COVID-19 Updates: Fall Semester

Elias String Quartet; 03/14/2015


Elias String Quartet

Sara Bitlloch, violin
Donald Grant, violin
Martin Saving, viola
Marie Bitlloch, cello
March 14, Saturday
8:00 PM, Mahaney Center for the Arts, Concert Hall

Described by the Washington Post as possessing “deft phrasing, a fine sense of dramatic pacing and seamless ensemble work,” the Elias Quartet has emerged as one of the most intense and vibrant quartets of its generation. They continue their acclaimed Beethoven Project, delighting us with an all-Beethoven program, including opuses 95, 131, and 135. Associate Professor of Music Larry Hamberlin offers a pre-concert lecture at 7:00 PM in Room 221.

This free Performing Arts Series concert is made possible with generous support from the Institute for Clinical Science and Art, in memory of F. William Sunderman Jr. and Carolyn Reynolds Sunderman. Free; no tickets required.

Read the press release>>

Photo Benjamin Ealovega


Elias String Quartet performs Beethoven’s Op.133, “Grosse Fuge”  

BEETHOVEN String Quartet no. 11 in F Minor, op. 95, "Serioso"

Allegro con brio
Allegretto ma non troppo
Allegro assai vivace ma serioso
Larghetto espressivo; Allegretto agitato; Allegro

BEETHOVEN String Quartet no. 16 in F Major, op. 135

Lento assai, cantante e tranquillo
“Der schwer gefaßte Entschluß (The difficult decision).” Grave, ma non troppo tratto (Muss es sein?/Must it be?) – Allegro (Es muss sein!/It must be!) – Grave, ma non troppo tratto – Allegro


BEETHOVEN String Quartet no. 14 in C-sharp Minor, op. 131

Adagio ma non troppo e molto espressivo
Allegro molto vivace
Allegro moderato – Adagio
Andante ma non troppo e molto cantabile – Più mosso – Andante moderato e lusinghiero – Adagio – Allegretto – Adagio, ma non troppo e semplice – Allegretto
Adagio quasi un poco andante


Elias String Quartet

Sara Bitlloch, violin
Donald Grant, violin
Martin Saving, viola
Marie Bitlloch, cello

The Elias String Quartet take their name from Mendelssohn's oratorio, Elijah, of which Elias is in its German form, and have quickly established themselves as one of the most intense and vibrant quartets of their generation. They perform around the world, collaborating with many different artists. The Quartet was formed in 1998 at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester where they 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 Quartet made its North American debut in March, 2012 to great critical acclaim. In addition to a sold-out concert at Carnegie Hall, they were praised in the Washington Post for their “shimmering beauty,” and the Philadelphia Inquirer proclaimed, “Few quartets at any stage of their evolution have this much personality.” Their concerts in Philadelphia and in Washington DC were with pianist Jonathan Biss; they will return to North America for concerts both with and without Mr. Biss in March, 2013.

The quartet has been chosen to participate in BBC Radio 3's prestigious New Generation Artists’ scheme, and they are the recipients of a 2010 Borletti-Buitoni Trust Award. With the support of the Borletti-Buitoni Trust, the Elias Quartet are embarking on their Beethoven project: Learning and performing all Beethoven string quartets, with cycles starting in 2012/13 in various venues including Southampton, Bristol, Brighton, Tonbridge, London, and documenting their journey, learnings and findings on a dedicated website,

They have performed alongside artists such as 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 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 were finalists in the Paolo Borciani Competition in 2005. For four years they were resident String Quartet at Sheffield’s “Music in the Round” as part of Ensemble 360, taking over from the Lindsay Quartet. The Ensemble has released discs by Mozart, Beethoven and Spohr with Sanctuary Classics and Nimbus.

In 2012, the Quartet recorded the piano quintets of Schumann and Dvorak with pianist Jonathan Biss, now available on the Onyx label. The Quartet’s recording of Haydn and Schumann quartets was released in spring 2012 on the Wigmore Live label. Their previous effort on that label, a disc of Mendelssohn, Mozart and Schubert, was given the BBC Music Magazine Newcomer Award in April 2010. Their debut recording of Mendelssohn quartets for Sanctuary Classics also received wide acclaim, and their performance of the Op. 80 quartet was chosen as best recording on BBC Radio 3's ‘Building a Library’ in September 2009. They have 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. In addition, they made a recording of Britten quartets, released by Sonimage.

Press Quotes

“Excellent….particularly memorable.” 
“Their richly hued, passionate playing sounded both polished and spontaneous.” 
“Superb…[Sara Bitlloch’s] playing was remarkable throughout, her bold, rich tone and expressive nuances contributing to an intense and deeply felt interpretation.”--New York Times

“It was the willingness to push the dramatic edge of the work, however, that transformed this performance into something extraordinary.”--Washington Post

“Magic moments abound…[an] ability to live and breathe each phrase with an enraptured sensitivity.”--The Strad

Mahaney Arts Center
Middlebury College
South Main St./Route 30 South
72 Porter Field Rd.
Middlebury, VT 05753
(802) 443-3168 phone
(802) 443-2834 fax