"The most striking thing […] was its spirit of freedom"
...as the London Times wrote in the Spring of 2019, these musicians are not confined by traditional boundaries. The two founding members, the Romanian violinist Corina Belcea and the Polish violist Krzysztof Chorzelski, brought a very different artistic provenance to the ensemble in 1994, which was expanded by the French musicians Axel Schacher (violin) and Antoine Lederlin (violoncello).
„[…] the purity of tone and pitch that distinguished the ensemble from the outset remains a hallmark of its work.”The London Times, March 2020
This also reflects the range of their repertoire: they have already recorded the complete string quartets by Bartók, Beethoven, Brahms (Diapason d'or de l'année 2016), and Britten and are constantly presenting new works by contemporary composers such as Joseph Phibbs (2018), Krzysztof Penderecki (2016), Thomas Larcher (2015) and Mark-Anthony Turnage (2014 & 2010). Another work follows this season: The French composer Guillaume Connesson has dedicated his new String Quartet to the Belcea Quartet, it will be world premièred in Vevey, premieres will follow at the Cologne Philharmonie, Konzerthaus Wien, Wigmore Hall London, Sibelius Academy in Helsinki and Dunkers Kulturhus Helsingborg. These commissioned works are created in association with the quartet's own foundation, whose aim is to continually broaden the string quartet literature as well as to support young quartets through concentrated joint coaching sessions. In this way they can also pass on to the next generation the experience they gained as students of the Amadeus & Alban Berg Quartet.
In addition to the complete recordings, the quartet can refer to a varied discography with recordings (among others) of Berg, Dutilleux, Mozart, Schönberg & Schubert. Recent recordings include the Shostakovich Album, with the 3rd String Quartet and the Piano Quintet with Piotr Anderszewski, (2018) and the string quartets by Janáček & Ligeti's 'Metamorphoses nocturnes' (2019). In the Spring of 2022 they recorded both of Brahms’ String Sextets with Tabea Zimmermann and Jean-Guihen Queyras.
„No other recent performances surpass these for their mellifluous blend of sound and the naturalness with which the six players allow the music to flow, not too emphatic, but always giving the music its full weight and significance. The music glows, as Brahms surely intended it should.”Financial Times, March 2022
Their performances of all Beethoven String Quartets at the Konzerthaus Vienna in 2012 were released on DVD by EuroArts in 2014, followed by the release of a recording of Britten's three String Quartets in 2015.
From 2017 to 2020, the quartet was the Ensemble in Residence of the Pierre Boulez Saal in Berlin, where the four return to regularly since then. Since 2010 the Belcea Quartet is part of a shared string quartet cycle at the Konzerthaus Vienna, from this season on the Quatuor Ébène is their partner-ensemble there.
This season the ensemble will perform at the String Quartet Biennale in Barcelona, Wigmore Hall London, the Pohang Festival in South Korea, Flagey in Brussels, Tonhalle Zurich as well as the Konserthus in Stockholm, to name just a few.
Violin by Giovanni Battista Guadagnini (1755), kindly on loan from MERITO String Instruments Trusts Vienna
Violin by Nicolas Lupot (1824)
Viola by Nicola Amati (ca. 1670)
Cello by Matteo Gofriller (1722), kindly on loan from MERITO String Instruments Trusts Vienna
2022 / 2023
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Linda Uschinski (Department Head)
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