Belcea Quartet

String Quartet

Corina Belcea
Violin
Axel Schacher
Violin
Krzysztof Chorzelski
Viola
Antoine Lederlin
Cello
"When I first heard the Grosse Fuge I thought to myself: “this is insane and impossible to understand from a first hearing, I must listen to it again”. I still think that! "
Corina Belcea / Belcea Quartet, Strad Magazine, December 2017
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Biography

„What seems to be the predominant impulse driving this music is man’s yearning for freedom, the unquenchable desire to expand his limits 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 – which will be premiered this season -, 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. The quartet’s regular partners include Piotr Anderszewski, Till Fellner and Antoine Tamestit.

From 2017/2018 season on, the Belcea Quartet is the Quartet Artist-in-Residence at the new Pierre Boulez Saal Berlin. The quartet has shared a residence at the Wiener Konzerthaus with the Artemis Quartet since 2010. The musicians recently 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.
„The absolute certainty of ensemble is one of the joys of the Belcea, but just as important is their fearlessness, and their reactivity, capturing the music’s emotional shifts unerringly.”Gramophone, June 2018
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".

In 2018/2019, the quartet will perform in such venues as London’s Wigmore Hall, Carnegie Hall in New York, at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, Stockholm’s Konserthus, the Alte Oper Frankfurt as well as the National Concert Hall Taipei.

Instruments
Corina Belcea
Violin by Giovanni Battista Guadagnini (1755), kindly on loan from MERITO String Instruments Trusts Vienna

Axel Schacher
Violin by Nicolas Lupot (1824)

Krzysztof Chorzelski
Viola by Nicola Amati (ca. 1670)

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

2018 / 2019
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Contact: Linda Uschinski

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Programme

2019 / 2020
Beethoven Cycle
In the season 2019/ 2020 the Belcea Quartet offers the full Beethoven String Quartet Cycle.
Beethoven Op. 130 & Op. 133 "in mysterious company"

“There isn’t a more explosive composition of Beethoven’s than the famous (and infamous!) Quartet Op. 130 in its’ original form: with the Great Fugue as its’ crowning (or rather as is the case here: shattering!) finale.
The structure of this great quartet cannot be described as harmonious. Its six movements seem to be deliberately designed to be very awkward “neighbours”. What we have set out to achieve in this concert idea is to “expand” and “flesh out” the structure of this work by interspersing its six movements with…music by other composers.
Today’s modern technology offers us immediate access to all kinds of music and, as a result, we often find ourselves listening without knowing what it is that we are hearing. Aren’t such moments making us listen to the music we hear with a greater than usual sense of alertness and openness? If so, than this is a quality which Beethoven surely would have relished…” (Belcea Quartet)

Without Beethoven
with Michael Collins (Clarinet)

Mozart: String Quartet No. 19 C major, K 465 „Dissonance“
Britten: String Quartet No. 3, Op. 94
***
Mozart: Clarinet Quintet A major, K 581

Season PDF download

Schedule

17.01.2019
20:00 Uhr
Frankfurt am Main, DE / Alte Oper Frankfurt
Belcea Quartet
27.01.2019
14:00 Uhr
Sapporo, JP / Kitara Hall
Belcea Quartet
28.01.2019
19:00 Uhr
Tokyo, JP / Musashino Civic Cultural Hall
Belcea Quartet
30.01.2019
19:30 Uhr
Taipei, TW / National Concert Hall
Belcea Quartet
31.01.2019
19:00 Uhr
Kyoto, JP / Kyoto Concert Hall
Belcea Quartet
01.02.2019
19:00 Uhr
Tokyo, JP / Kioi Hall
Belcea Quartet
02.02.2019
18:00 Uhr
Nagoya, JP / Munetsugu Hall
Belcea Quartet
03.02.2019
14:00 Uhr
Hayama, JP / Welfare Culture Hall
Belcea Quartet
17.02.2019
11:00 Uhr
Basel, CH / Theatre Gare du Nord
Belcea Quartet
23.02.2019
19:00 Uhr
Berlin, DE / Pierre Boulez Saal
Belcea Quartet, Piotr Anderszewski
24.02.2019
19:30 Uhr
Wien, AT / Konzerthaus
Belcea Quartet, Piotr Anderszewski
25.02.2019
19:30 Uhr
Wien, AT / Konzerthaus
Belcea Quartet, Piotr Anderszewski
28.02.2019
19:30 Uhr
Madrid, ES / Auditorio Nacional de Música CNDM
Belcea Quartet, Piotr Anderszewski
01.03.2019
20:00 Uhr
Alicante, ES / Teatro Principale
Belcea Quartet
02.03.2019
18:15 Uhr
Les Diablerets, CH / Temple de Vers-l'Eglise
Belcea Quartet
11.03.2019
13:00 Uhr
London, GB / Wigmore Hall
Belcea Quartet
12.03.2019
20:00 Uhr
München, DE / Residenz
Belcea Quartet
13.03.2019
19:30 Uhr
Budapest, HU / Ferenc Liszt Akademie
Belcea Quartet
14.03.2019
19:30 Uhr
Graz, AT / Grazer Congress
Belcea Quartet
17.03.2019
11:00 Uhr
Paris, FR / Théâtre des Champs-Elysées
Belcea Quartet, Piotr Anderszewski
19.03.2019
20:30 Uhr
Orléans, FR / Théâtre d'Orléans
Belcea Quartet
24.03.2019
17:30 Uhr
Perugia, IT / Sala dei Notari
Belcea Quartet
25.03.2019
21:00 Uhr
Genova, IT / Teatro Carlo Felice
Belcea Quartet
26.03.2019
Neapel, IT / TBC
Belcea Quartet
27.03.2019
21:00 Uhr
Turin, IT / Conservatorio Giuseppe Verdi
Belcea Quartet

Discography

Shostakovich: String Quartet & Piano Quintet
Dmitri Shostakovich
String Quartet No. 3, Op. 73
Piano Quintet, Op. 57

Piotr Anderszewski - Piano

Brahms: The complete String Quartets & Piano Quintet
Johannes Brahms
String Quartet, Op. 51 No. 1
String Quartet, Op. 51 No. 2

String Quartet, Op. 67 No. 3
Piano Quintet, Op. 34

Till Fellner - Piano

Webern - Berg - Schönberg
Anton Webern
Slow Movement
Five Movements for String Quartet, Op. 5

Alban Berg
Lyric Suite for String Quartet

Arnold Schönberg
Transfigured Night, Op. 4

Nicolas Bone - Viola
Antonio Meneses - Cello

Britten: The complete String Quartets (DVD or Blu-ray Disc)
Benjamin Britten
String Quartet No. 1, Op. 25
String Quartet No. 2, Op. 36
String Quartet No. 3, Op. 94

Beethoven: The complete String Quartets (DVD or Blu-ray Disc)
Ludwig van Beethoven
String Quartets Nos 1-16

Beethoven: The complete String Quartets
Ludwig van Beethoven
Disc No. 1
String Quartet, Op. 18 No. 6
String Quartet, Op. 127
Disc No. 2
String Quartet, Op. 18 No. 2
String Quartet, Op. 59 No. 3
Disc No. 3
String Quartet, Op. 95
String Quartet, Op. 131
Disc No. 4
String Quartet, Op. 18 No. 1
String Quartet, Op. 18 No. 4
Disc No. 5
String Quartet, Op. 18 No. 3
String Quartet, Op. 18 No. 5
Grosse Fuge, Op. 133
Disc No. 6
String Quartet, Op. 59 No. 1
String Quartet, Op. 59 No. 2
Disc No. 7
String Quartet, Op. 74
String Quartet, Op. 130
Disc No. 8
String Quartet, Op. 132
String Quartet, Op. 135

Schubert: String Quartets & String Quintet
Franz Schubert
String Quintet, D 956
String Quartet No. 15, D 887
String Quartet No. 14, D 810, "Death and The Maiden"

Valentin Erben - Cello

Bartók: The complete String Quartets
Béla Bartók
String Quartet No. 1, Op. 7 Sz 40
String Quartet No. 2, Op. 17 Sz 67
String Quartet No. 3, Sz 80
String Quartet No. 4, Sz 91
String Quartet No. 5, Sz 102
String Quartet No. 6, Sz 114

Mozart: String Quartets
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
String Quartet, K 465
String Quartet, K 499

EMI Classics, 2006

Love blows as the wind blows
Roger Quilter
Four Shakespeare Songs, Op. 30
Who is Silvia?
When daffodils begin to peer
How should I your true love know?
Sigh no more, ladies

Samuel Barber
Dover Beach (to words from a Victorian poem by Matthew Arnold)

Benjamin Britten
Tit for Tat
A Song of Enchantment
Silver
Tit for Tat

Richard Rodney Bennett
Songs before Sleep
The Mouse and the Bumblebee (anon.)
Baby, baby, naughty baby (anon.)
As I walked by myself (attrib. Bernard Barton 1780-1840)

John Ireland
Santa Chiara - Palm Sunday; Naples
When lights go rolling round the sky

George Butterworth
Love blows as the wind blows
I In the year that's come and gone
II Life in her creaking shoes
III Fill a glass with golden wine

Gerald Finzi
Let us garlands bring - Five Shakespeare songs for Voice and Piano

William Bolcom
from Cabaret Songs
Song of Black Max (As told by the de Kooning Boys)
George
Waitin

Jonathan Lemalu - Bass baritone
Malcolm Martineau - Piano

EMI Classics, 2006

Britten: The complete String Quartets
Benjamin Britten
String Quartet No. 1, Op. 25
String Quartet No. 2, Op. 36
String Quartet No. 3, Op. 94
Three Divertimenti for String Quartet (1936)

EMI Classics, 2005

Mélodies Françaises
Claude Debussy
"Fêtes galantes"

Gabriel Fauré
4 Songs, Op. 39: Fleur jetée
3 Songs, Op. 23: Les berceaux
Au bord de l'eau, Op. 81 No. 1
2 Songs, Op. 83: Prison
Clair de lune, Op. 46 No. 2
3 Songs, Op. 18: Nell

Francis Poulence
Montparnasse (Apollinaire)
Deux poèmes de Guillaume Apollinaire, Op. 94: Dans le jardin d'Anna
Deux poèmes de Guillaume Apollinaire, Op. 94: Allons plus vite
Deux poèmes de Louis Aragon: C
Deux poèmes de Louis Aragon: Fêtes galantes
Tel jour, telle nuit: Bonne journée
Tel jour, telle nuit: Une ruine coquille vide
Tel jour, telle nuit: Le front comme un drapeau perdu
Tel jour, telle nuit: Une roulotte couverte en tuiles
Tel jour, telle nuit: A toutes brides
Tel jour, telle nuit: Une herbe pauvre
Tel jour, telle nuit: Je n'ai envie que de t'aimer
Tel jour, telle nuit: Figure de force brûlante et farouche
Tel jour, telle nuit: Nous avons fait la nuit

Gabriel Fauré
"La bonne chanson"

Ian Bostridge - Tenor
Leon Bosch - Double bass
Julius Drake - Piano

EMI Classics, 2004

Janáček: The complete String Quartets
Leoš Janáček
String Quartet No. 1, "The Kreutzer Sonata"
String Quartet No. 2, "Intimate Letters"

Brahms: String Quartet & String Quintet
Johannes Brahms
String Quartet, Op. 51 No. 1
String Quintet, Op. 111

Thomas Kakuska - Viola

EMI Classics, 2004

Schubert: String Quartets
Franz Schubert
String Quartet No. 13, Op. 29, D 804, "Rosamunde"
String Quartet No. 10, Op. 125, D 87

EMI Classics, 2003

French Music
Claude Debussy
String Quartet, Op. 10

Henri Dutilleux
String Quartet "Ainsi la Nuit"

Maurice Ravel
String Quartet in F major

EMI Classics, 2001

Videos

Belcea Quartet - Beethoven String Quartet, Op. 131
Belcea Quartet - Shostakovich String Quartet no.3

Contact

Linda Uschinski
t: +49 (0)30 414 781 717
f: +49 (0)30 414 781 713