Schumann Quartet

Sting Quartet

Erik Schumann
Violin
Ken Schumann
Violin
Liisa Randalu
Viola
Mark Schumann
Cello
"The hard part is not to prepare something; it’s to let the preparation go."
Erik Schumann / Schumann Quartett, Concerti, May 2017
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Biography

The Schumann Quartet has reached a stage where anything is possible, because it has dispensed with certainties. This also has consequences for audiences, which from one concert to the next have to be prepared for all eventualities: “A work really develops only in a live performance,” the quartet says. “That is 'the real thing', because we ourselves never know what will happen. On the stage, all imitation disappears, and you automatically become honest with yourself. Then you can create a bond with the audience – communicate with it in music.”
This live situation will gain an added energy in the near future: Sabine Meyer, Menahem Pressler, Andreas Ottensamer and Anna Lucia Richter are among the quartet's current partners.
A highlight in the 18/19 season is its three-year residency at the Chamber Music Society of the Lincoln Center in New York City, which began back in December 2016. Furthermore, the quartet will go on tour in Israel and twice in the US, will give guest performances at festivals in Germany, Austria, France, the Netherlands and Bulgaria and will also perform concerts in the big musical metropolises of London, Amsterdam, Vienna, Hamburg and Berlin. In addition, the ensemble is “artiste étoile” at the “Oraniensteiner Konzerte” and is looking forward to their two annual concerts as part of its long-term residency at the “Robert-Schumann-Saal” in Düsseldorf.

Its current album “Intermezzo” (2018 | Schumann, Reimann with Anna-Lucia Richter and Mendelssohn Bartholdy) has been hailed enthusiastically both at home and abroad and is celebrated as a worthy successor to its award-winning “Landscapes” album, in which in which the quartet traces its own roots by combining works of Haydn, Bartók, Takemitsu and Pärt. Among other prices, the latter received the “Jahrespreis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik”, five Diapasons and was selected as Editor's Choice by the BBC Music Magazine. For its previous CD “Mozart Ives Verdi”, the Schumann Quartet was accorded the 2016 Newcomer Award at the BBC Music Magazine Awards in London.
„The "Schumanns" belong without any doubts to the best quartets in the world.”Sueddeutsche Zeitung • Harald Eggebrecht • March 10th, 2017
The three brothers Mark, Erik and Ken Schumann have been playing together since their earliest childhood. In 2012, they were joined by violist Liisa Randalu, who was born in the Estonian capital, Tallinn, and grew up in Karlsruhe, Germany. Those who experience the quartet in performance often remark on the strong connection between its members. The four musicians enjoy the way they communicate without words: how a single look suffices to convey how a particular member wants to play a particular passage. Although the individual personalities clearly manifest themselves, a common space arises in every musical work in a process of spiritual metamorphosis. The quartet's openness and curiosity may be partly the result of the formative influence exerted on it by teachers such as Eberhard Feltz, the Alban Berg Quartet, or partners such as Menahem Pressler.

Teachers and musical partners, prestigious prices, CD releases – it is always tempting to speculate on what factors have led to many people viewing the Schumann Quartet as one of the best in the world. But the four musicians themselves regard these stages more as encounters, as a confirmation of the path they have taken. They feel that their musical development over the past two years represents a quantum leap. “We really want to take things to extremes, to see how far the excitement and our spontaneity as a group take us,” says Ken Schumann, the middle of the three Schumann brothers. They charmingly sidestep any attempt to categorise their sound, approach or style, and let the concerts speak for themselves.

And the critics approve: “Fire and energy. The Schumann Quartet plays staggeringly well [...] without doubt one of the very best formations among today’s abundance of quartets, […] with sparkling virtuosity and a willingness to astonish” (Harald Eggebrecht in Süddeutsche Zeitung). So there is plenty of room for adventure.

Quotes taken from an interview with journalists from the classical music magazine VAN
(van-magazin.de)

2018/2019
This biography is to be reproduced without any changes, omissions or additions, unless expressly authorized by artist management.
Contacts: Lenemarie Leukefeld, Katja Szarka

Images

Programme

2018 / 2019
"Chiaroscuro"
The album of the same name will be released in January 2019 at Berlin Classics.

Bach/Mozart: Fugue No. 1 in E-flat major*
Mendelssohn: Fugue in E-flat major, Op. 81 No. 4 (1827)
Bach/Mozart: Fugue No. 2 in C minor*
Glass: String Quartet No. 2, “Company”
Bach/Mozart: Fugue No. 3 in D major*
Shostakovich: Two Pieces for String Quartet (1931)
1. Adagio (Elegy), transcription of Katerina’s aria from scene 3 of the opera “Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District”, Op. 29
2. Allegretto (Polka), transcription of the Polka from the ballet “The Age of Gold”, Op. 22
Bach/Mozart: Fugue No. 4 in D minor *
Webern: 6 Bagatelles, Op. 9
Bach/Mozart: Fugue No. 5 in E major *
***

Janáček: String Quartet No. 2, “Intimate Letters”

from: Five Fugues for string quartet (transcribed from Bach’s Well Tempered Clavier, Book 2) edited for String Quartet by Mozart, K.405

Programme II

Haydn: Divertimento, Op. 1 No. 1 in B-flat major
Shostakovich: String Quartet No. 9 in E-flat major, Op. 117
***
Smetana: String Quartet No. 1 in E minor, “From My Life”

Programme III

Mozart: String Quartet No. 20 in D major, KV 499, “Hoffmeister”
Debussy: String Quartet in G minor, Op. 10
***
Mendelssohn: String Quartet No. 4 in E minor, Op. 44 No. 2 MWV R 26

Programme IV

Beethoven: String Quartet No. 7 in F major, Op. 59 No. 1, “Razumovsky”
***
Beethoven: String Quartet No. 14 in C-sharp minor, Op. 131

Programme V

Mozart: Adagio and Fugue in C minor, K.546
Berg: “Lyric Suite” for string quartet (1926)
***
Grieg: String Quartett No. 1 in G minor, Op. 27

Programme VI
with Pablo Barragán (Clarinet)
October 25th – 31st, 2020

Brahms: String Quartet No. 3 in B-flat major, Op. 67
***
Fuchs: Clarinet Quintet in E-flat major, Op. 102

Programme VII
with Reto Bieri (Clarinet)

Bernard Herrmann: Clarinet Quintet “Souvenirs De Voyage”
Bernard Herrmann: String Quartet “Echoes” (1965)
***
Brahms: Clarinet Quintet in B minor, Op. 115

Season PDF download

Schedule

27.01.2019
15:00 Uhr
Lexington, KY, US / Unitarian Universalist Church
Schumann Quartett
28.01.2019
19:30 Uhr
Dallas (TX), US / SMU Caruth Auditorium
Schumann Quartett, Escher Quartet
02.02.2019
20:00 Uhr
Durham, NC, US / Duke University Durham
Schumann Quartett
04.02.2019
19:30 Uhr
Cleveland, TN, US / Lee University
Schumann Quartett
02.03.2019
18:30 Uhr
Bilbao, ES / Palacio de Congresos y de la Música Euskalduna
Schumann Quartett
03.03.2019
20:00 Uhr
Bilbao, ES / Palacio de Congresos y de la Música Euskalduna
Schumann Quartett
12.03.2019
20:30 Uhr
Elmau /Klais, DE / Schloss Elmau
Schumann Quartett, Anna Vinnitskaya
17.03.2019
11:00 Uhr
Burgrieden - Rot, DE / Villa Rot
Schumann Quartett
22.03.2019
19:30 Uhr
London, GB / King's Place
Schumann Quartett
24.03.2019
12:00 Uhr
Ruse, BG / Theatre Hall
Schumann Quartett, Svetlin Roussev, Yeol Eum Son
31.03.2019
15:00 Uhr
Dijon, FR / Opéra de Dijon
Schumann Quartett
05.04.2019
20:00 Uhr
Bruchsal, DE / Schloss Bruchsal
Schumann Quartett
06.04.2019
20:00 Uhr
Zug, CH / Theater Casino Zug
Schumann Quartett, Andreas Ottensamer
07.04.2019
17:00 Uhr
Düsseldorf, DE / Museum Kunstpalast
Schumann Quartett, Andreas Ottensamer
08.04.2019
20:00 Uhr
Berlin, DE / Philharmonie
Schumann Quartett, Andreas Ottensamer
10.04.2019
19:30 Uhr
Schweinfurt, DE / Theater der Stadt Schweinfurt
Schumann Quartett, Andreas Ottensamer

Discography

Intermezzo
Robert Schumann
String Quartet No. 1 in A minor

Aribert Reimann
Adagio zum Gedenken an Robert Schumann

Robert Schumann / Aribert Reimann
6 Songs Op. 107 for Soprano and String Quartet

Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy
String Quartet No. 1 in E-flat major

Anna Lucia Richter – Soprano

Landscapes
Joseph Haydn
String Quartet in B-Flat Major, Op. 76/4 "Sunrise"

Toru Takemitsu
"Landscape" for String Quartet

Béla Bartók
String Quartet No. 2

Arvo Pärt
"Fratres" for String Quartet

Mozart - Ives - Verdi
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
String Quartet in D major K. 575

Chales Ives
String Quartet No. 2

Giuseppe Verdi
Quartetto in E minor

Videos

Schumann Quartet – "Intermezzo" (Trailer)
Schumann Quartet – "Landscapes" (Trailer)
Schumann Quartet – BR Klassik | U21: Joseph Haydn's String Quartet Op. 76
Schumann Quartet – BR Klassik | U21: Robert Schumann's String Quartet Op. 41

Contact

Lenemarie Leukefeld
t: +49 (0)30 414 781 721
f: +49 (0)30 414 781 713
Katja Szarka
t: +49 (0)30 414 781 715
f: +49 (0)30 414 781 713