Wednesday, March 21, 2012
Mahaney Center for the Arts, Concert Hall
The Elias String Quartet has quickly established itself as one of the most intense and vibrant quartets of its generation. Classic FM Magazine has lauded Elias as “imaginative,” with “full-blooded playing and impeccable ensemble . . . triumphantly dramatic.” In its Vermont debut, Elias plays works by Purcell, Suk, Janáček (the “Kreutzer Sonata”), and Mendelssohn. Sponsored by the Middlebury College Performing Arts Series.
Reserved Seating. Tickets: $25/20/6. http://go.middlebury.edu/tickets or 802-443-MIDD (6433).
Elias String Quartet live in Montpellier, France, 19th July 2010 Mendelssohn String Quartet op. 80, first movement
PURCELL Two Fantasias
JANACEK String Quartet No.1 'Kreutzer Sonata'
MENDELSSOHN String Quartet in A minor, op.13
The Elias String Quartet takes its name from Mendelssohn’s oratorio, Elijah, of which Elias is its German form, and has quickly established itself as one of the most intense and vibrant quartets of its generation. The quartet performs around the world, collaborating with many different artists. Formed in 1998 at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester—where the members worked closely 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, Henri Dutilleux, and Rainer Schmidt.
The Elias String Quartet has been chosen to participate in BBC Radio 3’s prestigious New Generation Artists’ scheme 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 of the 2009-10 season included a month-long tour of Australia, its debut in Italy with cellist Alice Neary, and a cycle of Mendelssohn’s Chamber Music at King’s Place, London. This year, the quartet had its debut at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam; a weeklong tour in Europe with pianist Jonathan Biss; appearances at The Sage Newcastle, and Bridgewater Hall Manchester; and the City of London, Cheltenham, and East Neuk festivals. Future projects include a five-concert series at Wigmore Hall, a US tour including the quartet’s Carnegie Hall debut, a return to the Concertgebouw, and participation in Jonathan Biss’s Schumann project.
With the support of the Borletti-Buitoni Trust, the Elias String Quartet is embarking on a Beethoven project, learning and performing all Beethoven string quartets, with cycles starting in 2012-13 in various venues including Southampton, Bristol, Brighton, Tonbridge, and London. The quartet will be documenting their journey, learnings and findings on a dedicated website, www.thebeethovenproject.com
The quartet has performed alongside artists such as Leon Fleisher, Michael Collins, Jonathan Biss, Simon Crawford-Phillips, Ralph Kirshbaum, Alice Neary, Ann Murray, Joan Rogers, Mark Padmore, Roger Vignoles, Michel Dalberto, Peter Cropper, Bernard Gregor-Smith, Ettore Causa, Timothy Boulton, Robin Ireland, Adrian Brendel, Anthony Marwood, and with the Endellion, Jerusalem, and Vertavo Quartets.
The Elias String Quartet received second prize and the Sidney Griller prize at the 9th London International String Quartet Competition in 2003 (as the Johnston String Quartet), and was a finalist in the Paolo Borciani Competition in 2005. For four years, the quartet was in residence at Sheffield’s “Music in the Round” as part of Ensemble 360, taking over from the Lindsay Quartet. Ensemble 360 has released discs by Mozart, Beethoven, and Spohr with Sanctuary Classics and Nimbus.
The quartet’s debut recording of Mendelssohn quartets for Sanctuary Classics received wide acclaim, with its performance of the op. 80 quartet chosen as best recording on BBC Radio 3’s ‘Building a Library.’ The quartet’s Wigmore Live disc, recorded live at the Wigmore Hall, has received outstanding reviews. It has also released a disc of French harp music with harpist Sandrine Chatron for the French label Ambroisie, and Goehr’s Piano Quintet with Daniel Becker for Meridian Records. The quartet’s latest CD is a Britten disc, released by Sonimage.