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. They perform around the world, collaborating with many different artists. 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 Hugh Maguire, György Kurtág, Gábor Takács-Nagy, Henri Dutilleux and Rainer Schmidt.
The Quartet was chosen to participate in BBC Radio 3′s New Generation Artists’ scheme and is the 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 sees 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. In the UK, they have many London and regional appearances including Stamford, Abbotsholme, Ipswich, Lichfield and at the East Neuk Festival in Fife.
With the support of the Borletti-Buitoni Trust, the Elias Quartet are now immersed in their Beethoven Project: learning and performing all Beethoven string quartets. The cycles started in 2012/13 and continue throughout this season in various venues including Sheffield, Southampton, Bristol, Brighton, Norwich, Tonbridge, Glasgow and London. They are documenting their journey on a dedicated website:
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, Michel Dalberto, Peter Cropper, Bernard Gregor-Smith, Ettore Causa, Timothy Boulton, Robin Ireland, Adrian Brendel, Anthony Marwood and with the Endellion, Jerusalem and Vertavo Quartets.
The Quartet received second prize and the Sidney Griller prize at the 9th London International String Quartet Competition in 2003 (as the Johnston String Quartet) and were finalists in the Paolo Borciani Competition in 2005. 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.
The Quartet is steadily building a recording catalogue that has been met with widespread critical acclaim. Their most recent disc is with pianist Jonathan Biss of the Schumann and Dvorak piano quintets, released on the Onyx label. and they have two discs on the Wigmore Live label. They have also released a disc of French harp music with harpist Sandrine Chatron for the French label Ambroisie, Goehr’s Piano Quintet with Daniel Becker for Meridian Records, and a Britten Quartets disc, released by Sonimage. Throughout 2014 and 2015, they will build on their relationship with the Wigmore Hall and the Wigmore Live label, for whom they have already released two discs, when they perform and record all the Beethoven quartets as the culmination of their Beethoven Project.
“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”