"A world-class ensemble…” Erica Jeal, The Guardian, 23 September 2008
Established at the Royal College of Music in 1994, the Belcea Quartet is one of the leading quartets of the new generation. They consistently receive critical acclaim for their performances and possess an impressive discography. Their most recent release, a double disc of the late Schubert Quartets and the String Quintet with Valentin Erben for EMI, was nominated for a Gramophone Award.
The Belcea Quartet’s international engagements regularly take them to the Vienna Konzerthaus and Musikverein, Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, Brussels’ Palais des Beaux Arts, Lisbon’s Gulbenkian, Zurich’s Tonhalle, Stockholm’s Konzerthuset, Paris’ Chatelet and Opera Bastille, Milan’s Sala Verdi, New York’s Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center and San Francisco’s Herbst Theatre, and to festivals including Luberon, Istanbul, Trondheim, Lausanne, Salzburg, Mecklenburg, and the Schwarzenberg Schubertiade. In the UK they regularly appear at the Edinburgh, Aldeburgh, Perth, Bath and Cheltenham festivals, and at the Wigmore Hall where they were resident Quartet from 2001 to 2006. They regularly work with leading instrumentalists including Thomas Adès, Isabelle van Keulen, Michael Collins, Paul Lewis, Imogen Cooper, Yovan Markovitch, Natalie Clein, Piotr Anderszewski and Valentin Erben. Collaborations with singers have included performances of Fauré’s La Bonne Chanson with Anne Sofie von Otter at the Cité de la Musique, Respighi’s Il Tramonto with Angelika Kirchschlager at Wigmore Hall and with Ian Bostridge at New York’s Zankel Hall and Washington’s Library of Congress.
In the 2010/11 season, the Belcea Quartet gave the world premiere of Mark Anthony Turnage’s new work for string quartet Twisted Blues with Twisted Ballad at Wigmore Hall, Cologne Philharmonie, Amsterdam Concertgebouw and the Vienna Konzerthaus. They have just curated their own ‘Beethoven & Schubert: Final Years’ project with concerts in Aldeburgh, the Gulbenkian Grand Auditorium and Philharmonie Luxembourg, collaborating with Imogen Cooper, Ian Bostridge, Mark Padmore, Julius Drake and Valentin Erben. Towards the end of 2011, the Belcea Quartet will embark on an ambitious survey of the complete string quartets by Beethoven with cycles of concerts planned in the UK, Germany, Austria, Sweden and the USA.
The Belcea Quartet won the Gramophone Award for best debut recording in 2001. Their discography for EMI includes Brahms’ String Quartet Op. 51 No. 1 and second String Quintet with Thomas Kakuska; Fauré’s La Bonne Chanson with Ian Bostridge; Schubert’s Trout Quintet with Thomas Adès and Corin Long; a double disc of Britten’s string quartets, which won a MIDEM Cannes Award; Mozart’s “Dissonance” and “Hoffmeister” quartets; and the complete Bartók quartets, for which the Quartet was awarded the title Chamber Music Ensemble of the Year by Germany's prestigious Echo Klassik Awards and nominated for a 2008 Gramophone Award.
The Belcea Quartet are Quartet in Residence Guildhall School of Music and Drama, London and, from the beginning of the 2010/11 season, Ensemble in Residence at the Vienna Konzerthaus.
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