Cuarteto Casals

String Quartet

Vera Martínez Mehner
Violin
Abel Tomàs Realp
Violin
Jonathan Brown
Viola
Arnau Tomàs Realp
Cello
"A young quartet is a chaotic mix of influences and aspirations which need to molded over time into a distinct and coherent voice. This process takes a great deal of time, sacrifice and patience, all of which are often in short supply in the most important years of a quartet's formation."
Cuarteto Casals, Fifteen Questions, 2017
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Biography

Founded in 1997 at the Escuela Reina Sofía in Madrid, the Cuarteto Casals celebrated their 25th anniversary in the past season 2022/2023. Since its foundation and the award of first prizes at the International String Quartet Competition in London and the International Johannes Brahms Competition in Hamburg, literally the whole world has been able to convince itself that the Cuarteto Casals, with its distinctive tonal language and brilliance, is one of the best string quartets in the world. They are now an irreplaceable part of many concert and chamber music series in Europe, North America and Asia, and have been the artistic directors of the Barcelona String Quartet Biennale since 2020.

In the upcoming season 2023/2024, concerts featuring their anniversary program “Bach – The Art of the Fugue” are planned again: e.g. as part of their Asian tour in Tokyo in November 2023, in Madrid at the Auditorio Nacional de Músic (CNDM) or at the Paris Philharmonie in January 2024. “The Art of the Fugue” is linked to essential questions of a string quartet: “When should the identity of the individual cede to the needs of the collective? Are we one or are we four? Four parts, no instrumentation specified, no indications of how to execute the notes and one great enigma: how four distinct voices can retain their individuality while together creating a coherent whole.”
„Is there a typical Cuarteto Casals sound? Definitely. It is characterized by a maximum, extremely delicate penetration of the score and a multi-layered sound that always has something fluorescent, glassy.”Alexander Dick, Badische Zeitung, September 2022
Further highlights of this season include a residence in Valladolid with performances of John Adams Absolute Jest – a unique piece for String Quartet and orchestra (which premiered 2012 in San Francisco) – that has been presented in Spain by the Quartet already in the past season, as well as a Shostakowich cycle at the l’Auditori in Barcelona. Further great concerts will take them to Paris, Rome, Amsterdam and Helsinki, as well as to Switzerland: among others to Geneva, Lugano and Basel.

The quartet has compiled a substantial discography with the harmonia mundi label, including to date 16 CD’s, with repertoire ranging from lesser known Spanish composers Arriaga and Toldrá to Viennese classics Mozart, Haydn, Schubert and Brahms, through 20th Century greats Debussy, Ravel and Zemlinsky, as well as a live Blue-Ray recording of the complete Schubert quartets for Neu Records. In May 2020, to coincide with the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth, the third box-set of a three-volume recording of his quartets was released on the harmonia mundi label; all three volumes received great critical acclaim. In September 2021, the second album featuring Mozart’s “Haydn Quartets” was released – together with the first CD from 2014, the series “Dedicated to Joseph Haydn” is now complete. “The Strad” writes about the new release: “Above all this remarkable group plays with a sensitivity of phrase, dynamic and texture that sets new standards in this much-recorded repertoire. […] A superlative disc.”

A prize from the prestigious Burletti-Buitoni Trust in London enabled the quartet to begin a collection of matching Baroque and Classical period bows which it uses for works from Purcell through Schubert, refining its ability to distinguish between diverse musical styles. In addition, the quartet has been profoundly influenced by its work with living composers, especially György Kurtág, and has given the world premiere of quartets written by leading Spanish composers, including a new concerto for string quartet and orchestra by Francisco Coll, premiered with the Orquesta Nacional de España.

In recognition of its unique contributions to the cultural life within Catalunya and throughout Spain, Cuarteto Casals has been acknowledged as cultural ambassadors by the Generalitat of Catalunya and the Institut Ramon Lull, as well as the Ministerio de Cultura. Past awards include the Premio Nacional de Música, the Premi Nacional de Cultura de Catalunya and the Premi Ciutat Barcelona. The quartet performs yearly on the extraordinary collection of decorated Stradivarius instruments in the Royal Palace in Madrid.

Cuarteto Casals often appears on television and radio throughout Europe and North America, and in addition to giving much sought-after masterclasses, is quartet in residence at the Koninklijk Conservatorium Den Haag and at the Escola Superior de Musica de Catalunya in Barcelona, where all four members reside.

2023 / 2024
This biography is to be reproduced without any changes, omissions or additions, unless expressly authorized by artist management.
Contacts: Lenemarie Leukefeld, Ellen Bäuerle

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Programme

2024 / 2025

You’ll find the current programmes in the IMPRESARIUM of the 24/25 season

2023 / 2024
Program I
Haydn: String Quartet in C major, Op. 20 No. 2, Hob. III: 32
Mendelssohn: String Quartet No. 1 in E-flat major, Op. 12, MWV R 25
***
Shostakovich: String Quartet No. 2 in A major, Op. 68
Program II
Bach: The Art of the Fugue, BWV 1080, Contrapuncti No. 1-7 & 9
Gubaidulina: “Reflections on the Theme B-A-C-H” for String Quartet
***
Beethoven: String Quartet No. 9 in C major, Op. 59 No. 3 „Rasumowsky“
Program III
Bachs "The Art of the Fugue"

25 Years Together, 25 Years Apart
When we were beginning, a string quartet veteran told us that for the first 25 years a quartet learns to play together and for the next 25 it learns to play apart. We have now reached that milestone and continue to confront the mystery at the heart of our work: when should the identity of the individual cede to the needs of the collective? Are we one or are we four? To examine this issue at its root, we have chosen to celebrate our anniversary by returning to the most profound examination of musical counterpoint in Western history: Bach’s ‘The Art of the Fugue’. Four parts, no instrumentation specified, no indications of how to execute the notes and one great enigma: how four distinct voices can retain their individuality while together creating a coherent whole.

Schedule

31/05/2024
18:00 h
The Royal Library (Black Diamond)
Kopenhagen, Denmark
31/05/2024
20:00 h
The Royal Library, Black Diamond
Kopenhagen, Denmark
01/06/2024
13:30 h
The Royal Library, Black Diamond
Kopenhagen, Denmark
31/07/2024
16:00 h
PyeongChang Alpensia Resort
Pyeongchang-gun, Gangwon-do, South Korea
01/08/2024
20:00 h
Alpensia Concert Hall in PyeongChang
Daegwallyeong-myeon, Pyeongchang-gun, Gangwon-do, South Korea
02/08/2024
20:00 h
Alpensia Concert Hall in PyeongChang
Daegwallyeong-myeon, Pyeongchang-gun, Gangwon-do, South Korea
31/08/2024
Canònica de Santa Maria
Vilabertran, Spain
20/09/2024
Amare
Den Haag, Netherlands
21/09/2024
18:00 h
Anja Bihlmaier, Cuarteto Casals, Residentie Orkest
21/09/2024
18:00 h
Cuarteto Casals, Anja Bihlmaier, Residentie Orkest Den Haag
22/09/2024
17:00 h
27/09/2024
20:30 h
Église Saint Léger
Seillans, France
01/10/2024
20:00 h
Auditorio Museo Picasso Málaga
Málaga, Spain
05/10/2024
20:00 h
Bodegas Raimat
Raïmat, Lleida, Spain
20/10/2024
18:00 h
Società Aquilana dei Concerti “B. Barattelli”
L'Aquila, Italy
23/10/2024
19:30 h
Philharmonie de Luxembourg (Salle de Musique de Chambre)
Luxemburg, Luxembourg
24/10/2024
20:15 h
De Oosterpoort
Groningen, DA Groningen, Netherlands
02/11/2024
14:00 h
UCLA William Andrews Clark Memorial Library
Los Angeles, United States
12/11/2024
19:30 h
Plymouth Church
Cleveland, OH, United States
13/11/2024
19:30 h
Werner Recital Hall, Cincinnati Conservatory
Cincinnati, United States

Discography

The Art of Fugue
Johann Sebastian Bach
Die Kunst der Fuge BWV 1080

Contrapunctus I, a 4
Contrapunctus II, a 4
Contrapunctus III, a 4
Contrapunctus IV, a 4
Contrapunctus V, a 4
Contrapunctus VI, a 4 in stilo francese
Contrapunctus VII, a 4 per augmentationem et diminutionem
Contrapunctus VIII, a 3
Contrapunctus IX, a 4 alla duodecima
Contrapunctus X, a 4 alla decima
Contrapunctus XI, a 4
Contrapunctus XII, a 4
Contrapunctus XIII, a 3
Canon per augmentationem in contrario motu
Canon alla ottava
Canon alla decima in contrapunto alla terza
Canon alla duodecima in contrapunto alla quinta
Contrapunctus XIV, a 4 Fuga a tre soggetti
Chorale Vor deinen Thron tret' ich BWV 668 (extr. 18 Chorale Preludes, BWV 651-668)

Quartets Dedicated to Haydn
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
String Quartet no.15, KV 421
String Quartet no.17, KV 458 "The Hunt"
String Quartet no.18, KV 464

Mozart
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
String Quartet 'Dissonance', KV 465

Apotheosis
Ludwig van Beethoven
String Quartet No. 5, Op. 18 No. 5
String Quartet No. 6, Op. 18 No. 6

String Quartet No. 11, 'Serioso', Op. 95
String Quartet No. 14, Op. 131

String Quartet No. 13, Op. 130 with 'Grosse Fugue' Op. 133

Revelations
Ludwig van Beethoven
String Quartet No. 2, Op. 18 No. 2
String Quartet No. 10, Op. 74

String Quartet No. 8, Op. 59 No. 2
String Quartet No. 9, Op. 59 No. 3

String Quartet No. 15, Op. 132

Inventions
Ludwig van Beethoven
String Quartet No. 1, Op. 18 No. 1
String Quartet No. 2, Op. 18 No. 3
String Quartet No. 3, Op. 18 No. 4

String Quartet No. 9, Op. 14
String Quartet No. 7, Op. 59 No. 1

String Quartet No. 12, Op. 127
String Quartet No. 16, Op. 135

Schubert: Complete String Quartets #2 - Live in Barcelona
Franz Schubert
String Quartet No. 4, D 46
String Quartet No. 1, D 18
String Quartet No. 9, D 173

Schubert: Complete String Quartets #1 - Live in Barcelona
Franz Schubert
String Quartet No. 7, D 94
String Quartet No. 5, D 68
String Quartet No. 14, D 810 "Death and the Maiden"

Mozart: String Quartets dedicated to Haydn
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
String Quartet No. 14, K.387
String Quartet No. 16, K.428/421b
String Quartet No. 19, K.465

Haydn: The Seven Last Words
Joseph Haydn
The Seven Last Words of Christ, Hob.XX:2

20th Century String Quartets
Claude Debussy
String Quartet, Op. 10

Alexander von Zemlinsky
String Quartet No. 2, Op. 15

Maurice Ravel
String Quartet, Op. 35

Eduard Toldrà
Vistes al mar

Joaquín Turina
Oración del torero

Schubert
Franz Schubert
String Quartet No. 10, Op. 125/1 D.87
String Quartet No. 15, Op. 161 D.887

Boccherini: La musica notturna di Madrid
Luigi Boccherini
String Quintet G. 324, Op. 30 No. 6
String Quintet No. 6, G.275, Op. 11 No. 5
String Quartet G. 205, Op. 32 No. 5
Guitar Quintet No. 6, G. 448

Eckart Runge - Cello
Carles Trepat - Guitar

Metamorphosis
Béla Bartók
String Quartet No. 4, Sz. 91

György Ligeti
String Quartet No. 1, "Métamorphoses nocturnes"

György Kurtág
12 Microludes for String Quartet, Op. 13

Haydn
Joseph Haydn
String Quartets, Op. 33

Brahms: Complete String Quartets and 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

Claudio Martínez Mehner - Piano

Influencias
Maurice Ravel
String Quartet, Op. 35

Eduard Toldrà
Vistes al mar

Joaquín Turina
Oración del torero

Mozart: The Early Quartets
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
String Quartet No. 1, K. 80
Divertimento K. 136
Divertimento K. 137
Divertimento K. 138
String Quartet No. 2, K. 155

String Quartet No. 3, K. 156
String Quartet No. 4, K. 157
String Quartet No. 5, K. 158
String Quartet No. 6, K. 159
String Quartet No. 7, K. 160
String Quartet No. 8, K. 168

String Quartet No. 9, K. 169
String Quartet No. 10, K. 170
String Quartet No. 11, K. 171
String Quartet No. 12, K. 172
String Quartet No. 13, K. 173

Debussy & Zemlinsky
Claude Debussy
String Quartet, Op. 10

Alexander von Zemlinsky
String Quartet No. 2, Op. 15

Videos

25 years Cuarteto Casals!
Beethoven Complete String Quartets, vol. 1
Cuarteto Casals 20th Anniversary
Schubert Complete String Quartets # 2
Haydn: The Seven Last Words of Christ
Beethoven in Colombia 2020

Contact

Lenemarie Leukefeld
Senior Artist Manager
t: +49 (0)30 414 781 721
Ellen Bäuerle
Senior Artist Coordinator
t: +49 (0)30 414 781 712