesy of Middlebury College’s Performing Arts Series, on Wednesday, March 21, 2012, playing works by Purcell, Suk, and Mendelssohn, as well as Janáček’s “Kreutzer Sonata.” The quartet has experienced a meteoric rise due to their “imaginative, full-blooded playing and impeccable ensemble” (Classic FM Magazine,) and “sophisticated phrasing, subtle coloring, and impeccable tuning…” (The Independent.)
The Elias String Quartet quickly established themselves as one of the most intense and vibrant quartets of their generation, and accumulated accolades at every turn. The quartet was chosen to participate in BBC Radio 3’s prestigious New Generation Artists’ scheme—a program developed to developing extraordinary, young talent—and is the recipient of a 2010 Borletti-Buitoni Trust Award. In April 2010, the quartet’s disc of Mendelssohn, Mozart and Schubert on the Wigmore Hall Live label was given the BBC Music Magazine Newcomer Award. Other highlights include a month long tour of Australia, a cycle of Mendelssohn’s Chamber Music at King’s Place in London, a debut at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, a five concert series at Wigmore Hall, and their Carnegie Hall debut just two days after performing at Middlebury.
Comprised of members Sara Bitlloch and Donald Grant on violin, violist Martin Saving, and cellist Marie Bitlloch, the Elias String Quartet takes their name from Mendelssohn’s oratorio “Elijah,” or Elias in its German form. The Quartet was formed in 1998 at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester where the four musicians worked closely together with the late Dr. Christopher Rowland. They also spent a year studying at the Hochschule in Cologne with the Alban Berg quartet. Other mentors in the Quartet’s studies include Hugh Maguire, György Kurtág, Gábor Takács-Nagy (a Takács Quartet founder,) Henri Dutilleux, and Rainer Schmidt.
The Quartet received second prize and the Sidney Griller prize at the London International String Quartet Competition in 2003 and was a finalist in the Paolo Borciani Competition in 2005. Their debut recording of Mendelssohn quartets for Sanctuary Classics received wide acclaim. Their performance of the Op. 80 quartet was chosen as best recording on BBC Radio 3’s “Building a Library” in September 2009 and their “Wigmore Live” disc received numerous outstanding reviews.
With the support of the Borletti-Buitoni Trust, the Elias Quartet will be embarking on their Beethoven project to learn and perform all of the Beethoven string quartets, with cycles starting in the 2012/13 performance season. They will document their journey, learnings, and findings on a dedicated website, www.thebeethovenproject.com.
The Elias String Quartet concert will take place on Wednesday, March 21, 2012, at 7:30 p.m., in the Concert Hall of Middlebury College’s Mahaney Center for the Arts, at 72 Porter Field Road in Middlebury, just off Route 30 south. Tickets are $25 for the general public; $20 for Middlebury College faculty, staff, alumni, emeriti, and other ID card holders; and $6 for Middlebury College students. For tickets or information, call (802) 443-MIDD (6433) or go to http://go.middlebury.edu/arts.