The Elias String Quartet take their name from Mendelssohn’s oratorio, Elijah, of which Elias is its German form, and have quickly established themselves as one of the most intense and vibrant quartets of their generation. The Quartet was formed in 1998 at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester where they worked closely with the late Dr. Christopher Rowland. They also spent a year studying at the Hochschule in Cologne with the Alban Berg quartet. Other mentors in the Quartet’s studies include Peter Cropper, Hugh Maguire, György Kurtág, Gábor Takács-Nagy, Henri Dutilleux and Rainer Schmidt.
The Elias was chosen to participate in BBC Radio 3′s New Generation Artists’ scheme and was also a recipient of a 2010 Borletti-Buitoni Trust Award. They have performed at some of the world’s most prestigious chamber venues, including New York’s Carnegie Hall, the Washington Library of Congress, the Vienna Musikverein, the Berlin Konzerthaus, the Amsterdam Concertgebouw and the Wigmore Hall in London. They recently returned to the US for a tour with Jonathan Biss, visiting Napa Valley, San Francisco, Salt Lake City, Kansas City and New York. The 13/14 season saw the Quartet take on three major tours of the USA, Australia and Sweden as well as further performances across Europe in Vienna, Salzburg, Amsterdam, Luxembourg, Bonn, Venice and Padua.
With the support of the Borletti-Buitoni Trust, the Elias Quartet mounted “The Beethoven Project”: learning and performing all of Beethoven’s string quartets whilst sharing their experience through a special website (www.thebeethovenproject.com) and social media. Their 6 programme quartet cycles in Brighton, Bristol, Norwich, Reading, Southampton, Tonbridge, and Whitehaven, concluded in Spring 2014, and the cycles at the Wigmore Hall, Music in the Round in Sheffield, and Glasgow Concert Halls concluded in 2015.
Plans for 2015 include a return to North America for a month-long tour, performing in New York, Toronto, San Francisco, and Salt Lake City; and concerts in Paris, Amsterdam, Hanover, and Istanbul. The quartet recently premiered and recorded a work written for them by young British composer Emily Howard at Wigmore Hall and collaborated with various artists including Jonathan Biss, François-René Duchâble, and the Kungsbacka trio.
They have performed alongside artists such as Leon Fleisher, Michael Collins, Pascal Moraguès, Simon Crawford-Phillips, Ralph Kirshbaum, Alice Neary, Ann Murray, Joan Rogers, Mark Padmore, Roger Vignoles, Peter Cropper, Robin Ireland, Adrian Brendel, Anthony Marwood and with the Endellion, Jerusalem and Vertavo Quartets.
For four years they were resident String Quartet at Sheffield’s “Music in the Round” as part of Ensemble 360, taking over from the Lindsay Quartet. Currently they are Artists in Residence for both the Glasgow Concert Halls and Brighton Festival & Dome and Associate Artists at Turner Sims, Southampton.
The Quartet is steadily building a recording catalogue that has been met with widespread critical acclaim. They have recorded the Schumann and Dvorak piano quintets Jonathan Biss, on the Onyx label, a disc of French harp music with harpist Sandrine Chatron for Ambroisie, Alexander Goehr’s Piano Quintet with Daniel Becker for Meridian Records, a Britten Quartets disc for Sonimage, and Mendelssohn disc for ASV Gold. Their first 2 recordings for Wigmore Live were praised unanimously, the first winning a BBC Music Magazine Newcomers award, and the Wigmore Hal Live labell have just released the first volume of their Beethoven Quartet Cycle.
“They make a beautiful sound, burnished yet translucent, and play with vigour and subtlety… the Schumann is a delight”
“The Haydn features a dazzling presto finale brimming with theatrical gaiety and virtuoso flair, while the Schumann is explored with marvellous collective vigour and sensitivity”