“The most striking thing […] was its spirit of freedom”
…as the London Times wrote in the Spring of 2019, these musicians are not confined by traditional boundaries. The two founding members, the Romanian violinist Corina Belcea and the Polish violist Krzysztof Chorzelski, brought a very different artistic provenance to the ensemble in 1994, which was expanded by the French musicians Axel Schacher (violin) and Antoine Lederlin (violoncello).
This also reflects the range of their repertoire: they have already recorded the complete string quartets by Bartók, Beethoven, Brahms (Diapason d’or de l’année 2016), and Britten and are constantly presenting new works by contemporary composers such as Joseph Phibbs (2018), Krzysztof Penderecki (2016), Thomas Larcher (2015) and Mark-Anthony Turnage (2014 & 2010). These commissioned works are created in association with the quartet’s own foundation, whose aim is to continually broaden the string quartet literature as well as to support young quartets through concentrated joint coaching sessions. In this way they can also pass on to the next generation the experience they gained as students of the Amadeus & Alban Berg Quartet.
„[…] the purity of tone and pitch that distinguished the ensemble from the outset remains a hallmark of its work.”The London Times, March 2020
In addition to the complete recordings, the quartet can refer to a varied discography with recordings (among others) of Berg, Dutilleux, Mozart, Schönberg & Schubert. Recent recordings include the Shostakovich Album, with the 3rd String Quartet and the Piano Quintet with Piotr Anderszewski, released in April 2018, and the string quartets from Janáček & Ligeti’s ‘Metamorphoses nocturnes’, released in spring 2019.
„The Belcea has the measure of Ligeti’s offbeat, almost cubist structure, immersing itself thoroughly in his restlessly changing textures, and playing up his unashamed theatricality to compelling effect. It shines piercing new light on all three quartets, producing accounts that are often aurally surprising but entirely convincing, captured in close, warm sound.”The Strad, October 2019
Their performances of all Beethoven String Quartets at the Konzerthaus Vienna 2012 were released on DVD in Autumn 2014 by EuroArts, followed by the release of a recording of Britten’s three String Quartets in the fall of 2015.
Between 2017 – 2020, the quartet was the Ensemble in Residence of the Pierre Boulez Saal in Berlin, to which the four return to regularly since then. Since 2010 the Belcea Quartet is part of a string quartet cycle at the Konzerthaus Vienna, with 2-3 double concerts per season.
This season the ensemble will perform at the Perelman Theater in Philadelphia, the Rudolfinum in Prague, the Konzerthaus Dortmund, the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées in Paris, and the Tonhalle Zurich, among others. Chamber music highlights of this season include the Mendelssohn & Enescu Octet project with their colleagues of the Quatuor Ébène.
Violin by Giovanni Battista Guadagnini (1755), kindly on loan from MERITO String Instruments Trusts Vienna
Violin by Nicolas Lupot (1824)
Viola by Nicola Amati (ca. 1670)
Cello by Matteo Gofriller (1722), kindly on loan from MERITO String Instruments Trusts Vienna