The Belcea Quartet

“What seems to be the predominant impulse driving this music is man’s yearning for freedom, the unquenchable desire to expand his limits and to learn the truth about himself in this process.”

The Belcea Quartet

“What seems to be the predominant impulse driving this music is man’s yearning for freedom, the unquenchable desire to expand his limits and to learn the truth about himself in this process.”

What the Belcea Quartet writes in the preface to its recording of the complete Beethoven String Quartets could also be described as their artistic creed. These musicians are not confined by traditional boundaries. It is perhaps the very fact of their diverse cultural backgrounds that is behind their dynamic and free interpretative style. Founded at the Royal College of Music in London in 1994, the quartet is based in Great Britain. However, the Romanian violinist Corina Belcea and the Polish violist Krzysztof Chorzelski, the two founder members, bring a very different artistic provenance to the ensemble while drawing from the best traditions of string quartet playing received from the quartet’s mentors: the members of the Alban Berg and Amadeus Quartets. This spectrum is extended by the French musicians Axel Schacher (violin) and Antoine Lederlin (violoncello). The Belcea Quartet blends its diverse influences into a common musical language.

This diversity is reflected in the Belcea Quartet’s repertoire. Regular world premieres – among them Mark-Anthony Turnage’s string quartets „Twisted Blues with Twisted Ballad“ in 2010, „Contusion“ in 2014, Thomas Larcher’s „lucid dreams“ in 2015, Krzysztof Penderecki’s 4th string quartet in 2016, as well as the 3rd string quartet by Joseph Phibbs, go hand-in-hand with its profound connection with the great works of the Classical and Romantic periods. The quartet’s open-minded approach to music invariably enables it to find its own unique, elegant and refined interpretations of the main string quartet repertoire.

From 2017/2018 season on, the Belcea Quartet is the Quartet Artist-in-Residence at the Pierre Boulez Saal Berlin. The quartet has shared a residence at the Wiener Konzerthaus with the Artemis Quartet since 2010.

The musicians created their very own Belcea Quartet Trust, whose main aims are to support and inspire young string quartets through series of

 

intensive coaching sessions organized according to the needs of each selected ensemble, as well as to support commissioning of new works from today’s leading composers to be premiered by the quartet in the future.

The Belcea Quartet has an impressive discography. During its long-term association with EMI Classics, the quartet recorded the complete Britten and Bartók quartets as well as works by Schubert, Brahms, Mozart, Debussy, Ravel and Dutilleux, amongst others. In 2012 and 2013, the quartet recorded the complete Beethoven quartets live in the Benjamin Britten Studio in Snape. This recording was released under ZigZag Territories, the quartet’s new label. As with its predecessors, this CD has been met with critical acclaim: it has been recognized with such prizes as Gramophone Award. In 2015, the quartet released its highly acclaimed recording of works by Webern, Berg and Schoenberg to coincide with its 20th jubilee. September 2016 saw the release of the quartet’s recording of the complete Brahms string quartets & piano quintet, a CD acclaimed by the press and awarded with a Diapason d’or of the year 2016. The Shostakovich album, including the 3rd string quartet and the piano quintet with Piotr Anderszewski, was released in April 2018, followed by the recording of Janáček’s two string quartets combined with Liget’s first quartet in the spring of 2019.

The Belcea Quartet’s performances of the complete Beethoven string quartets at Vienna’s Konzerthaus in 2012 were broadcast by Mezzo TV and were released – on DVD and Blue Ray disk – by the label Euroarts in fall 2014. The release was accompanied by Jean-Claude Mocik’s documentary of the entire project, “Looking for Beethoven”.

 

For the Belcea Quartet’s 25th anniversary this season the musicians will pick up the Beethoven string quartet cycle oncemore and present it in concert halls including Wigmore Hall London, the University of Hong Kong, the Teatro del Lago in Frutilar, the Pierre Boulez Saal in Berlin as well as the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées.

Corina Belcea

Corina Belcea was born in Romania in 1975 and studied the violin with Radu Bozgan and Stefan Gheorghiu. At the age of sixteen she moved to London to study at the Yehudi Menuhin School with Natalia Boyarskaya and finished her studies at the Royal College of Music with Felix Andrievsky.

It was at the Royal College of Music that the Belcea Quartet was born and has developed and Corina has been its founding member and first violin for 23 years.

She has performed with the quartet and solo around the world and holds a violin teaching possition at the Hochschule der Kunste Bern.

Corina Belcea plays a violin by Giovanni Battista Guadagnini (1755)
kindly on loan from MERITO String Instruments Trusts Vienna

Corina Belcea

Corina Belcea was born in Romania in 1975 and studied the violin with Radu Bozgan and Stefan Gheorghiu. At the age of sixteen she moved to London to study at the Yehudi Menuhin School with Natalia Boyarskaya and finished her studies at the Royal College of Music with Felix Andrievsky.

It was at the Royal College of Music that the Belcea Quartet was born and has developed and Corina has been its founding member and first violin for 23 years.

She has performed with the quartet and solo around the world and holds a violin teaching possition at the Hochschule der Kunste Bern.

Corina Belcea plays a violin by Giovanni Battista Guadagnini (1755)
kindly on loan from MERITO String Instruments Trusts Vienna

Axel Schacher

Born in 1981, Axel Schacher began playing the violin at the age of four.
At thirteen he entered the Conservatoire National Superieur de Musique de Paris as a student of Boris Garlitzki. In 1998, he won the City of Paris first prize, and in 2000 the first prize with honors of the Conservatoire National Superieur de Musique de Paris. In August that same year he won second prize at the International Tibor Varga Competition in Switzerland, as well as special prizes for best interpretation of the works of Bach and Paganini’s Caprice. He has appeared as soloist with various european orchestras, and is also a regular guest in several chamber music festival.
He was first violin of the Amati Quartet during the 2008-2009 season. Since January 2006 he holds the Concertmaster chair of the Basel Symphony Orchestra and is a member of the Belcea Quartet since June 2010.

Axel Schacher plays a violin by Nicolas Lupot (1824)

Axel Schacher

Born in 1981, Axel Schacher began playing the violin at the age of four.
At thirteen he entered the Conservatoire National Superieur de Musique de Paris as a student of Boris Garlitzki. In 1998, he won the City of Paris first prize, and in 2000 the first prize with honors of the Conservatoire National Superieur de Musique de Paris. In August that same year he won second prize at the International Tibor Varga Competition in Switzerland, as well as special prizes for best interpretation of the works of Bach and Paganini’s Caprice. He has appeared as soloist with various european orchestras, and is also a regular guest in several chamber music festival.
He was first violin of the Amati Quartet during the 2008-2009 season. Since January 2006 he holds the Concertmaster chair of the Basel Symphony Orchestra and is a member of the Belcea Quartet since June 2010.

Axel Schacher plays a violin by Nicolas Lupot (1824)

Antoine Lederlin

French cellist Antoine Lederlin was born in 1975. He completed his studies at the Conservatoire National Superieur de Paris in the class of Roland Pidoux.
He became solo cello at the Orchestre Philarmonique de Radio France at the age of 19 , and is currently solo cello at the SInfonie Orchester Basel .
He recorded the Schoeck cello concerto with Armin Jordan and Orchestre de chambre d’auvergne and plays trio concerts regularly with the violonist Midori and the pianist Jonathan Biss. His other chamber music partners include Martha Argerich, Leon Fleisher, Miriam Fried.

Antoine Lederlin has been the cellist of the Belcea Quartet since 2006.

Antoine Lederlin plays a cello by Matteo Gofriller (1722)
kindly on loan from MERITO String Instruments Trusts Vienna

Antoine Lederlin

French cellist Antoine Lederlin was born in 1975. He completed his studies at the Conservatoire National Superieur de Paris in the class of Roland Pidoux.
He became solo cello at the Orchestre Philarmonique de Radio France at the age of 19 , and is currently solo cello at the SInfonie Orchester Basel .
He recorded the Schoeck cello concerto with Armin Jordan and Orchestre de chambre d’auvergne and plays trio concerts regularly with the violonist Midori and the pianist Jonathan Biss. His other chamber music partners include Martha Argerich, Leon Fleisher, Miriam Fried.

Antoine Lederlin has been the cellist of the Belcea Quartet since 2006.

Antoine Lederlin plays a Cello by Matteo Gofriller (1722)
kindly on loan from MERITO String Instruments Trusts Vienna

Krzysztof Chorzelski

Krzysztof Chorzelski was born in Warsaw in 1971 and enjoys a diverse career as a performing musician that has taken him all over the world as violist of the acclaimed Belcea Quartet, chamber musician and soloist.
In 1992 he won the Wronski Solo Violin Competition in Warsaw and has subsequently performed as a recitalist and concerto soloist in Europe, making recordings for Polish Radio and the BBC. In 1996 became the viola player in the Belcea Quartet In 2006 he was invited by the Alban Berg Quartet to perform as a guest violist in a series of concerts celebrating the 250th Anniversary of Mozart’s birth in the Konzerthaus, Vienna. He performs as soloist with European orchestras, such as Sinfonia Varsovia and Real Filarmonia de Galicia. He also has a keen interest in commissioning new works for the viola from today’s leading composers. Recent premieres include a Viola Sonata by Pawel Szymanski and “Letters from Warsaw” by Joseph Phibbs. In August 2015 in Warsaw he also gave the world premiere of a recently discovered Viola Sonata by Andre Tchaikowsky.
Krzysztof’s recital cd which he recorded with the pianist Katya Apekisheva was released in February 2012 and was met with critical acclaim.
Krzysztof has a keen interest in conducting. His recording of Ittai Shapira’s Violin Concerto “Concierto Latino” with the London Serenata Orchestra and the composer as soloist has recently been released by Champs Hill Records. He recently conducted the Young Israel Philharmonic and will be returning there next year for further projects with the orchestra.

Krzysztof Chorzelski plays a viola by Nicola Amati (ca.1670)

Krzysztof Chorzelski

Krzysztof Chorzelski was born in Warsaw in 1971 and enjoys a diverse career as a performing musician that has taken him all over the world as violist of the acclaimed Belcea Quartet, chamber musician and soloist.
In 1992 he won the Wronski Solo Violin Competition in Warsaw and has subsequently performed as a recitalist and concerto soloist in Europe, making recordings for Polish Radio and the BBC. In 1996 became the viola player in the Belcea Quartet In 2006 he was invited by the Alban Berg Quartet to perform as a guest violist in a series of concerts celebrating the 250th Anniversary of Mozart’s birth in the Konzerthaus, Vienna. He performs as soloist with European orchestras, such as Sinfonia Varsovia and Real Filarmonia de Galicia. He also has a keen interest in commissioning new works for the viola from today’s leading composers. Recent premieres include a Viola Sonata by Pawel Szymanski and “Letters from Warsaw” by Joseph Phibbs. In August 2015 in Warsaw he also gave the world premiere of a recently discovered Viola Sonata by Andre Tchaikowsky.
Krzysztof’s recital cd which he recorded with the pianist Katya Apekisheva was released in February 2012 and was met with critical acclaim.
Krzysztof has a keen interest in conducting. His recording of Ittai Shapira’s Violin Concerto “Concierto Latino” with the London Serenata Orchestra and the composer as soloist has recently been released by Champs Hill Records. He recently conducted the Young Israel Philharmonic and will be returning there next year for further projects with the orchestra.

Krzysztof Chorzelski plays a viola by Nicola Amati (ca.1670)