Schumann Quartet

String 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: Albrecht Mayer, Menahem Pressler, Kit Armstrong, Anna Vinnitskaya and Anna Lucia Richter are among the quartet's current partners.

A highlight in the 20/21 season is the invitation to Tokyo in the Suntory Hall. Furthermore, the quartet will go on tour in North America and Asia, will give guest performances at festivals in Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands and play concerts in the big musical metropolises of London, Zurich, Madrid, Hamburg and Berlin. Furthermore the ensemble will be able to perform two special programs in Barcelona and Madrid together with the soprano Katharina Konradi.

Its album “Intermezzo” (2018 | Schumann, Reimann with Anna-Lucia Richter and Mendelssohn Bartholdy) has been hailed enthusiastically both at home and abroad and received the award “Opus Klassik“ in the category quintet. It 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. In 2020 the quartet has expanded its discography with "Fragment" and his examination of one of the masters of the string quartet: Franz Schubert.

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.

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

„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.”Sueddeutsche Zeitung • Harald Eggebrecht • March 10th, 2017
This biography is to be reproduced without any changes, omissions or additions, unless expressly authorized by artist management.
Contacts: Lenemarie Leukefeld, Matthias Hermann

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Programme

2022 / 2023
Program I

Mozart: String Quartet No. 16 in E-flat major KV. 428
Ives: String Quartet No. 1 „From the Salvation Army“
***
Mendelssohn: String Quartet No. 4 in E minor, Op. 44 No. 2
OR
Dvorak: String Quartet No. 14 in A-flat major, Op. 105

Program II
Beethoven: String Quartet No. 4 in C minor, Op. 18 No. 4
Ligeti: String Quartet No. 1 „Métamorphoses nocturnes“
***
Brahms: String Quartet No. 3 in B-flat major, Op. 67
Program III
Haydn: String Quartet in C major, Op. 54 No. 2 Hob III: 57
Fritz Kreisler: String Quartet in A minor (1922)
***
Beethoven: String Quartet No. 11 in F minor, Op. 95 „Quartetto serioso“
Quartet plus
Schumann Quartet & Anna Vinnitskaya (Piano)
April 2023
Schumann: String Quartet No. 1 in A minor, Op. 41 No. 1
Reimann: Adagio – In memory of Robert Schumann
***
Schumann: Piano Quintet in E-flat major, Op. 44
LIED
Schumann Quartet & Anna Lucia Richter (mezzosoprano)
„In dem Garten meiner Seele“ - Songs for String Quartet and Vocals
Gustav Mahler (arrangements): Rheinlegendchen, Blicke mir nicht in die Lieder, Ich atmet einen linden Duft, Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen (Stefan Heucke)
Johannes Brahms: Five Ophelia-Songs (arr. by Aribert Reimann)
Anton Webern: Slow Movement for String Quartet (1905)
Henri Marteau: from the Eight Songs Op. 10
***
Richard Wagner: from the Wesendonck-Songs (arr. Stefan Heucke)
Anton Webern: Six Bagatelles Op. 9
Hugo Wolf (arrangements): Gebet, Bei einer Trauung, Storchenbotschaft, Denk es, o Seele, Feuerreiter
2021 / 2022

Discography

Rosamunde – Fragment Pt. 1
Franz Schubert
String Quartet No.13 D.804 "Rosamunde"

Chiaroscuro
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Five Fugues from Bach´s The Well-Tempered Clavier, KV 4025

Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy
Fugue in E-flat major, Op. 81 No. 4

Philip Glass
String Quartet No. 2 "company"

Dmitri Shostakovich
Two Pieces for String Quartet (1931)

Anton Webern
Six Bagatelles, Op. 9

Leoš Janáček
String Quartet No. 2 "intimate letters"

George Gershwin
Lullaby

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 @ Wigmore Hall London (16.10.2020)
Schumann Quartet - Schubert: Quartet Movement in C Minor, D 703: II. Andante (Fragment)
Schumann Quartet - Schubert: String Quartet No. 6, D 74: IV. Allegro (Official Music Video)
Schumann Quartet – "Intermezzo" (Trailer)
Schumann Quartet – "Landscapes" (Trailer)

Contact

Lenemarie Leukefeld
t: +49 (0)30 414 781 721
f: +49 (0)30 414 781 713
Matthias Hermann
t: +49 (0)30 414 781 716
f: +49 (0)30 414 781 713