Quatuor Danel (violinists Marc Danel and Gilles Millet, violist Vlad Bogdanas, and cellist Yovan Markovitch) was founded in 1991 and was quickly recognized for the quality of its performances of a repertoire ranging from Haydn to contemporary composers. Quatuor Danel has performed the two great 20th-century Russian string quartet cycles: the 15 Quartets by Shostakovich and the 17 by his friend Mieczysław Weinberg (1919–96). The Quartet was the first ensemble to play the complete Weinberg cycle live, in Manchester and Utrecht. The Phillips Collection is delighted to offer the rare opportunity to hear the whole cycle of Weinberg’s Quartets played in a series of five concerts. It was thanks to the Shostakovich that Weinberg was able to settle in Moscow in 1943 (having fled his native Poland) and the two became lifelong friends. Shostakovich described Weinberg as “one of the outstanding composers of today.” Weinberg claimed that the older composer introduced him to a “new musical universe.” As a Jewish composer living under Stalin, Weinberg endured numerous personal attacks in the official press and an arrest in 1953. It was again thanks to Shostakovich’s intersection that Weinberg was released from prison two months later. Weinberg never compromised as a composer, remaining true to himself, whether in his remarkable series of symphonies, in his opera The Passenger, or in this extraordinary cycle of string quartets.
MIECZYSŁAW WEINBERG (1919-96)
String Quartet No. 4, Op. 20
String Quartet No. 5 in B-flat Major, Op. 27
String Quartet No. 6 in E minor, Op. 35
The Quatuor Danel has been at the forefront of the European music scene since its founding in 1991, with major concert performances worldwide and a number of groundbreaking recordings which have won many important international awards. The Quartet made its American debut during the 2015/2016 season, featuring concerts at New York’s Frick Collection and the Clarice Smith in College Park, MD, as well as at series across the country. Its follow-up April 2017 tour took the Quartet to San Francisco, Montreal, and to The Phillips Collection in Washington, DC.
The Ensemble is famous for its bold, concentrated interpretations of the string quartet cycles of Haydn, Beethoven, Schubert, Shostakovich, and Weinberg. Their lively and fresh vision of traditional quartet repertoire has won them lavish praise from both the public and the press. In addition, Russian composers have a vital place in the Quatuor Danel’s repertoire: they have championed the string quartets of Shostakovich, and their recently reissued recording of the complete cycle is considered one of the benchmark interpretations of these quartets.
Over the past three years the Quatuor Danel has recorded the previously unknown quartet oeuvre of Mieczysław Weinberg, the neglected contemporary of Shostakovich, for the label CPO. The Quartet will continue to offer this breathtakingly beautiful repertoire in coming seasons. In addition, they have collaborated with major contemporary composers such as Wolfgang Rihm, Helmutt Lachenmann, Sofia Gubaidulina, Pascal Dusapin, and the stars of the younger generation including Jörg Widmann and Bruno Mantovani.
In addition to their advocacy for Russian music, the Quatuor Danel has a particular passion for teaching young musicians, and particularly string quartets. Teaching, outreach, and master classes are a fundamental part of their activities. The Quartet has been artist-in-residence at the University of Manchester since 2005, working closely with the students and also with musicologists Barry Cooper and David Fanning.
The Quartet’s upcoming concerts will take them to the major halls in Brussels, Amsterdam, Moscow, Paris, London, Madrid, Vienna, Berlin, Beijing, Tokyo, and New York. The Quatuor Danel is a regular guest at the major European festivals, and in the summer of 2016 made its North American debut at the Ottawa ChamberFest. Upcoming recording projects consist of the three Tchaikovsky quartets, the Quartet and Piano Quintet by Franck and a longer-term project combining all the string quartets of Haydn with late Beethoven.
The Quatuor Danel is sponsored by SPEDIDAM (Society of Receipt and Distribution of the Royalties for Artists in Music and Dance), an artist society that manages the rights of artists (including musicians, members of choruses, or dancers) in recording, broadcasting, and the use of recorded performances.