Henschel Quartet

Henschel Quartet Photo: Marco BorggreveThe Munich-based Henschel Quartet was founded in 1994.  Its members are violinists, Christoph Henschel and Catalin Desaga, Monika Henschel, viola and Matthias Beyer-Karlshoj, ‘cello.

In its first year, the quartet won prizes at the chamber music competitions in Evian, Banff and Salzburg and was awarded first prize at the 1996 OSAKA INTERNATIONAL CHAMBER MUSIC COMPETITION.  This initial success led to critically acclaimed debut performances which included replacing the JUILLIARD QUARTET for a BBC broadcast and saw the LOS ANGELES TIMES write, This is, no question, one of the best groups in the world.

The quartet has appeared as the cultural ambassador of the Federal Republic Of Germany in Brussels, appeared in both 2010 and 2013 in performances arranged by the Vatican for Pope Benedict XVI, has been regularly invited to perform on the four Stradivarius instruments of the royal collection at the PALACE OF MADRID and in 2012 was the first European quartet in twenty years to perform the complete Beethoven string quartets in SUNTORY HALL in Tokyo.

In recent seasons, just since 2011, the Henschel Quartet has appeared at the MEXICO FESTIVAL, the KARLSBAD FESTIVAL, the KARLSKRONA FESTIVAL in Sweden, the BRNO FESTIVAL, INNSBRUCKER FESTWOCHEN, the SCHWARZWALD MUSIKFESTIVAL, the GOWER FESTIVAL in the UK and the MANNHEIM CONTEMPORARY FESTIVAL.  It has toured the UK, Spain, China, Japan and the USA including giving performances in New York’s CARNEGIE HALL.

The ensemble’s recordings have been awarded numerous prizes including the PREIS DER DEUTSCHEN SCHALLPLATTENKRITIK.  They include Schulhoff, Sibelius and Janacek string quartets on the NEOS label, the José Peris/Haydn SEVEN LAST WORDS OF CHRIST for quartet and voice,  the complete Mendelssohn quartets on HMV awarded No.1 on the HMV CHARTS in 2006 and 2007, songs of Ravel, Shostakovich, Respighi, Schulhoff and Britten with Magdalena Kozena on the DEUTSCHE GRAMMAPHON label,  a recording of STRING QUARTETS NO.1 & NO.2 of Ginastera, the quartet version of Schubert’s WINTERREISE with tenor, Christian Elsner and the quartet versions of Mozart’s PIANO CONCERTO NO.11, NO.12 and NO.13 with pianist, Patrick Dechorgnat on EMI.

Of its performances, SEEN & HEARD INTERNATIONAL has written, If you ever get the opportunity to hear the Henschel Quartet in recital take it.  String quartet playing rarely gets any better than this., while MUSICWEB-INTERNATIONAL.COM has said, …played with supreme confidence by players who savour every note., and THE NEW YORK TIMES described its performance in 2010 as, …a thing of beauty… Warm hues and played with irresistible energy and high spirits.  Of its world-premiere recording of the Bruch STRING QUINTET IN E FLAT MAJOR with violist, Kazuki Sawa, awarded INTERNATIONAL MUSICWEB CD OF THE YEAR in 2009, the publication wrote, …another remarkable achievement that should be snapped up immediately and …the Henschel Quartet…a towering performance, full of energy, mystery and beauty.  Of performances at CARNEGIE HALL during 2013, John Corigliano reviewing the concert wrote, The magnificent Henschel Quartet plays as if they were one person.  They are passionate, accurate and musically sophisticated.  I was astounded at the quality of their performances.

2013 also saw the ensemble in performances in the UK’s LAKE DISTRICT SUMMER MUSIC FESTIVAL which included the European premiere performance of Christopher Theofanides’ VISIONS & MIRACLES FOR STRING QUARTET, of which SEEN & HEARD INTERNATIONAL wrote, Conspicuous throughout this stunning recital was the pristine intonation of the Henschel (Quartet) complete with an unyielding unity throughout the broad contrasts and onerous virtuosic demands.  Its rare to encounter performance quality such as this and if you get a future opportunity to hear the Henschel (Quartet) in recital, take it immediately.

During 2014 the Henschel Quartet gave concerts in California, toured to Japan, and Denmark and appeared in London at ST JOHN’S SMITH SQUARE.

2014 also marked the quartet’s 20th anniversary year and included a memorial concert for the late Hans Werner Henze, performing his first string quartet as part of the program of the MUNICH BIENNALE.

During 2015 the ensemble toured the UK including giving concerts in ST. JOHN’S SMITH SQUARE, and in the USA during 2016, spent a period recording the chamber works of Chris Theofanidis at YALE UNIVERSITY.  2016 has also included an extensive tour of Japan and concerts in Germany, at the SELIGENSTADT STREICHFESTIVAL with the EXCELSIOR QUARTET TOKYO, and a tour of Portugal and of Croatia culminating in a performance of Elgar’s INTRODUCTION & ALLEGRO OPUS 47  with the CROATIAN RADIO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA to close the DUBROVNIK FESTIVAL.

© Weaver Artist Management 2017

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