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Arditti Quartet

Arditti Quartet

The Arditti Quartet enjoys a world-wide reputation for their spirited and technically refined interpretations of contemporary and earlier 20th century music.

‘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 music.