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Fitzwilliam Quartet

21st May 2017 · 6:30pm - 8:30pm

In person | Virtual event

 Fitzwilliam Quartet

Lucy Russell (violin)
Marcus Barcham-Stevens (violin)
Alan George (viola)
Sally Pendlebury (cello)

Bach Contrapuncti 1, 9 & 11 from The Art of Fugue BWV1080
Liz Johnson Tide Purl
Shostakovich Quartet No.13 in B flat minor Op.138
Schubert Quartet in D minor D810 ‘Death and the Maiden’

Find out more about the performers and repertoire by downloading the evening’s programme.

The Fitzwilliam is now one of the longest established string quartets in the world: founded in 1968 by four Cambridge undergraduates, the quartet quickly achieved international recognition as a result of its members’ personal friendship with Dmitri Shostakovich and their subsequent championing of his string quartets. He entrusted them with the Western premières of the last three, and before long they had become the first ever group to perform and record all fifteen. These discs, which gained many international awards, secured for them a world wide concert schedule and a long term contract with Decca – all of them are newly available on their London or Eloquence labels.

Since 2000 their recordings have been produced by either Linn Records or Divine Art, the most recent being the Bruckner String Quintet/Quartet, and a jazz fusion collaboration with German saxophonist/composer Uwe Steinmetz and former Turtle Island Quartet violinist Mads Tolling. A new Liz Johnson complete edition follows the four quartets of eminent geologist John Ramsay and a compilation of chamber works by the South African Michael Blake. In 2017 a more long term ambition to record Beethoven quartets on gut strings – following the success of previous recordings on historical instruments – will be set in motion with a CD of Opp.74/95/135. Indeed, the Fitzwilliam remains one of the few prominent quartets to play on older set-ups, but has simultaneously brought about the addition of over 50 new works to the repertoire.

Having been Quartet-in-Residence at York for twelve years and at Warwick for three, their university work continues at Fitzwilliam College Cambridge, at Bucknell (Pennsylvania), and latterly at St Andrews – where they run an annual quartet course (“Strings in Spring”), alongside their regular coaching weekend for Benslow Music in Hertfordshire. Just before Easter this year they arrived in Cambridge more or less straight off the plane from New York, and from there went on to their other British university at St. Andrews, with the second Fitzwilliam Hay-on-Wye Festival squeezed in between. Another busy clutch of festivals followed soon after, including Beverley Early Music, the English Haydn, and Swaledale. The 2016/17 season began with an exceptionally busy September, which included London concerts in Southgate, Copped Hall (Epping), Stow Festival (Walthamstow), St John’s Smith Square, and King’s Place.

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