Three decades since its founding in 1989 at the University of Music Lübeck and one year since its new configuration, the Artemis Quartet affirms its exceptional status in the world of chamber music. As Susanne Benda remarked in a concert review for the Stuttgarter Nachrichten in September 2020: “The delicacy, profound urgency, tight-knit communication, balance between immediacy and overarching artistic framework: these qualities are as present as ever”.
Despite the pandemic-related cancellations of the quartet’s extensive tours to the United States and Asia in the 2020/21 season, the ensemble will nonetheless be featured in all of the most prominent concert series in Europe. These appearances include three concerts in each of the following venues: Vienna’s Konzerthaus, Berlin’s Philharmonie, Cologne’s Philharmonie and Amsterdam’s Muziekgebouw. Until the end of 2020, the quartet’s repertoire focuses on a selection of Ludwig van Beethoven’s quartets, combined with new works celebrating the composer’s anniversary year. Starting in January 2021, Mendelssohn, Schubert, Dvořák and Shostakovich take on a more prominent role in the ensemble’s programming.
Since winning the ARD Music Competition in 1996 and International String Quartet Competition Premio Paolo Borciani in 1997, the Artemis Quartet has made appearances in all major music centres on five continents. The quartet’s formative mentors include Walter Levin, members of the Alban Berg Quartet, Juilliard Quartet and Emerson Quartet, as well as Alfred Brendel. The Artemis Quartet has recorded exclusively for Virgin (now known as Erato/Werner) since 2005; its albums are regular recipients of awards worldwide. In 2011, the ensemble’s recording of Beethoven’s complete string quartets was recognized with the prestigious “Grand Prix de l’Académie Charles Cros”; in 2019, it was selected to be part of Warner Classics’ release of Beethoven’s complete works to commemorate the composer’s 250th birthday.
In 2003, the Beethoven-Haus Association of Bonn awarded the Artemis Quartet an honorary membership in recognition of its interpretations of Beethoven’s music.
Composers such as Mauricio Sotelo (2004), Jörg Widmann (2006) and Thomas Larcher (2008) have written notable pieces for the Artemis Quartet. In 2014, the quartet premiered a concerto for quartet and orchestra by Daniel Schnyder. In 2020, the quartet commemorated Beethoven’s anniversary year by commissioning – and premiering – works by Lera Auerbach, Pēteris Vasks and Jörg Widmann.
Vineta Sareika performs on a violin by Antonio Stradivari from 1683, on loan from the Ruggieri Foundation. Suyoen Kim can be heard on the “Lord Newlands” Stradivari from 1702, generously made available by the Nippon Music Foundation. Gregor Sigl’s instrument, of unattributed origins, stems from around 1700 and can be heard in the recordings of the legendary Busch Quartet; violist Friedemann Weigle, whom the quartet tragically lost in 2015, had acquired it while he was a member of the Petersen Quartet. Harriet Krijgh plays on a cello by Domenico Montagnana (1723), loaned by the Prokopp Foundation.
2020 / 2021
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Linda Uschinski (Head)
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