Artists · Ensembles · Doric String Quartet
“a true togetherness…. One marvellous utterance followed by another.” The Sunday Times, 11 March 2018
Firmly established as one of the leading quartets of its generation, the Doric String Quartet receives enthusiastic responses from audiences and critics across the globe. Winner of the 2008 Osaka International Chamber Music Competition in Japan and 2nd prize at the Premio Paolo Borciani International String Quartet Competition in Italy, the Quartet now performs in leading concert halls throughout Europe including Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Vienna Konzerthaus, Berlin Konzerthaus, Frankfurt Alte Oper, Hamburg Laeiszhalle and De Singel, and is a regular visitor to the Wigmore Hall. The Quartet tours annually to the United States and made its Carnegie Hall debut in 2017.
Alongside main season concerts the Quartet has a busy festival schedule and has performed at the Festspiele Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Schwetzingen, Schwarzenberg Schubertiade, Grafenegg, Aldeburgh, West Cork, Cheltenham, Delft, Incontri inTerra di Siena and Risør Festivals, collaborating with artists including Ian Bostridge, Mark Padmore, Alexander Melnikov, Pieter Wispelwey, Jonathan Biss, Chen Halevi, Elizabeth Leonskaja, Alina Ibragimova and Cédric Tiberghien. The Quartet takes over the Artistic Directorship of the Mendelssohn on Mull Festival from 2018, a position that sees the Quartet play a key role in implementing the Festival’s core mission of providing young professionals in the field of string chamber music with a week of intensive mentoring, coaching and development.
A recent highlight has seen the Quartet take on John Adams’ Absolute Jest for String Quartet and Orchestra with performances at the Vienna Konzerthaus with John Adams conducting, with the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic at the Concertgebouw and with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra conducted by Markus Stenz. Their recording of the piece with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and Peter Oundjian, released on Chandos in 2018, was named Recording of the Month in BBC Music Magazine and praised for the “sumptuous sweetness and laser-like clarity” of its performance.
Highlights of the 2018/19 season include a residency at Aldeburgh’s Britten Weekend with a complete overview of the composer’s quartets, leading the Doric straight into recording the works at Snape Maltings for release on Chandos. The Quartet returns to the Wigmore Hall three times including in collaboration with pianist Jonathan Biss and elsewhere performs at Hamburg Elbphilharmonie, Dortmund Konzerthaus, Musée du Louvre in Paris and two performances at the Barbican’s Milton Court with Benjamin Grosvenor. Further afield the Quartet makes its South American debut at Buenos Aires’ Usina del Arte and undertakes its annual North American tour, which this year includes performances in Boston and Philadelphia. The Doric returns to Australia for a nationwide tour with Musica Viva, including the world premiere of a new Quartet by Brett Dean co-commissioned for the Doric by Musica Viva, Berlin Konzerthaus, Carnegie Hall, Amsterdam String Quartet Biennale and the Edinburgh International Festival.
Since 2010 the Doric Quartet has recorded exclusively for Chandos Records, with their releases covering repertoire ranging from Schumann through to Korngold and Walton as well as works with orchestra including Elgar’s Introduction and Allegro and John Adams’ Absolute Jest. Their 2017 release of Schubert’s Quartettsatz and G Major Quartet was named Editor’s Choice by Gramophone and nominated for a 2017 Gramophone Award. The Quartet’s ongoing commitment to Haydn has so far seen them release the complete Opus 20, Opus 76 and Opus 64 Quartets with the recordings attracting acclaim including Editor’s Choice in Gramophone, Choc du Mois in Classica Magazine and a shortlisting for a Gramophone Award. Future releases include quartets by Mendelssohn, Britten and the complete Haydn Opus 33 Quartets.
Formed in 1998 the Doric String Quartet studied on the Paris-based ProQuartet Professional Training Program and later at the Music Academy in Basel, then being selected for representation by YCAT in 2006. In 2015 the Quartet was appointed as Teaching Quartet in Association at the Royal Academy of Music in London. The Quartet’s violist Hélène Clément plays a viola by Guissani, 1843 generously on loan from the Britten-Pears Foundation and previously owned by Frank Bridge and Benjamin Britten.
The Doric String Quartet appears by arrangement with Sulivan Sweetland Artist Management and is represented in France by Satirino.
For more information please visit www.doricstringquartet.com
Photo George Garnier
Electrifying: Doric String Quartet
“The coupling is apt — five of Purcell’s 1680 Fantasias, written for viol consort, with these Britten works — because Britten’s C major quartet, Op 36, was premiered at Wigmore Hall as a homage to Purcell, in a concert celebrating the 250th anniversary of his death in 1945. With Britten’s earlier Three Divertimenti (1936) and D major quartet, Op 25, and his final work, the G major quartet, Op 94 (completed, with the help of Colin Matthews, shortly before his death in 1976), this is a small but substantial contribution to the canon, comparable in its emotional intensity — certainly as played, electrifyingly, here by the Doric String Quartet — with Shostakovich’s 15 works. The long Chacony of Op 36, with its solo cadenzas for three instruments, is especially poignant, as Hélène Clément plays the composer’s own viola.”
Hugh Canning, The Sunday Times, ALBUM OF THE WEEK - April 14 2019 - PURCELL, BRITTEN String Fantasias in Four Parts; String Quartets Nos 1-3, Three Divertimenti, Chandos CHAN20124
“The Doric Quartet’s beautiful Britten cycle was recorded in tandem with a series of concerts, greatly admired, in Snape Maltings last October. They describe it themselves as a ‘milestone’ since their formation in 1998, and in some ways it can be seen as the culmination of a long association both with Britten’s music and with Suffolk itself… The set also, however, reflects upon the indelible imprint left by Purcell’s music on Britten’s work, which is sometimes taken as read, though the juxtaposition here is effective and telling. The Second Quartet was famously written to mark the 250th anniversary of Purcell’s birth, while the great closing Passacaglia of the Third was Britten’s last deployment of a form he took from his predecessor and made his own… The performances are all superbly judged and controlled, balancing fragility with strength, restraint with great depth of feeling… this is a major cycle, engaging and profound in equal measure, and you need to hear it.”
Tim Ashley, Gramophone, Editor’s Choice, April 2019 (BRITTEN String Quartets, PURCELL Fantasias, Chandos CHAN20124)
“The Doric String Quartet led a spellbinding series of concerts, rich in variety, impeccable in execution. This elite British ensemble, founded two decades ago, played the central repertoire… The String Quartet No 2 (1945) was premiered on the 250th anniversary of Purcell’s death, the yearning, melancholy last movement ‘chacony’ – variations over a ground bass – a stylistic homage to the earlier master, some of whose fantasias were played alongside at Snape. The Doric Quartet gave a molten performance, each musician – violinists Alex Redington and Jonathan Stone, viola player Hélène Clément (who plays the instrument that once belonged to Britten himself), cellist John Myerscough – strong and independent, pulling together as one: as you’d hope, but don’t always get, from any top quartet ensemble. They have just recorded the complete Britten quartets: it will be an essential purchase.”
Britten weekend at Snape Maltings, Fiona Maddocks, The Guardian, 27th October 2018
Scintillating Britten from the Doric String Quartet at Snape Maltings
“... gripping performances of Britten’s mature chamber works by the Doric String Quartet, four musicians of rare taste and virtuosity who were steeped in this repertoire on the back of a week spent recording them for Chandos… Not even divine intervention, though, could have prepared the listener for the group’s overwhelming account of the work’s (Britten’s 2nd string quartet) closing Chacony, a 17-minute slow-burner that starts in fateful-sounding unison before fraying into threads that interlace with a searching need. It’s that yearning again, but here writ large. No wonder Britten waited 30 years after this before returning to the quartet form. The Doric players located the music’s elusive pulse and infused its every beat with virtuosic commitment, their instinct for drama intensifying as the score’s textures thickened and stretched. It was bravura playing.” Mark Valencia, Bachtrack , 22 October 2018
“The Doric String Quartet brings sumptuous sweetness and laser-like clarity to its solo part. The tricky balance between orchestra and quartet is here well judged, with the quartet soaring effortlessly across the score’s often dense orchestral textures.”
Stephen Johnson - BBC Music magazine RECORDING OF THE MONTH - July 2018 - John Adams, Absolute Jest
“… Nos 5 and 6 are profoundly satisfying throughout, their first movements amply spacious, the minuets unpredictably and wittily timed, and the finales – high-class show-off music if ever there was – breathtaking in their mingled precision, delicacy and whooping high spirits. The recording, as in previous issues, is in the demonstration class while Dean Sutcliffe’s notes. Like the playing, are guaranteed to make you hear these quartets with fresh ears.”
Richard Wigmore – Gramophone – Haydn Op. 64 – April 2018
“The Op. 64s are among Haydn’s least played quartets: only the Lark, No 5, is familiar ... Yet what treasures of invention, innovation, humour and beauty they contain. No 6 in E flat is a particular delight, but so is much else in these richly varied works, to which the excellent Doric players do ample justice.”
David Cairns – The Sunday Times (Culture magazine), Haydn Op. 64 – 25 February 2018
Photo George Garnier
SPRING / SUMMER 2020
MOZART String Quartet K.575
BARTOK String Quartet No 5
MOZART String Quartet K.589
MENDELSSOHN String Quartet Op 13
BARTOK String Quartet No 5
SIBELIUS 'Voces Intimae'
BEETHOVEN String Quartet Op 130
MENDELSSOHN String Quartet Op 44 No 1
AUTUMN / WINTER 2020
BEETHOVEN String Quartet Op 18 No 6 OR MOZART String Quartet in F K.590
GRIEG String Quartet No 1 Op 27 OR DEAN String Quartet No 3 (2020)
MENDELSSOHN String Quartet in D Op 44 No 1
MOZART String Quartet in F K.590 OR BEETHOVEN String Quartet Op 18 No 6
MENDELSSOHN String Quartet Op 13 OR DEAN String Quartet No 3 (2020)
BEETHOVEN String Quartet Op 59 No 1 'Razumovsky'
SPRING / SUMMER 2021
MOZART String Quartet in B flat K.589 OR MOZART String Quartet in D K.575
BARTOK String Quartet No 3 OR ADES 'Arcadiana'
SMETANA String Quartet No 1 in E minor 'From my life’
BEETHOVEN String Quartet Op 59 No 1 'Razumovsky'
SCHUBERT String Quartet D.804 'Rosamunde'
SCHUBERT String Quartet D.810 'Death and the Maiden'
Other available repertoire:
HAYDN String Quartet Op 33 No TBC
SCHUBERT String Quartet in G major D.887
The Doric String Quartet is always happy to revive their repertoire with the harpist Agnès Clément :
André Caplet - “Conte Fantastique - Le masque de la mort rouge”, d'après Poe pour harpe à pédales et quatuor à cordes, (édité 1924)
Florent Schmitt - Andante et scherzo pour harpe et quatuor à cordes, op 35 (1906)
Claude Debussy - Danse sacrée et Danse profane (1904)