February 10, 2016
Danish String Quartet Embarks on U.S Tour
Caroline Bittencourt

The  Danish String Quartet returns to the United States on a seven-city tour, including a teaching residency at the University of California Berkeley.  The young ensemble, already renowned globally for their outstanding level of musical refinement and lush interpretations of classical, contemporary, and folk traditions, offer programs featuring elegant and nuanced compositions of the 21st century, as well as the classics, which they have been praised by the New York Times as “...one of the most powerful performances of [Beethoven’s] Opus 132 I’ve heard live or on disc.  The musicians acutely attuned to one another, didn’t appear to be on autopilot even for a millisecond, with every nuance, phrase, and gesture beautifully wrought.” On February 21, the DSQ gives the sixth and final performance of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s “The Beethoven Cycle,” in which every Beethoven string quartet is played in chronological order.  The Quartet follows the Jerusalem, Miró, Orion, and Escher String Quartets, for these performances in Alice Tully Hall.  The Quartet is now in their third year as Chamber Music Society Two artists.

With their technical and interpretive talents matched by an infectious joy for music-making and “rampaging energy,” (Alex Ross, The New Yorker) the Danish String Quartet is in demand worldwide by concert and festival presenters alike.  Giving concerts selected by the New York Times as highlights of the year for 2012 and 2015, the group of musical friends has demonstrated a passion for Scandinavian composers, who they frequently incorporate into adventurous contemporary programs, while also giving skilled and profound performances of the classical masters.  

The Danish String Quartet’s scope of talent secured them the three-year appointment in Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s CMS Two Program beginning in the 2013-14 season. The quartet was also named a BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artist for 2013-15.  In November 2014 the quartet released their recording of Danish folk songs, Wood Works, on the Dacapo label, which was selected by NPR as one of the best classical albums of the year.  In 2009 the Danish String Quartet won First Prize in the 11th London International String Quartet Competition, now called the Wigmore Hall International String Quartet Competition, as well as four additional prizes from the same jury.  Now recognized as the premiere quartet in Scandinavia, they sponsor their own festival each October in their home of Copenhagen.

Frederik Øland (Violin)
Rune Tonsgaard Sørensen (Violin)
Asbjørn Nørgaard (Viola)
Fredrik Schøyen Sjölin (Cello)

Highlights of Spring 2016:

  • February 11: Paris, France - performance debut at the Louvre Museum
  • February 13: Durham, NC - Beethoven string quartets at Duke University
  • February 16: Buffalo, NY - Beethoven, Schnittke, Mendelssohn at Buffalo Chamber Music Society in Kleinhans Music Hall
  • February 21: New York, NY - Beethoven’s final string quartets at Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center in Alice Tully Hall
  • February 28: Berkeley, CA - Nørgård, Janáček, Beethoven at UC Berkeley in Hertz Concert Hall
  • March 1: Santa Barbara, CA - Beethoven, Janáček, Mendelssohn at UC Santa Barbara in Hahn Hall
  • April 6-8: Savannah, GA - Nørgård, Mozart, Strauss, Haydn, Schnittke, Mendelssohn, and Nordic folk music with Swedish trio Väsen at the Savannah Music Festival
  • May: release of first disc on ECM records, featuring works of Hans Abrahamsen (2016 recipient of the $100,000 Grawemeyer Award for Composition), Per Nørgård (2016 recipient of the €250,000 Siemens Prize), and Thomas Adès (elected in 2015 to the Board of Directors of the European Academy of Music Theater).

Career Notes and Highlights:

  • Violinists Frederik Øland and Rune Tonsgaard Sørensen and violist Asbjørn Nørgaard met as children in a summer camp, and formed a string quartet in their teens
  • 2002: Made their debut at the Copenhagen Festival
  • 2004: Won the Danish Radio P2 Chamber Music Competition, founded the Danish String Quartet Festival in Copenhagen
  • 2005: Awarded First Prize in the Vagn Holmboe String Quartet Competition, the Charles Hennen International Chamber Music Competition in Holland, and the Audience Prize in the Trondheim International String Quartet Competition
  • 2006: Danish Radio’s Artist-in-Residence, recorded all of Carl Nielsen string quartets in the Danish Radio Concert Hall, released on the Dacapo label in 2007 and 2008.
  • 2008: The three Danes met Norwegian cellist Fredrik Schøyen Sjölin
  • 2010: NORDMETALL-Ensemble Prize at the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Festival in Germany
  • 2011: Won the Carl Nielson Prize
  • 2013: Appointed to the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s CMS Two program
  • 2014: Recorded the critically acclaimed Wood Works, released on the Dacapo label and distributed by Naxos

Saturday, February 13, 8pm
Duke Performances Chamber Arts Series
Durham, North Carolina
Beethoven: String Quartet, Op. 18, No. 6
Beethoven: String Quartet, Op. 135
Beethoven: String Quartet, Op. 131

Sunday, February 14, 5pm
The Fine Arts Center of Kershaw County
Camden, South Carolina
Claire Bryant, cello
Beethoven: String Quartet, Op. 131

Tuesday, February 16, 8pm
Buffalo Chamber Music Society, Kleinhans Music Hall
Buffalo, New York
Beethoven: String Quartet, Op. 18, No. 6
Schnittke: Quartet No. 3
Mendelssohn: String Quartet in A minor, Op. 13

Friday, February 19, 7:30pm
Moravian College, Foy Hall
Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
Beethoven: String Quartet, Op. 18, No. 6
Beethoven: String Quartet, Op. 135
Beethoven: “Finale allegro” from Op. 131

Sunday, February 21, 5pm
Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Alice Tully Hall
New York, NY
Beethoven: String Quartet, Op. 131
Beethoven: String Quartet, Op. 135
Beethoven: “Finale allegro” from Op. 130

Sunday, February 28, 3pm
University of California - Berkeley - week-long residency
Hertz Concert Hall
Berkeley, California
Per Nørgård: Quarteto Breve
Leos Janáček: String Quartet No. 1
Beethoven: String Quartet, Op. 131

Tuesday, March 1, 7pm
University of California - Santa Barbara
Hahn Hall
Santa Barbara, California
Beethoven: String Quartet, Op. 18, No. 6
Leos Janáček: String Quartet No. 1
Mendelssohn: String Quartet in A minor, Op. 13

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