‘A world-class ensemble . . .’ Erica Jeal, The Guardian, 23 September 2008
The Belcea Quartet is today established as one of the leading quartets of its generation. It pursues an international career that regularly takes it to such centres as Vienna (Konzerthaus and Musikverein), Amsterdam (Concertgebouw), Brussels (Palais des Beaux Arts), Lisbon (Gulbenkian Foundation), Zurich (Tonhalle), Stockholm (Konserthuset), New York (Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center), San Francisco (Herbst Theatre), Paris (Théâtre du Châtelet, Cité de la Musique, Opéra Bastille, Musée d’Orsay, Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord), and Milan (Sala Verdi).
The Belcea Quartet also performs at many European festivals, including Luberon, Fayence, Valloires, Istanbul, Trondheim, Lausanne, Salzburg, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, and the Schwarzenberg Schubertiade. In the UK it is a frequent guest at the Bath, Aldeburgh, Edinburgh, Perth and Cheltenham festivals. From 2001 to 2006 it was Quartet in Residence at the Wigmore Hall in London.
Its chamber partners include Thomas Adès, Isabelle van Keulen, Michael Collins, Paul Lewis, Imogen Cooper, Yovan Markovitch, Natalie Clein, Piotr Anderszewski, and Valentin Erben. The quartet also appears with singers, among them Anne Sofie von Otter (Fauré’s La Bonne Chanson at the Cité de la Musique), Angelika Kirschlager (Respighi’s Il tramonto at the Langeland Festival), and Ian Bostridge (at the Zankel Hall in New York and the Library of Congress in Washington).
In the 2010/11 season, the Belcea Quartet gave world premiere performances of Mark Anthony Turnage’s most recent piece for string quartet, Twisted Blues with Twisted Ballad, at the Wigmore Hall, the Cologne Philharmonie, the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, and the Vienna Konzerthaus. In May 2011 it completed its project ‘Beethoven & Schubert: Final Years’ with concerts at Aldeburgh, the Gulbenkian Grand Auditorium, and the Luxembourg Philharmonie. This was followed by its Late Night Prom debut.
At the start of the 2011/12 season, the Belcea Quartet embarked on one of the most ambitious projects any string quartet can undertake, namely a complete survey of the Beethoven quartets, with concert cycles programmed in the UK, Germany, Austria, Sweden, and the USA. The recordings of the quartets, made in the mythical Snape Maltings Concert Hall in Aldeburgh, will be released on Zig-Zag Territoires beginning in May 2012.
In 2001, the Belcea Quartet won the Diapason d’or with its first disc on Zig-Zag Territoires, devoted to the two Janáček quartets. It then began a collaboration with EMI which produced the complete Bartók quartets, Brahms’s String Quartet op.51 no.1 and String Quintet no.2 (with Thomas Kakuska), and a double album of Schubert’s last two quartets and String Quintet (with Valentin Erben), among others. Today the quartet is reunited with the Zig-Zag Territoires label for the start of a long-term partnership.
The Belcea Quartet is Quartet in Residence at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama of London, and has been Ensemble in Residence at the Vienna Konzerthaus since the 2010/11 season.