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date: 13 October 2019

Carmina Quartetlocked

  • Tully Potter

Extract

Swiss string quartet. It was founded in Zürich in 1984 by Matthias Enderle, Karin Heeg, Wendy Champney and Stephan Goerner. The Swiss members met as students at the Winterthur Conservatory and Enderle got to know the American viola player Champney when they were studying at the International Menuhin Music Academy. The group's mentors included Sándor Végh and Nikolaus Harnoncourt. In 1987 it was at the centre of a controversy when it was awarded only second prize in the Paolo Borciani Competition at Reggio nell'Emilia. Almost half the jurors, including members of the Amadeus, Alban Berg, LaSalle, Smetana and Tokyo quartets, issued a minority verdict in its favour, declaring it to be ‘a first-rate quartet with sensitivity, refinement, virtuosity, musicianship and phenomenal ensemble’. The resulting publicity brought it a 50-concert tour of Europe, Israel and Japan. Heeg withdrew that summer, to be replaced by another former Winterthur student, Susanne Frank, and in October the group made an acclaimed British début at the Wigmore Hall, London. Since then it has been rated among the best European ensembles, capable of breathtakingly beautiful playing underpinned by the subtlest of responses to the music's rhythmic requirements. It has given the premières of works by Gottfried von Einem, Ernst Krenek, Peter Mieg and Peter Wettstein and has collaborated in the concert hall or the recording studio with the baritones Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau and Olaf Bär, the flautist Peter-Lukas Graf and the pianist Mitsuko Uchida. Its recordings include works by Mozart, Mendelssohn, Tchaikovsky, Debussy, Szymanowski, Ravel and Webern....

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