Intermusica artists featured in Best of 2017 critics' picks
At the end of each year we look forward to reading critics’ musical highlights from the last 12 months; we’re delighted to see many of our artists featured in a host of such round-ups.
A standout achievement of the year was Sir John Eliot Gardiner’s Monteverdi 450 tour, which was praised globally. The tour commemorated the 450th anniversary of the composer’s death and visited the Berlin Festival, Philharmonie de Paris, the new National Forum of Music in Wrocław, and the Salzburg, Edinburgh International and Lucerne festivals, as well as Bristol’s Colston Hall, Aix-en-Provence, Barcelona’s Palau de la Música Catalana and a historic residency at Teatro La Fenice in Venice, the composer's adopted home. Hugh Canning in the Sunday Times praised it as “dazzling”, while it was also chosen as one of the highlights of the year by the Guardian and Alex Ross of the New Yorker, who praised the “deft, vivid” productions that confirmed that “the first great opera composer remains the master of the game.” It was also chosen by the Herald Scotland, The Arts Desk, New York Classical Review and Chicago Classical Review.
Another highlight was the world premiere run of Brett Dean’s Hamlet at Glyndebourne Festival Opera. Hugh Canning picked it as his operatic highlight of the year in the Sunday Times, and it also featured in round-ups in the Evening Standard, The Arts Desk and The Stage.
Hugh Canning also praised David Butt Philip’s “searing” performance in Elgar’s The Dream of Gerontius with Sir Mark Elder and the Hallé.
Nicholas Collon’s Prom with his Aurora Orchestra, in which he conducted Beethoven’s Eroica Symphony from memory, was chosen as one of the Evening Standard’s highlights of the classical year, as was the Leipzig Gewandhausorchester’s visit to London. The orchestra’s performance at the Barbican featured Intermusica artists Leonidas Kavakos and Kirill Gerstein performing Beethoven’s Triple Concerto, and was part of the orchestra’s 275th anniversary tour, which Intermusica brought to Europe and Asia.
Several Intermusica artists also featured in The Arts Desk’s round-up of the best concerts and opera performances. In the concert round-up, Mark Wigglesworth’s Prom with the BBC Philharmonic was highlighted thanks to a “miraculous” performance of Haydn Symphony No.99. Kian Soltani was highly praised for his performance of Strauss Don Quixote at the Southbank Centre with the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, with The Arts Desk writing that it was “quite the most vivid” critic David Nice had heard live. Nice also cited HK Gruber for his performance as conductor and chansonnier in his Frankenstein!! at the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra’s composer festival.
In The Arts Desk’s opera round-up, Martyn Brabbins’ performance of Harrison Birtwistle’s The Last Supper with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra “kicked off the year in thoughtful, complex style”, while David Nice also gave special mention to Wallis Giunta, writing that she was the “young singer of the year in my books” for her performances in L'enfant et les sortileges and Trouble in Tahiti in Opera North's well-received Little Greats series of one-act operas. Giunta was also named 'Breakthrough Artist in UK Opera' in the WhatsOnStage Opera Poll.
Meanwhile, Sir John Eliot Gardiner’s new recording of Bach St Matthew Passion, made with the Monteverdi Choir and English Baroque Soloists, was chosen as one of Gramophone’s Critics’ Choice, as was Boris Giltburg’s account of Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No.2 with Carlos Miguel Prieto and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra.
Composer and music writer Robert Hugill picked John Wilson’s recording of Walton’s Façade as one of his top recordings of the year. Also featured were Sir James MacMillan’s “powerful” Stabat Mater and Martyn Brabbins’ latest entry in the Romantic Piano Concerto series for Hyperion, this time featuring the piano concertos of Roger Sacheverell Coke.
The Pavel Haas Quartet once again found great critical success with their latest CD, which featured Dvorák Piano and String Quintets and was made with Boris Giltburg and founder and former member Pavel Nikl. The album was chosen as one of the records of the year by the Boston Globe and WQXR.
The Pavel Haas Quartet & Boris Giltburg embark on European recital tour
The Pavel Haas Quartet embarks on a European tour this month, starting at the University of Göttingen on 19 November 2017. Highlights of the tour are concerts at Amsterdam's Concertgebouw on 29 November, the Kartause Ittingen on 3 December and Konservatorium Bern on 4 November. The quartet performs a variety of programmes on the tour featuring works by Schubert, Shostakovich, Brahms, Stravinsky, Ravel and Dvořák. The recital at the Concertgebouw will be broadcast live on NPO Radio 4 at 8.15pm (CET) and will be available on the radio website.
Joining the quartet for the German leg of the tour is fellow Intermusica artist Boris Giltburg, with whom the Quartet released their critically acclaimed disc of Dvořák Quintets. The album, which also features the Quartet's founder violist Pavel Nikl, has been awarded BBC Music Magazine's Recording of the Month for November 2017 and Album of the Week on 22 October 2018 by the Sunday Times:
“The playing is breathtakingly good, each performer maintaining their own personality and yet working together to conjure a special magic, whether in the sparkling 'furiant' of the piano quintet No 2 in A major, Op 81 (with Boris Giltburg at his most mercurial), or the dreamy, song-like opening movement of the string quintet in E flat major, Op 97, redolent of the wide-open spaces of rural Iowa. Highly recommended”.
The Pavel Haas Quartet's album of Dvořák Quintets with Boris Giltburg is BBC Music Magazine's Recording of the Month
The Pavel Haas Quartet’s new recording of Dvořák Quintets, made with violist and former member Pavel Nikl and Boris Giltburg, is released by Supraphon on 20 October 2017. The album features the Piano Quintet No.2 in A major Op. 81, and the String Quintet in E flat major Op. 97. The recording is the ensemble’s seventh critically-acclaimed collaboration with Supraphon, with a previous album of Dvořák’s String Quartet Nos. 12 ‘American’ and 13 having won the esteemed Gramophone Recording of the Year award in 2011.
The album has already been lauded by the press and was named BBC Music Magazine's Recording of the Month for November 2017:
“Even with an abundant harvest of Dvořák recordings, these superlative performances should not be missed.”
BBC Music Magazine
“The playing is breathtakingly good, each performer maintaining their own personality and yet working together to conjure a special magic, whether in the sparkling “furiant” of the piano quintet No 2 in A major, Op 81 (with Boris Giltburg at his most mercurial), or the dreamy, song-like opening movement of the string quintet in E flat major, Op 97, redolent of the wide-open spaces of rural Iowa. Highly recommended.”
In an interview with BBC Music Magazine, the Quartet’s cellist Peter Jarůšek said:
"It was very special recording these works in the Dvořák Hall of the Rudolfinum; the composer conducted one of the first concerts there, so we really felt we were with him there.”
The Pavel Haas Quartet returns to London for recital at Wigmore Hall
The Pavel Haas Quartet returns to London this month for a recital at the Wigmore Hall on 10 October 2017. They are be joined by ex-viola and founding member of the quartet, Pavel Nikl, for the Dvorák String Quintet No.3 in E-flat major. The quintet is preceded by the Stravinsky Concertino for String Quartet and Ravel String Quartet in F major, M.35. The concert will be broadcast live by the Wigmore Hall as part of their BBC Radio 3 ‘In Concert’ Series.
The Dvorák String Quintet is at the heart of the Quartet's latest release for Supraphon. In a five star review, BBC Music Magazine wrote:
"...a magically beautiful performance... the playing of the solo lines is captivating and the finale is both sophisticated in delivery while communicating irrepressible energy."
Elsewhere this month, the quartet and Nikl perform the same programme at the John Innes Centre in Norwich on 8 October and also embark on a tour of the United States and Canada, playing works by composers including Schubert, Shostakovich, Smetana, Dvorák, Stravinsky and Ravel.
Intermusica's summer in reviews
2017 marked another highly successful summer for Intermusica's artists, who gave critically acclaimed performances at festivals all over Europe. Read a small selection of reviews below.
Brett Dean's Hamlet received its world premiere at Glyndebourne in June and was greeted with universal acclaim. The Sunday Times called it "the operatic event of the year", while in a five star review the Times wrote that “Dean’s skill at creating a supercharged orchestral subtext to each scene is matched by his immense theatricality. Quite apart from his unerring pacing of the story, he also creates at least a dozen moments where sheer sonority alone sends shivers up the spine… The overall impression is of a richly imaginative composer at the top of his game.”
Lise Davidsen made a critically acclaimed UK operatic debut in the title role of Ariadne auf Naxos at Glyndebourne Festival Opera in June. Described as possessing "one of the greatest voices I have ever head" by the Observer, Davidsen's debut was described as "one of those 'I was there' moments" by the Times.
Joshua Weilerstein made an "auspicious" debut at the Proms on 19 July, conducting the BBC Symphony Orchestra and his sister Alisa Weilerstein in a programme of Rebel, Berlioz and Pascal Dusapin. Classical Source praised his "admirably prepared and presented" Symphonie fantastique.
Nicholas Collon and his Aurora Orchestra returned to the Proms to perform another symphony from memory on 22 July. This time, they performed Beethoven Symphony No.3 ‘Eroica’, preceded by Strauss Metamorphosen. The Times called it “gripping stuff… an astonishing feat of concentration. With Nicholas Collon favouring speeds ranging from zippy to hair-raising, there was virtuosity all around the band too…an impassioned account of Strauss’s desolate but gorgeous Metamorphosen.”
The Pavel Haas Quartet made a stellar return to the Verbier Festival on 22 July, with Bachtrack praising the quartet for their "old-fashioned virtues of watchfulness, aural alertness and intense concentration... From the micro-perfection of its opening chord to an ethereally feathered final note, this was an Allegro con brio of unfolding joys."
Michel van der Aa was the Composer in Residence at this year's Lucerne Festival, with his works performed throughout the festival. The Luzerner Zeitung praised his "easy handling of current technological possiblities", while the Neue Zurcher Zeitung wrote that his "music theatre of beguiling opulence... might offer a view of the future of opera".
Mark Wigglesworth was joined by pianist Stephen Hough and the BBC Philharmonic at the Royal Albert Hall on 29 July to perform Brahms Piano Concerto No.1, David Sawyer The Greatest Happiness on Earth and Haydn Symphony No.99. The Sunday Times claimed that Wigglesworth demonstrated "the most authoritative conducting, instantly masterly, I’ve witnessed so far at these Proms, Bernard Haitink’s appearance apart. And Wigglesworth seems close to Haitink’s level... One knew all would be right about this account because Wigglesworth’s intensity was unanswerable.”
Sir John Eliot Gardiner had a busy summer, performing twice at the Proms as well as continuing the Monteverdi Trilogy tour at the Salzburg, Edinburgh and Berlin festivals. His Proms performance of Berlioz La damnation de Faust with the Orchestre Revolutionnaire et Romantique was described as "thrilling" by the Observer in a five star review, while the Salzburger Nachrichten praised the Monteverdi Trilogy performances at the Salzburg Festival: "The harmony and the symbiotic relationship of the performers and their conductor has reached a degree of perfection, which shows style, form awareness and playful freedom."
John Wilson gave two performances at the BBC Proms this year, with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and his John Wilson Orchestra. This year, Wilson led the JWO in two critically acclaimed performances of Rogers & Hammerstein Oklahoma! on 11 August: "no conductor appreciates the importance of an orchestration’s inner voices like Wilson, or is more adept at caressing a countermelody without letting it get in the way." (Spectator)
Andreas Haefliger returned to the Edinburgh International Festival this year, giving an "inspiringly commanding" solo recital in August: "Haefliger the thinker is also the pianist who held this audience enthralled until they leapt to their feet at the end, cheering." (Herald Scotland)
Also in Edinburgh, Richard Egarr led Iestyn Davies and the Academy of Ancient Music in two performances of Bach and Telemann. The Scotsman praised the performances, which were "delivered with a style and panache that lifted the notes clean off the page with their precisely pointed rhythms."
Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s Beyond the Score® was presented at the Proms on 23 August in “an excellent evening of innovation” (Bachtrack), with a a multi-media exploration of the symphony directed by Beyond the Score founder Gerard McBurney presented alongside a performance of Dvorák Symphony No.9 ‘From the New World’ from the Hallé Orchestra and Sir Mark Elder.
Leonidas Kavakos reunited with Riccardo Chailly on 25 August, as Intermusica brought the conductor and his Filarmonica della Scala to the Proms to perform Brahms and Respighi. Kavakos performed the Brahms Violin Concerto, a performance which was praised for the "the way he made the music breathe and sing in lyrical, expansive paragraphs while remaining continuously alert both to subtleties of meaning and absolute directness of expression." (Guardian)
Kirill Gerstein continued his partnership with Semyon Bychkov on 31 August, joining the conductor and the BBC Symphony Orchestra to perform Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No.1:
"[Gerstein] delivered the slow movement with improvisatory freedom and dazzled with crystalline virtuosity in the finale." (Daily Telegraph)
The Pavel Haas Quartet perform Martinů Concerto for String Quartet and Orchestra with the Essen Philharmonic
The Pavel Haas Quartet joins the the Essen Philharmonic Orchestra for their season-opening concerts on 7 and 8 September 2017, performing Martinů’s Concerto for String Quartet and Orchestra. The concerts are conducted by Tomáš Netopil and take place at the Philharmonie Essen.
The following week, on 12 September, the quartet return to their home country of the Czech Republic to perform the Martinů with the Essen Philharmonic Orchestra at the Dvořák Prague Festival in the Dvořák Hall of the Rudolfinum.
In October the quartet return to London for their concert at the Wigmore Hall, the first of three this season.
The Pavel Haas Quartet returns to the Verbier Festival
The Pavel Haas Quartet returns to the Verbier Festival for two performances at the Église de Verbier on 22 and 25 July 2017.
For the first concert, at 8pm, the quartet performs a programme of Beethoven String Quartet No.12 and Brahms Piano Quintet in F minor with pianist Barry Douglas. The quartet returns to the Église de Verbier at 11am on 25 July for a performance with violist Lars Anders Tomter, who joins the quartet for Dvorák String Quintet No.3, part of a programme which also features Martinů String Quartet No.3 and Smetana String Quartet No.1 'In my Life'.
Smetana's 'In My Life' features on the Pavel Haas Quartet's critically acclaimed 2015 recording of Smetana string quartets, which won awards from both BBC Music Magazine and Gramophone, who described the album as "the kind of disc that makes record reviewing the best job in the world.”
Pavel Haas Quartet returns to London to perform at the International Chamber Music Series
The Pavel Haas Quartet returns to London this month to perform in recital on 2 June 2017 as part of the Southbank Centre's International Chamber Music Series, which is co-promoted by Intermusica.
Performing at St John's Smith Square, the quartet presents a programme of Beethoven String Quartet No.12 in E-flat major, Op.127, and Dvorák Piano Quintet No.2 in A major, Op.81, B.155, for which they are joined by pianist Denis Kozhukhin.
Elsewhere this month, the Pavel Haas Quartet performs in Vienna and at the Schubertiade in Schwarzenburg on 13 and 18 June. At the Vienna Konzerthaus, the quartet performs a programme of Beethoven String Quartet No.12 in E-flat major, Op.127, Arvo Pärt Fratres and Bartók String Quartet No.5, Sz.102, BB.110. At the Schubertiade, the quartet performs Schubert String Quartet No.15 in G major, D.887, Op.161 and Brahms Clarinet Quintet in B minor, Op.115, with Sharon Kam.
The Pavel Haas Quartet returns to the United States for major recital tour
The Pavel Haas Quartet returns to the United States on 25 March 2017 for a two-week tour which takes them once again to major cities such as San Francisco, Los Angeles, Portland, Napa Valley and Walnut Creek. Tour highlights include performances at Herbst Theatre, San Francisco (26 March), Beckman Auditorium, Los Angeles (2 April) and Lincoln Performance Hall, Portland (3 and 4 April).
Programmes for the tour include works by Smetana, Shostakovich, Webern, Schubert, Martinů and Dvořák.
The Pavel Haas Quartet’s recording of Smetana’s String Quartets Nos 1&2, which they will be performing on the tour, was named Best Chamber Music Recording at the 2015 Gramophone Awards and also Best Chamber Music Recording by BBC Music Magazine in 2016. Upon its release, the recording was selected as BBC Music Magazine’s Chamber Choice, and the quartet’s interpretation of the Smetana quartets was hailed as "superlative" and "definitive performances in which nothing is taken for granted."
“Their sound is, as always, immediately recognisable – partly due to the sheer richness of timbre but also the sense of four personalities at play… at times it’s hard to believe you are in the presence of only four players, so intense is the sound… This is extraordinarily bold playing – and they truly capture the sense that Smetana is writing symphonic quartet music… This is the kind of disc that makes record reviewing the best job in the world.”
Gramophone, May 2015
Intermusica artists at the 2017 Verbier Festival
Intermusica artists appear throughout the 2017 Verbier Festival, with all performances streamed live by Medici.tv. See all the performance times, dates and venues below:
Also performing at the Église on 22 July is the Pavel Haas Quartet. At 8pm they are joined by pianist Barry Douglas for a performance of Brahms Piano Quintet in F minor and Beethoven String Quartet No.
Richard Goode, Renaud Capuçon and Edgar Moreau appear at the Église at 8pm on 24 July to perform Brahms Piano Trio No.2. In the second half of the recital, Capuçon and Moreau are joined by Lahav Shani, Maxim Rysanov and Leigh Mesh for a performance of Schubert Piano Quintet in A major 'The Trout'.
The Pavel Haas Quartet makes its second appearance at the festival on 25 July, performing in recital at the Église at 11am. The quartet presents a programme of quartets by Martinů and Smetana as well as Dvořák String Quintet No.3, for which they are joined by the quartet's friend and former colleague Pavel Nikl.
Lahav Shani then conducts the Verbier Festival Chamber Orchestra at the Salle des Combins at 7pm on 25 July, leading a programme of Mozart Il nozze di Figaro Overture, Bruch Violin Concerto No.1 with soloist Daniel Lozakovich and Schubert Symphony No.9.
The Choir of King's College, Cambridge, makes its festival debut this year, performing at the Église at 8pm on 26 July. They give a concert of works by Duruflé, Tomkins, Byrd and Poulence among others.
Joshua Weilerstein conducts the Junior Orchestra at 4pm at the Salle des Combins on 27 July. Weilerstein conducts a programme of Fauré Elegie for Cello and Orchestra with Edgar Moreau followed by Bruch Kol Nidrei and Dvořák Symphony No.6.
Richard Goode makes his second appearance at the festival, performing a programme of Mozart, Janáček, Debussy and Beethoven at the Église at 11am on 29 July.
Joshua Weilerstein is joined by George Li at the Salle des Combins at 4pm on 29 July for a concert with the Verbier Festival Junior Orchestra. Li performs Liszt Piano Concerto No.1, with Weilerstein then conducting Dvořák Symphony No.6.
Kirill Gerstein and Sergei Babayan join Yuja Wang and the Verber Festival Chamber Orchestra at the Salle des Combins at 7pm on 29 July for a performance of Bach concertos under the direction of Roberto Gonzáles-Monjas.
At 11am on 30 July, Kirill Gerstein is joined by Truls Mørk to perform sonatas by Brahms, Janáček and Prokofiev at the Église.
In the evening of 30 July, Antoine Tamestit and Mischa Maisky appear at the Salle des Combins alongside Dmitry Sitkovetsky, Roman Simović and Evgeny Kissin. They perform a programme of Mozart String Quartet No.1, Fauré String Quartet No.1 and Dvořák Piano Quintet No.2.
On 31 July, George Li performs a solo recital of Beethoven and Liszt at 11am at the Église.
Joshua Weilerstein joins Martin Frost and the Verbier Festival Orchestra at the Salle des Combins on 31 July at 7pm. Weilerstein conducts a programme of Copland, Lutoslawski, Shaw and Prokofiev.
On 1 August at 11am, Tamestit joins Roberto González-Monjas, Alexander Sitkovetsky, Pablo Ferrández, Lukas Geniušas & Yuja Wang to perform works by Schubert, Beethoven & Brahms.
Tamestit and Maisky reunite at the Église at 8pm on 3 August, this time performing Brahms Piano Quartet No.3 with Nikolai Lugansky. Tamestit also performs Brahms Sonata for Viola and Piano with Lugansky, while Maisky and Lugansky play the composer's Sonata for Violin and Piano No.1 in an arrangement for cello and piano by Paul Klengel.
On 5 August at the Salle des Combins at 7pm, James Ehnes, Antoine Tamestit, Mischa Maisky, Pamela Frank, Roman Simović, Pablo Ferrández, Martin Fröst, Nikolai Lugansky, Yuja Wang, the Verbier Festival Chamber Orchestra and Antonio Pappano will join forces for an evening celebrating friendship and musical excellence.
The Pavel Haas Quartet returns to the Netherlands for recital tour
The Pavel Haas Quartet returns to the Netherlands this month for a recital tour, beginning in Groningen on 13 February 2017. The quartet tours a programme of Beethoven String Quartet No.12, Arvo Pärt Fratres and Bartók String Quartet No.5.
The quartet performed Arvo Pärt Fratres and Bartók String Quartet No.5 recently in Edinburgh, a performance that was met with high acclaim in the press:
“They played with considerable delicacy, maintaining the work’s [Part’s Fratres] holy air, even during louder passages. But it was the pianissimo close that was most magical. Barely touching their strings, the quartet sounded as though they were coming from elsewhere.”
Herald Scotland, January 2017
The tour visits Den Haag, Maastricht and Ghent before ending in Utrecht on 19 February.
Pavel Haas Quartet perform in recital in Paris & Edinburgh
The Pavel Haas Quartet begins the new year with recitals in Paris and Edinburgh on 7 and 16 January 2017.
They first appear at Paris' Théâtre des Abbesses, performing a programme of Arvo Pärt Fratres, Bartók String Quartet No.5 and Schubert String Quartet No.15. They then return to the Queen's Hall in Edinburgh, where the perform the same programme.
Pavel Haas Quartet closes 2016 with a tour to Japan
The Pavel Haas Quartet closes 2016 with a return visit to Japan this month, giving concerts in Tokyo, Yokohama and Nagoya on 7, 9, 10 and 11 December. The programmes include pieces by Arvo Pärt, Bartók, Smetana, Webern, Shostakovich and Schubert.
The opening concert takes place in Tokyo’s Toppan Hall with Arvo Pärt’s Fratres, Bartók String Quartet No.5 and after the interval Smetana String Quartet No.1. The quartet recorded Smetana String Quartet for Supraphon in 2015, a recording that was greeted with great acclaim by the press:
“Their sound is, as always, immediately recognisable – partly due to the sheer richness of timbre but also the sense of four personalities at play…at times it’s hard to believe you are in the presence of only four players, so intense is the sound… This is extraordinarily bold playing – and they truly capture the sense that Smetana is writing symphonic quartet music… This is the kind of disc that makes record reviewing the best job in the world.”
Gramophone, May 2015
Pavel Haas Quartet embarks on recital tour of Germany & Italy
The Pavel Haas Quartet embarks on a tour of Germany this month, beginning with a recital at the Stadttheater Fürth on 6 November 2016 when they perform pieces by Webern, Shostakovich and Schubert. The tour then continues to Freiburg on 8 November and the Liederhalle in Stuttgart on 9 November.
The quartet then travels to Italy for a series of concerts at the Società dei Concerti di Bolzano (24 November), Teatro della Pergola in Florence (26 and 27 November) and Teatro Carlo Felice di Genova in Genoa (28 November), performing programmes drawn from the works of Webern, Schubert, Shostakovich, Arvo Pärt, Bartók and Beethoven.
The tour culminates with a return to the Herkulessaal in Munich on 30 November, when the quartet performs a programme of String Quartet No. 12 in C minor by Schubert, String Quartet No. 2 in A major by Shostakovich and String Quartet No. 12 in E-flat major by Beethoven.
The Pavel Haas Quartet made a critically-acclaimed visit to the Herkulessaal in April 2016:
"This is modern music at its freshest and most restless, characterised by the quality of these four string players who set the benchmark both as individuals and in their fabulous collaboration as a quartet. Fantastic!"
Pavel Haas Quartet returns to Wigmore Hall with Harriet Krijgh
The Pavel Haas Quartet returns to London for a recital at Wigmore Hall on 7 October 2016. They are joined by cellist Harriet Krijgh, with whom they perform Schumann String Quintet in C major. The programme is completed by Webern 5 Movements, Op. 5 and Shostakovich String Quartet No. 2 in A major, Op. 68.
They then go on to perform with Harriet at the Schubertiade in Hohenems on 10 October. This time the Schumann String Quintet is complemented by Dvorák String Quartet No. 12 in F major, Op. 96. The following day they perform a programme of Martinu, Dvorák and Schubert in Ascona.
Pavel Haas Quartet performs at East Neuk Festival with Christian Zacharias
The Pavel Haas Quartet travels to Scotland this month to give two performances at East Neuk Festival on 1 and 2 July 2016.
For their first performance, at Kilrenny Church on 1 July, the quartet performs Martinů String Quartet No. 3 and Dvorák String Quartet No. 9. The following day, the quartet is joined at Crail Church by pianist Christian Zacharias for a performance of Schumann Piano Quintet in E-flat major, Op.44, part of a programme also including Chopin Four Mazurkas and Dvorák String Quartet No. 12.
Pavel Haas Quartet & Denis Kozhukhin perform in recital at Wigmore Hall
The Pavel Haas Quartet returns to London for a recital at Wigmore Hall on 26 May 2016. They are joined by fellow Intermusica artist Denis Kozhukhin to perform Schumann Piano Quintet in E-flat major, Op.44 with Denis Kozhukhin. The programme is completed by Martinů String Quartet No.3 and Dvorák String Quartet No.9 in D minor.
The quartet returns to the UK in the summer to perform at the East Neuk Festival with Christian Zacharias.
Pavel Haas Quartet, Sir James MacMillan & Jérémie Rhorer win at the BBC Music Magazine Awards
Recordings by the Pavel Haas Quartet, Sir James MacMillan and Jérémie Rhorer have all been honoured at the BBC Music Magazine Awards, announced on 5 April at a ceremony in London.
The Pavel Haas Quartet’s recording of Smetana’s String Quartets Nos 1&2 has been awarded ‘Best Chamber Music recording’. Upon its release, the recording was selected as BBC Music Magazine’s ‘Chamber choice’ and the quartet’s interpretation of the Smetana quartets hailed as ‘superlative’ and ‘definitive performances in which nothing is taken for granted’. This is the second prize awarded to the recording, which also won the Best Chamber Music Recording at the 2015 Gramophone Awards. Having won the ‘Newcomer of the Year’ Award in 2007, this is the second time the quartet win a BBC Music Magazine Award.
Sir James MacMillan’s recording, conducting the Britten Sinfonia in his own Oboe Concerto with Nicholas Daniel as soloist, has won the Premiere Award. Released by Harmonia Mundi in April 2015 the disc also includes MacMillan conducting Vaughan Williams’ Oboe Concerto and Britten’s Suite on English Folk Tunes. The CD was lauded by critics on its release and was Gramophone Magazine’s Editor’s Choice in April 2015, BBC Music Magazine Concerto Choice in August 2015 and a finalist in the Presto Discs of 2015.
Jérémie Rhorer’s recording of Poulenc Dialogues des Carmélites with the Philharmonia Orchestra won the ‘DVD Award’. Recorded live at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, this new production was directed by Olivier Py with a cast including Patricia Petibon, Sophie Koch, Véronique Gens, Sandrine Piau and Rosalind Plowright. Winner of ‘Best Opera Production 2013’ from the Syndicat des Critiques Francaises, the recording received great critical acclaim after the premiere in Paris, and in subsequent reviews of the DVD since its release:
“Jérémie Rhorer led the Philharmonia Orchestra in the pit: eliciting passionate lyricism from the strings, vibrant sonorities from the brass, and plangent melodies from the woodwinds. The French conductor wrought every last drop from the score, supporting the soloists and the dramatic flow with the solicitude of a prioress for her nuns. The result was eternally beautiful.”
Le Monde, December 2013
Pavel Haas Quartet make debut at Berlin Philharmonie
The Pavel Haas Quartet make their debut at the Berliner Philharmonie this week with a recital on 20 April 2016. They perform a programme of Beethoven String Quartet No.11 in F minor, Op.95 'Serioso', Shostakovich String Quartet No.8 in C minor, Op.110 and Bartók String Quartet No.5, Sz.102, BB.110.
Following the performance in Berlin, the quartet give further recitals in Hamburg, Polling, Munich and Burghausen, and return to London in May for a recital with Denis Kozhukhin at Wigmore Hall.
Radim Sedmidubský joins Pavel Haas Quartet
Due to a serious illness in his immediate family, Pavel Nikl, the viola player and founding member of the Pavel Haas Quartet, has very sadly had to take the difficult decision to leave the quartet. Radim Sedmidubský, up until now a member of the Škampa Quartet and a longstanding friend of the ensemble, has joined the Pavel Haas Quartet to replace him with immediate effect.
Czech viola player Radim Sedmidubský studied at the Prague Academy of Music with Milan Škampa, a former member of the legendary Smetana Quartet. In 1989 he co-founded the Škampa Quartet of which he has been a member for more than twenty years. He has also performed with ensembles such as the Keller, Endellion and Borodin Quartets, held chamber music classes all over the world and in 2001 was appointed visiting professor of chamber music at the Royal Academy of Music in London.
Pavel Nikl:“ I am sorry that difficult personal circumstances have forced me to leave the Pavel Haas Quartet. Personally, I am glad that in these unanticipated circumstances the brilliant violist Radim Sedmidubský has agreed to join the quartet. Not only is he a great player and lasting friend but also, having studied like myself with Prof. Milan Škampa, he shares our philosophy and musical values.“
Cellist Peter Jarusek and Radim Sedmidubský have also known each other for many years, having played together in the Škampa Quartet for five years before Peter joined his wife, Veronika, in the Pavel Haas Quartet.
While remaining close to their friend Pavel in this difficult time, the Pavel Haas Quartet welcome their new member Radim to the ensemble and are looking forward to many wonderful concerts together.
Kirill Gerstein, Pavel Haas Quartet and Marek Janowski nominated for BBC Music Magazine Awards
Kirill Gerstein, the Pavel Haas Quartet and Marek Janowski have all been nominated for BBC Music Magazine Awards this year.
Kirill Gerstein’s world première recording of the 1879 version of Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No.1 is nominated in the Concerto category. Released in February 2015 by Myrios Classics to mark the composer’s 175th anniversary, the disc received the ECHO Klassik prize and was the BBC Music Magazine's Concerto Choice for February 2015. The magazine wrote:
“Perhaps the most striking aspect of Gerstein’s interpretation is his ability to make the piano writing sound much lighter and more transparent than usual... Instead of the conventional barnstorming bravura, Gerstein brings poetry, balletic grace and an infinitely wide range of timbres. Yet in no sense does the performance seem understated.”
The Pavel Haas Quartet’s nomination in the Chamber Music section for their recording of Smetana’s String Quartets is further recognition of the universal acclaim it has gathered since its release. In August 2015 the recording was awarded the ‘Best Chamber Music Recording’ prize at the 2015 Gramophone Awards. In a five star review, BBC Music Magazine praised the quartet for their "definite performances in which nothing is taken for granted".
Marek Janowski and the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra’s recording of two of Richard Strauss’s less often performed works, Symphonia Domestica and Die Tageszeiten is nominated in the Orchestral Category.
Disc of the Week on BBC Radio 3’s CD Review, it was described as featuring “wonderful playing that really captures the intimacy of Strauss writing, as does the recording”. The Telegraph praised the “exceptional performances from the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra under Marek Janowski”, and BBC Music Magazine wrote:
“There are revelations aplenty in this pairing of Strauss’s often overlooked Symphonia Domestica with the virtually unknown Die Tageszeiten. Janowski’s fresh approach brings out the detail and the drama of the Symphonia, while the Berlin Radio Choir and Symphony Orchestra are in sublime form for the gorgeous Die Tageszeiten.”
Click here to vote - voting closes on 19 February.
Pavel Haas Quartet give their South Korea debut at Seoul’s LG Arts Centre
The Pavel Haas Quartet have been invited to play a recital at LG Arts Center in Seoul on the 7 December, performing an all-Czech music programme of Martinů's String Quartet No.3, Dvořák’s String Quartet No.12 in F major 'American', and Janáček’s String Quartet No.2 'Intimate Letters'.
On their first concert in Korea, the quartet commented: “We have heard many times that there is a very wide and informed audience for classical music, and we are looking forward to performing some of the most beautiful pieces of the Czech string quartet repertoire.”
A few days earlier, on 5 December, the quartet perform the same programme at Stockholm Concert Hall.
Pavel Haas Quartet embarks on tour of North America
The Pavel Haas Quartet return to North America on 11 October 2015 for a two-week tour which takes them once again to major cities in Canada and the United States. The tour begins and ends in Canada, with performances at the Playhouse in Vancouver on the 11 October, and at Pollack Hall in Montreal on the 25 October.
In the US, the quartet performs in venues including San Francisco SFJazz Center, Salt Lake City David Gardner Hall, Princeton University Richardson Auditorium, and Boston Longy School of Music. They also make their return to Washington DC, performing at the ‘Concerts from the Library of Congress’ series at Coolidge Auditorium. Programmes for the tour include works by Prokofiev, Beethoven, Bartok, Martinů, Dvořák and Beethoven.
The quartet returns to North America after a very successful visit in 2014. Commenting on their Cleveland performance, the Cleveland Plain Dealer wrote:
'The ensemble […] set a large distance between itself and other string quartets by offering bold, volatile renderings of works by Janacek, Britten and Beethoven. Coming in search of fresh sounds and new, insightful approaches, the audience of the Cleveland Chamber Music Society ended up receiving both, taking away clear reminders of why it is we attend concerts in the first place.’
Pavel Haas Quartet return to Schubertiade Festival
On 2 October the Pavel Haas Quartet return to the Schubertiade to perform Schubert’s String Quartet No.13 in A minor Op.29 'Rosamunde' and Dvorák’s Piano Quintet No.2 in A major, Op.81 with Nicholas Angelich.
Following their debut at the Schubertiade in 2010, the quartet have been a regular guest at the festival, performing most recently in June 2014 at the Angelika-Kauffmann-Saal in Schwarzenberg. Their performance of works by Smetana, Beethoven and Haydn was praised as “an interpretation of exemplary strength of expression and depth” (Neue, June 2014).
Further upcoming highlights this year are a North America tour with concerts in Boston, Philadelphia, Washington, San Francisco, Vancouver and other venues as well as the quartet's South Korea debut at LG Arts Centre in Seoul and a return to Stockholm Konserthuset.
Pavel Haas Quartet win Best Chamber Music Recording at Gramophone Awards 2015
The Pavel Haas Quartet’s recording of Smetana’s String Quartets is the winner of the Best Chamber Music Recording at the 2015 Gramophone Awards. This is the fourth time the quartet have received the prestigious award, and it comes just one year after their acclaimed recording of Schubert’s String Quartet ‘Death and the Maiden’ and the String Quintet with cellist Danjulo Ishizaka won the same prize. In 2011, the quartet’s account of Dvořák’s String Quartets No.12 ‘American’ and No.13 was awarded both the Chamber Music award and the most coveted prize, Recording of the Year.
Critical response to the Smetana recording, released in April 2015, has been overwhelmingly positive. Gramophone commented that "Their sound is, as always, immediately recognisable – partly due to the sheer richness of timbre but also the sense of four personalities at play… at times it’s hard to believe you are in the presence of only four players, so intense is the sound." BBC Music Magazine remarked that these were "definite performances in which nothing is taken for granted", and the Sunday Times wrote "it’s hard to imagine a more compelling or harrowing take on the less frequently programmed D minor quartet."
Looking ahead, the Pavel Haas Quartet’s next recording will feature music by Shostakovich and will be released by Supraphon in late 2016. In the meantime, the quartet are looking forward to an exciting 15/16 season starting with a ‘Coffee concert’ at Wigmore Hall on the 27 September, where the quartet will be performing Schubert’s String Quartet No.13 in A minor, Op.29 'Rosamunde' and Beethoven’s String Quartet No.11 in F minor, Op.95 'Serioso'.
Pavel Haas Quartet make their Verbier Festival debut
The Pavel Haas Quartet make their Verbier Festival debut this month with two concerts at the Église de Verbier on 19 and 20 July 2015. The quartet perform Dvořák ‘Miniatures’ and ‘American’ String Quartet, and they are joined by classical guitarist Miloš Karadaglić for Boccherini’s Guitar Quintet No.4 in D major, ‘Fandango’.
On 20 July, the quartet focusses on masterpieces of the Czech repertoire. They perform Schulhoff String Quartet No.1, Janáček’s String Quartet No.2, ‘Intimate Letters’, and Pavel Haas’ String Quartet No.2 ‘From the Monkey Mountains.’ The concert will be broadcast live on Radio Espace 2, and both concerts will be shown on Mezzo.tv.
Pavel Haas Quartet is Ensemble in Residence at the Bodenseefestival 2015
The Pavel Haas Quartet are this year’s Ensemble in Residence at the Bodenseefestival which runs from 25 April to 25 May 2015 and has the motto “Bohemia on the Lake”.
On 25 April, the quartet open the festival with the SWR Symphony Orchestra Baden-Baden und Freiburg under the baton of Lothar Zagrosek, performing Schulhoff’s Concerto for string quartet and wind orchestra. Later in the festival it will be joining the Südwestdeutsche Philharmonie Konstanz for three performances of Martinů’s Concerto for String Quartet and Orchestra in Konstanz on 8, 10 and 13 May.
In total the quartet will be performing more than 15 concerts and will also be working with local ensembles at a masterclass at the Vorarlberger Landeskonservatorium in Feldkirch, Austria. In recital, the quartet will be appearing in some of the most beautiful castles and abbeys in the Lake Constance area, performing works by Janáček, Dvořák, Smetana, Schulhoff, Beethoven and Schubert and joined by cellist Danjulo Ishizaka and the Panocha Quartet for the performances in Münsterlingen and Salem.
The opening concert will be performed live on SWR, and several concerts will be recorded for deferred broadcast, also on SWR.
Pavel Haas Quartet: Smetana string quartets on Supraphon
The Pavel Haas Quartet release their new recording of Smetana’s String Quartets Nos 1 and 2 on Supraphon on 17 April. The recording is the sixth of their critically-acclaimed collaboration with the label, with previous releases receiving such prestigious awards as the Diapason d’Or de l’Année, Gramophone Best Chamber Music Recording and, in 2011, the Gramophone Recording of the Year for the recording of Dvořák’s String Quartet Nos 12 ‘American’ and 13.
Click here to read an interview with the quartet about the recording and watch them perform the first movement of Smetana’s String Quartet No.1 in a session for Sinfini Music:
Pavel Haas Quartet returns to Australia for Musica Viva Festival
Pavel Haas Quartet return to Australia on 9 April for a series of concerts and a masterclass at the Musica Viva Festival in Sydney. The quartet perform some of their core repertoire at the festival, with performances of works such as Dvořák String Quartet Op.51 ‘Slavonic’ on 9 April and Pavel Haas String Quartet No.2 ‘From the Monkey Mountains’ on 10 April. They close the festival on 12 April by joining forces with the Doric String Quartet and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra’s Principal Double Bass Kees Boersma to perform Mustonen String Nonet No and the world premiere of American composer Natalie Williams’s string octet Saudade.
All concerts will be broadcast live on ABC Classic FM. Committed to music education, members of the quartet will also hold a masterclass at the conservatory which will be open for students to attend.
Pavel Haas Quartet wins 2014 Gramophone Award in Chamber Music category
The Pavel Haas Quartet is the winner of the Best Chamber Music recording at the Gramophone Awards 2014 for their recording of Schubert’s String Quartet in D minor ‘Death and the Maiden’ and the Cello Quintet with Danjulo Ishizaka. The quartet will be awarded the prize at a ceremony in London on 17 September.
Upon release, the recording immediately received praise from critics. The Strad, featuring it as recommended listening, commented “These are superb performances... The Pavel Haas Quartet presents Schubert’s ‘Death and the Maiden Quartet’ as a dichotomy, pretty much divided into loud Schubert and soft Schubert… The result is vivid and compelling”. The Sunday Times wrote: “This album is scalding to the touch”, calling their interpretation “irresistible”, while BBC Music Magazine, underlining how demanding the chosen repertoire is for a quartet, commented in a five-star review, “the Pavel Haas Quartet, with the superb extra cellist Danjulo Ishizaka, even succeed where most other ensembles fail”, calling the recording “essential listening for anyone who loves Schubert”. In another five-star review, Fono Forum described the quartet’s understanding of Schubert as a “blazingly vivid account of enthralling veracity”.
This is the third time the quartet has been awarded a Gramophone Award: their recording of Dvořák’s String Quartets won the prestigious ‘Record of the Year’ at the Gramophone Awards 2011, and their first recording of Janáček and Pavel Haas quartets also winning the ‘Best Chamber Music’ award in 2007.
Click here to hear an excerpt from the album.
Intermusica artists win Gramophone Awards 2014
The Pavel Haas Quartet, Richard Egarr and Thomas Hobbs are winners at the 2014 Gramophone Awards in the Chamber, Recital and Choral categories. All this year’s awards will be presented at the Gramophone Awards ceremony in London on 17 September.
The Pavel Haas Quartet have won the Chamber category for their Schubert recording, released on Supraphon in September 2013. The recording received immediate acclaim upon its release, described as “vivid and compelling” by The Strad and "the perfect fusion of virtuosity and profundity" by the Times, while Gramophone praised the quartet’s “fearless risk-taking, their fervency and... absolute confidence."
Richard Egarr is honoured in the Recital category for his Wigmore Hall Live recording with counter-tenor Iestyn Davies, Arise, My Muse. Recorded in February 2013, the album was released on the Wigmore Hall Live label, and features music from seventeenth-century London by composers Henry Purcell, Giovanni Gabrieli, Jeremiah Clarke, John Blow and William Croft.
In the choral category, Thomas Hobbs is one of the soloists on the winning Mozart Requiem recording with the Dunedin Consort, John Butt, and fellow soloists Joanne Lunn (soprano) Rowan Hellier (mezzo-soprano) and Matthew Brook (bass). The recording, released on Linn Records, was described by Gramophone as "one of the finest Mozart Requiems of recent years”.
Pavel Haas Quartet launches ‘Bohemia’ cycle at Wigmore Hall
On 7 September the Pavel Haas Quartet return to the Wigmore Hall to launch their ‘Bohemia’ cycle with mezzo-soprano Bernarda Fink and Roger Vignoles. The programme includes Janácek String Quartet No.2 'Intimate Letters' as well as a selection of his Moravian Folk Poetry in Songs, arranged for the quartet and Bernarda Fink by Czech composer Jiří Gemrot. The programme also includes Dvorák’s ‘Songs’ Op.2 and ‘Gipsy songs’ Op.55 for voice and piano.
Throughout the 2014/15 season, in the ‘Bohemia’ cycle the quartet will explore masterpieces of the Czech repertoire as well as lesser-known works and contemporary commissions at venues including Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Palais des Beaux-Arts Brussels and Auditorio Nacional Madrid. Guest artists, beside Bernarda Fink, are Colin Currie and Nicholas Angelich.
Pavel Haas Quartet release new Schubert recording on Supraphon
The new recording of the Pavel Haas Quartet will be released on 23 September. The CD features Schubert’s renowned string quartet 'Death and the Maiden', and his String Quintet in C major. Talking about the quartet, cellist Peter Jarusek named it “one of the most seminal quartets there is… A powerful drama in which great tension alternates with divine, sublime melodies”.
The double-CD marks the fifth collaboration with Czech label Supraphon and was recorded during the summer together with cellist Danjulo Ishizaka.
Pavel Haas Quartet win 'Recording of the Year' at Gramophone Awards
The Pavel Haas Quartet have been awarded 'Recording of the Year' at the 2011 Gramophone Awards, following in the footsteps of such artists as Claudio Abbado, Krystian Zimerman, Maxim Vengerov and Sir Simon Rattle. This award is in recognition of their recording of Dvořák’s String Quartets Op.106 and Op.96 ‘American’. Following the recording’s release in 2010 it received unanimous critical acclaim around the world, with The Times commenting that: "Their account of the American Quartet belongs alongside the greatest performances on disc. In this repertoire, they are simply matchless today."
Click here to listen to an excerpt from the recording, the opening of the 'American' Quartet.
The Award marks a remarkable rise to international prominence for the quartet since they first emerged as winners of the 2005 Borciani Competition. They are now established performers in the world’s greatest concert halls, and are consistently praised by audiences and critics for the remarkable excitement and depth of musicality that they bring to a wide range of repertoire. In the season ahead the Pavel Haas Quartet will tour to London’s Wigmore Hall, the Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Carnegie Hall New York, Vienna Konzerthaus, Munich Herkulessaal, Zurich Tonhalle, Glasgow City Halls (where they are Artists in Residence), Brussels Palais des Beaux Arts, Paris Theatre des Champs-Elysees, Hong Kong Arts Festival and venues across Japan and the USA.