Doric String Quartet

February 9, 2020, 4 PM

Music Room

From celebrated recordings of music by Korngold and Walton to surveys of Britten’s complete String Quartets performed in the composer’s hometown of Aldeburgh in the UK, the Doric String Quartet is a leading British ensemble. They mark their return to the Phillips with three touchstone string quartets that showcase their consummate musicianship, beginning with the delightful trickery of Joseph Haydn’s String Quartet in E-Flat Major, Op. 33, No. 2, “The Joke.” The Dorics turn to Benjamin Britten’s String Quartet No. 3 in G Major, Op. 94, written in Venice in 1975 and inspired by the city’s waterways and church bells. The group completes the program with Ludwig van Beethoven’s String Quartet in B-flat Major, Op. 130 with Große Fuge, Op. 133. This late Quartet is a work of such visionary brilliance that its fifth movement “Cavatina” was included on the Voyager Golden Record, launched into space in 1977 as a beacon of human culture and achievement.


JOSEPH HAYDN ( 1732-1809)
String Quartet in E-flat Major, Op. 33, No. 2 “Joke”

String Quartet No. 3 in G Major, Op. 94


String Quartet in B-flat Major, Op. 130 with Große Fuge, Op. 133

Firmly established as one of the leading quartets of its generation, the Doric String Quartet receives enthusiastic responses from audiences and critics across the globe. Winner of the 2008 Osaka International Chamber Music Competition in Japan and 2nd prize at the Premio Paolo Borciani International String Quartet Competition in Italy, the Quartet now performs in leading concert halls throughout Europe including Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Vienna Konzerthaus, Berlin Konzerthaus, Frankfurt Alte Oper, Hamburg Laeiszhalle, and De Singel, and is a regular visitor at Wigmore Hall. The Quartet tours annually to the US and made its Carnegie Hall debut in 2017. 

Alongside main season concerts the Quartet has a busy festival schedule and has performed at the Festspiele Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Schwetzingen, Schwarzenberg Schubertiade, Grafenegg, Aldeburgh, West Cork, Cheltenham, Delft, Incontri inTerra di Siena, and Risør Festivals, collaborating with artists including Ian Bostridge, Mark Padmore, Alexander Melnikov, Pieter Wispelwey, Jonathan Biss, Chen Halevi, Elizabeth Leonskaja, Alina Ibragimova, and Cédric Tiberghien. The Quartet takes over the Artistic Directorship of the Mendelssohn on Mull Festival from 2018, a position that sees the Quartet play a key role in implementing the Festival’s core mission of providing young professionals in the field of string chamber music with a week of intensive mentoring, coaching, and development. 

A recent highlight has seen the Quartet take on John Adams’s “Absolute Jest” for String Quartet and Orchestra with performances at the Vienna Konzerthaus with John Adams conducting, with the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic at the Concertgebouw and with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra conducted by Markus Stenz. Their recording of the piece with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and Peter Oundjian, released on Chandos in 2018, was named Recording of the Month in BBC Music Magazine and praised for the “sumptuous sweetness and laser-like clarity” of its performance. 

Highlights of the 2018/19 season included a residency at Aldeburgh’s Britten Weekend with a complete overview of the composer’s quartets, leading the Doric straight into recording the works at Snape Maltings for release on Chandos. The Quartet returned to Wigmore Hall three times including in collaboration with pianist Jonathan Biss and elsewhere performed at Hamburg Elbphilharmonie, Dortmund Konzerthaus, Musée du Louvre in Paris, and two performances at the Barbican’s Milton Court with Benjamin Grosvenor. Further afield the Quartet makes its South American debut at Buenos Aires’ Usina del Arte and undertook its annual North American tour, which included performances in Boston and Philadelphia. The Doric returned to Australia for a nationwide tour with Musica Viva, including the world premiere of a new Quartet by Brett Dean co-commissioned for the Doric by Musica Viva, Berlin Konzerthaus, Carnegie Hall, Amsterdam String Quartet Biennale, and the Edinburgh International Festival. 

Since 2010, the Doric Quartet has recorded exclusively for Chandos Records, with their releases covering repertoire ranging from Schumann through to Korngold and Walton as well as works with orchestra including Elgar’s Introduction and Allegro and John Adams’s “Absolute Jest.” Their 2017 release of Schubert’s Quartettsatz and G Major Quartet was named Editor’s Choice by Gramophone and nominated for a 2017 Gramophone Award. The Quartet’s ongoing commitment to Haydn has so far seen them release the complete Op. 20, Op. 76, and Op. 64 Quartets with the recordings attracting acclaim including Editor’s Choice in Gramophone, Choc du Mois in Classica Magazine, and a shortlisting for a Gramophone Award. Future releases include quartets by Mendelssohn, Britten, and the complete Haydn Op. 33 Quartets. 

Formed in 1998, the Doric String Quartet studied on the Paris-based ProQuartet Professional Training Program and later at the Music Academy in Basel, then being selected for representation by YCAT in 2006. In 2015 the Quartet was appointed as Teaching Quartet in Association at the Royal Academy of Music in London. The Quartet’s violist Hélène Clément plays a viola by Guissani, 1843 generously on loan from the Britten-Pears Foundation and previously owned by Frank Bridge and Benjamin Britten.