Friday 10 November 2023, 7:30pm
West Road Concert Hall, Cambridge CB3 9DP


Sindri Lederer, violin

Andrea Burger, viola

Philip Graham, cello

Antonia Köster, piano

Piano Quartet no. 2 in A, Op. 26
Piano Quartet no. 1 in G minor, Op. 25

Described by the distinguished American music critic, Robert Markow, as ‘one of the finest chamber music performances I have heard anywhere’, the Berlin-based Notos Quartett has established itself in little more than a decade as one of Europe’s foremost chamber ensembles. Founded in 2007, the quartet has won a series of first-prizes in major competitions and, in 2017, the ECHO Klassik award – Germany’s most prestigious prize for classical music – in the category for the Newcomer of the Year, a prize that until then had only been given to ensembles on the rarest of occasions. Among their recent distinctions has been the award of the €25,000 Würth Prize for 2022, an award whose previous recipients include such celebrated musicians as the conductors Claudio Abbado and Gustavo Dudamel, the cellist Sol Gabetta, and the Artemis Quartet.

The Notos Quartett’s mission is to perform well-known masterpieces, to reveal lost and forgotten treasures, and to champion new compositions for the genre of the piano quartet. This was evident on the ensemble’s debut album, titled ‘Hungarian Treasures’, released by Sony Classical-RCA in 2017. It includes the world-premiere recording of Béla Bartók’s Piano Quartet, a rediscovery for which the ensemble received international acclaim. Their second recording, again released by SONY Classical, was dedicated entirely to Brahms, with the celebrated Piano Quartet in G minor (which they perform this evening) and an arrangement of the Symphony no. 3 by Andreas Nikolai Tarkmann, created especially for the Notos Quartett.

The Notos Quartett came to the attention of a much wider public in 2018 when, in protest against the ECHO prize committee’s decision to honour, in their popular music category, a recording that included antisemitic and sexist language, they returned their ECHO award. This triggered a protest movement in which many renowned artists, among them Igor Levit and Daniel Barenboim, followed by returning their own ECHO prizes. The Notos Quartett regularly appears in the leading concert halls of the world, among them Wigmore Hall London, the Philharmonie Berlin, the Konzerthaus Vienna, the Concertgebouw Amsterdam, the BOZAR Brussels, the Tonhalle Zurich and the Teatro la Fenice in Venice, as well as at major festivals including Rheingau, Schwetzingen, Würzburg, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Lockenhaus, Usedom and Radio France.

The support of the Merito String Instruments Trust enables the string-players of the Notos Quartett to play on instruments by the greatest Italian masters. Their strings are provided by the renowned manufacturer Pirastro GmbH.