‘There is no more
competant formation in this field in the whole globe’ Badische Zeitung
‘As it has done for more than a quarter-century with astonishing virtuosity
and bravery, the Arditti Quartet continues to treat music as something of
crucial importance and endless amazement.’ LA Times
‘I’ve given up groping for fresh superlatives
to describe the Arditti’s music-making. They are way beyond praise.’ Daily Telegraph
‘The Arditti players manage to say more in a
couple of bow strokes than some concerts communicate in total.’ The Sunday Times
Several hundred string quartets and other chamber works have
been written for the ensemble since its foundation by first violinist Irvine
Arditti in 1974. These works have left a permanent mark on 20th century
repertoire and have given the Arditti Quartet a firm place in music history.
World premieres of quartets by composers such as Ades, Andriessen, Aperghis,
Bertrand, Birtwistle, Britten, Cage, Carter, Denisov, Dillon, Dufourt, Dusapin,
Fedele, Ferneyhough, Francesconi, Gubaidulina, Guerrero, Harvey, Hosokawa,
Kagel, Kurtag, Lachenmann, Ligeti, Maderna, Nancarrow, Reynolds, Rihm, Scelsi,
Sciarrino, Stockhausen and Xenakis and hundreds more show the wide range of
music in the Arditti Quartet’s repertoire.
The ensemble believes that close collaboration with
composers is vital to the process of interpreting modern music and therefore
attempts to work with every composer it plays.
The players’ commitment to educational work is indicated by
their masterclasses and workshops for young performers and composers all over
the world. From 1982 to 1996 the quartet’s members were resident string tutors
at the Darmstadt Summer Courses for New Music.
The Arditti Quartet’s extensive discography now features
over 180 albums. 42 of these have been released as part of the ensemble’s
series on the French label Naïve Montaigne. The series presents numerous
contemporary composer features as well as the first digital recordings of the
complete Second Viennese School’s string quartet music. Stockhausen’s infamous
Helicopter Quartet is to be found here.
Renowned for recording many composer portraits recorded in their presence,
the quartet recorded the complete quartets of Luciano Berio, shortly before his
death. Latest releases include Harvey, Rihm and Lachenmann.
Over the past 30 years, the ensemble has received many
prizes for its work. They have won the Deutsche Schallplatten Preis several
times and the Gramophone Award for the best recording of contemporary music in
1999 (Elliott Carter) and 2002 (Harrison Birtwistle). The prestigious Ernst von
Siemens Music Prize was awarded to them in 1999 for ‘lifetime achievement’ in