Attending a concert by the Quatuor Ébène is a musical and sensual happening. In the past two decades the quartet has set new standards by making familiar repertoire accessible in new ways beyond perfection, and by constantly seeking exchange with the audience.
After studies with the Quatuor Ysaÿe in Paris as well as with Gábor Takács, Eberhard Feltz and György Kurtág, the unprecedented and outstanding success at the 2004 ARD Music Competition followed, marking the beginning of the Quatuor Ébène's rise to fame, which resulted in numerous other prizes and awards: In 2005, for example, the quartet was awarded the Belmont Prize of the Forberg-Schneider Foundation; in 2007 it was prize winner of the Borletti-Buitoni Trust, and in 2019 - as the first ensemble ever – it was honored with the Frankfurt Music Prize.
In addition to the traditional repertoire, the quartet also dives into other styles ("A String Quartet that can easily morph into a jazz band" New York Times, 2009). What began in 1999 as a distraction in the university’s practice rooms - improvising on jazz standards & pop songs - has become a trademark of Quatuor Ébène. To date, the quartet has released 3 albums in these genres, Fiction (2010), Brazil (2014) and Eternal Stories (2017). Ine June 2024, the ensemble will present “Waves”, a new project with the electronic sound artist Xavier Tribolet. The free approach to various styles creates a tension that is beneficial to every aspect of their artistic work. The complexity of their oeuvre has been greeted enthusiastically by audiences and critics.
Quatuor Ébène's albums, with recordings of Bartók, Beethoven, Debussy, Haydn, Fauré and the Mendelssohn siblings, have received numerous awards, including Gramophone, BBC Music Magazine, and the Midem Classic Award. In 2015 & 2016 the musicians dedicated themselves to the theme "Lied". They participated in the album "Green (Mélodies françaises)" by Philippe Jaroussky and released a Schubert album with Matthias Goerne (arrangements for String Quartet, baritone, and double bass, by Raphaël Merlin) and the Schubert String Quintet with Gautier Capuçon. Together with Antoine Tamestit, Quatuor Ébène recorded the Mozart String Quintets K. 515 and K. 516, which were released in the spring of 2023. The album has received accolades such as Choc Classica, Diapason d'Or, Gramophone of the month.
First and foremost is the recording of Beethoven’s 16 String Quartets, for which the quartet travelled across six continents between May 2019 and January 2020. With this complete recording, the four celebrated their 20th stage anniversary, which they additionally crowned with performances of the complete String Quartet cycle in major European venues such as the Philharmonie de Paris or the Alte Oper Frankfurt. Invitations from Carnegie Hall New York, the Verbier Festival and the Vienna Konzerthaus were also on the agenda.
„The way scents seem to transition into sounds, echoes resonate from the depths of space, and the Four intertwining attentively, only to then grab hold vigorously and expand vivaciously - it was exhilarating.”Süddeutsche Zeitung, March 2023
In January 2021, the quartet was appointed by the University of Music and Performing Arts in Munich to establish a String Quartet class as part of the newly founded „Quatuor Ébène Academy“.
Since the past season, the quartet has been performing a joint cycle with the Belcea Quartet at the Wiener Konzerthaus. For the 23/24 season the Philharmonie Luxembourg has chosen the Quatuor Ébène as resident ensemble. Next to chamber music concerts, they will present John Adam’s Absolute Jest together with the Luxembourg Philharmonic. As Quatuor en résidence à Radio France, they will again perform three concerts in Paris.
Further highlights of the season include concerts at the Salzburg Festival, Berliner Philharmonie, Megaron Athens, Wigmore Hall London and Carnegie Hall in New York City, NY.
Instruments & bows
Pierre Colombet is playing two violins: a 1717 Antonio Stradivari violin, the « Piatti », kindly loaned by a generous sponsor through the Beare’s International Violin Society, and a 1736 Matteo Goffriller violin generously loaned by Gabriele Forberg-Schneider, as well as a bow by Charles Tourte (Paris, 19th century) also loaned by Gabriele Forberg-Schneider.
Gabriel Le Magadure is playing two violins: the ex-Baron Rothschild Peter Guarneri of Venice kindly loaned by the Miller-Porter Collection through the Beare’s International Violin Society, and a violin from around 1740 with a Guarneri label loaned by Gabriele Forberg-Schneider. He plays a bow by Dominique Pecatte (ca.1845) loaned by Gabriele Forberg-Schneider.
Marie Chilemme is playing two violas : a 1734 Stradivari, the « Gibson », generously loaned by the « Stradivari Foundation Habisreutinger », and a viola by Marcellus Hollmayr, Füssen (1625) loaned by Gabriele Forberg-Schneider.
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