16 Strings in Harmony

by Charlotte Brouard-Tartarin
The Quatuor Ebene standing, posing for a picture

The Quatuor Ébène is one of the world’s most sought-after chamber music ensembles. Its residency at the Philharmonie highlights the four musicians’ many activities – whether as a new discovery or a rediscovery. In describing the quartet’s development, diversity and excellence are key words. Over the more than two decades of its existence, the quartet has received numerous awards honouring its stature in musical life and distinguishing its recordings, some of which are considered the benchmarks of today. Furthermore, the quartet combines its artistic excellence with significant social and ecological activism.

The first of the three concerts the quartet will give at the Philharmonie offers a survey of the history of the string quartet genre, starting with Joseph Haydn and ending with Béla Bartók, with a visit to Franz Schubert half-way through. Next, the four performers return for an evening in the series « Philharmonic Perspectives», boasting a special constellation – under the baton of Kirill Karabits, the quartet will join the Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg in John Adams’ work Absolute Jest – a concerto for quartet and orchestra which builds upon fragments from Beethoven’s late string quartets. The four musical adventurers know these quartets very well, as they have masterfully recorded the complete Beethoven quartets. For the third concert at the Salle de Musique de Chambre, the Quatuor Ébène has invited exquisite reinforcement: together with the Belcea Quartet, it will perform two major works from the string literature: the Octets by George Enescu and Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy. Whether as performers or educators – the members of Quatuor Ébène resemble the ebony their name invokes: valuable and desirable in equal measure.

We’ve got something similar coming up soon at the Philharmonie: