Ensemble | Worldwide Representation
Full Biography 2015-2016
Frederik Øland (Violin); Rune Tonsgaard Sørensen (Violin);
Asbjørn Nørgaard (Viola); Fredrik Schøyen Sjölin (Cello)
Embodying the quintessential elements of a chamber music ensemble, the Danish String Quartet has established a reputation for their integrated sound, impeccable intonation and judicious balance.  With their technical and interpretive talents matched by an infectious joy for music-making and “rampaging energy,” (Alex Ross, The New Yorker) the quartet is in demand worldwide by concert and festival presenters alike.  Since making their debut in 2002 at the Copenhagen Festival, the group of musical friends has demonstrated a passion for Scandinavian composers, who they frequently incorporate into adventurous contemporary programs, while also proving skilled and profound performers of the classical masters. In 2012 The New York Times selected the quartet’s concert as a highlight of the year, saying the performance featured “one of the most powerful renditions of Beethoven’s Opus 132 String Quartet that I’ve heard live or on a recording.” This scope of talent secured them a three-year appointment in the coveted Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s CMS Two Program that began in the 2013-14 season. The quartet was also named as a BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artist for 2013-15.
The Danish String Quartet's 2015-16 season includes a release of their debut disc on ECM Records, a first-time tour of China as well as summer performances at the Mostly Mozart Festival, Maverick Concerts, Cape Cod Chamber Music Festival, Toronto Summer Music Festival and Ottawa Chamberfest. International highlights include concerts in Berlin, Copenhagen, Glasgow, London and a debut at the Louvre Museum in Paris.  With increasing popularity, the Danish String Quartet is considered one of the most sought after chamber ensembles in the world. Their repertoire is diverse, from Nielsen, Abrahamsen, Adès, Shostakovich to Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Debussy and Haydn. Currently in their third season with the CMS Two program, they will perform all four of the Nielsen String Quartets in the Rose Studio and the final concert of a six-concert Beethoven cycle at Alice Tully Hall. This past November the quartet launched their recording of Danish folk songs entitled Wood Works, released by the Dacapo label and distributed by Naxos, at SubCulture in New York. It was selected by NPR as one of the best classical albums of 2014 and the Quartet was featured on a NPR Tiny Desk Concert performing works from the highly acclaimed album.
In addition to their New York performances, the quartet’s robust North American schedule takes them to Ann Arbor, Seattle, Orange County, Santa Barbara, Phoenix, Buffalo, Durham, Humboldt, Cedar Falls and Calgary this season, as well as two weeks of residency activities and performances at the University of California, Berkeley. The quartet will make their debut at the Savannah Music Festival in spring 2016.  Last season the quartet presented the US premiere of Danish composer Thomas Agerfeldt Olesen's Quartet No. 7 "The Extinguishable" at the University of Chicago Presents series and subsequently performed the work in St. Paul, Santa Barbara, Pasadena, New Haven, Gainesville, Jacksonville and Laramie.  In addition to its commitment to highlighting Scandinavian composers, the Danish String Quartet derives great pleasure in traditional Scandinavian folk music.
The Danish String Quartet made their west coast debut in summer 2013 at Music@Menlo described by San Francisco Classical Voice as “… a concert of one ravishing performance after another, culminating in the Beethoven, weaving magic over the full house, which gave a genuine standing ovation to the quartet, not one of those half-hearted crouching applauses. No, this was very real, really loud, and more than well-deserved.” They returned to Menlo in 2014 to perform programs of Haydn and Beethoven quartets as part of a busy summer festival schedule that also included performances in Ireland, France and at home in Denmark.
Since winning the Danish Radio P2 Chamber Music Competition in 2004, the quartet has been greatly desired throughout Denmark and in October 2015 they present the ninth annual DSQ-Festival, a four-day event held in Copenhagen that brings together musical friends the quartet has met on its travels.  In 2009 the Danish String Quartet won First Prize in the 11th London International String Quartet Competition, as well as four additional prizes from the same jury.  This competition is now called the Wigmore Hall International String Quartet Competition and the Danish String Quartet has performed at the famed hall on several occasions.  They returned to Wigmore Hall in March 2015 to perform a program of Haydn and Shostakovich.
The Danish String Quartet was awarded First Prize in the Vagn Holmboe String Quartet Competition and the Charles Hennen International Chamber Music Competition in Holland and the Audience Prize in the Trondheim International String Quartet Competition in 2005. They were awarded the 2010 NORDMETALL-Ensemble Prize at the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Festival in Germany and, in 2011, received the prestigious Carl Nielsen Prize. 
In 2006, the Danish String Quartet was Danish Radio’s Artist-in-Residence, giving them the opportunity to record all of Carl Nielsen's string quartets in the Danish Radio Concert Hall, subsequently released to critical acclaim on the Dacapo label in 2007 and 2008.  The New York Times review said “These Danish players have excelled in performances of works by Brahms, Mozart and Bartok in New York in recent years. But they play Nielsen’s quartets as if they owned them.”  In 2012 the Danish String Quartet released an equally-acclaimed recording of Haydn and Brahms quartets on the German AVI-music label. Anthony Tommasini of the New York Times said: “What makes the performance special is the maturity and calm of the playing, even during virtuosic passages that whisk by. This is music making of wonderful ease and naturalness...” They recorded works by Brahms and Fuchs with award-winning clarinettist Sebastian Manz at the Bayerische Rundfunk in Munich, released by AVI-music in 2014, and recently signed with ECM Records for future recording projects.
Violinists Frederik Øland and Rune Tonsgaard Sørensen and violist Asbjørn Nørgaard met as children at a music summer camp where they played both football and music together, eventually making the transition into a serious string quartet in their teens and studying at Copenhagen’s Royal Academy of Music.  In 2008 the three Danes were joined by Norwegian cellist Fredrik Schøyen Sjölin.  The Danish String Quartet was primarily taught and mentored by Professor Tim Frederiksen and have participated in master classes with the Tokyo and Emerson String Quartets, Alasdair Tait, Paul Katz, Hugh Maguire, Levon Chilingirian and Gábor Takács-Nagy.  www.danishquartet.com 
“They could be grounded in their tone or mystical. They allowed time to stand still, and they could assume the pose of excitingly aggressive rockers. They did it all.”
-The Los Angeles Times  
"They bring a freshness and energy plus a level of sheer accomplishment that I don't ever remember hearing in these works."
Back to Top