The Schumann Quartet has long ceased to be an insider tip: an ensemble that gives concerts in London‘s Queen’s Hall, the Elbphilharmonie Hamburg, the Concertgebouw Amsterdam, the Konzerthaus Wien und the Berliner Philharmonie in just one season, as these four musicians will do, has already reached the top flight of the international music scene. But despite this, their concerts still always radiate the magic of youthful free-thinking, unbridled joy in crossing boundaries and unreserved curiosity when entering new musical territory. The Schumann Quartet has reached a stage where anything is possible, because it has dispensed with certainties. This also has consequences for the listeners, who from concert to concert have to be prepared for all eventualities: “A work really develops only in a live performance,” the quartet says.
The three brothers Mark, Erik and Ken Schumann have been playing together since their earliest childhood. In 2012, they were joined by violist Liisa Randalu, who was born in the Estonian capital, Tallinn, and grew up in Karlsruhe, Germany. Those who experience the quartet in performance often remark on the strong connection between its members. The four musicians enjoy the way they communicate without words: how a single look suffices to convey how a particular member wants to play a particular passage. Although the individual personalities clearly manifest themselves, a common space arises in every musical work in a process of spiritual metamorphosis. The quartet’s openness and curiosity may be partly the result of the formative influence exerted on it by teachers such as Eberhard Feltz, the Alban Berg Quartet, or partners such as Menahem Pressler.
Its album “Landscapes”, in which the quartet traces its own roots by combining works of Haydn, Bartók, Takemitsu and Pärt, has been hailed enthusiastically both at home and abroad, among other things receiving five Diapasons, being selected as Editor’s Choice by the BBC Music Magazine and winning the The German Record Critics’ Award (“Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik”). The Schumann Quartet was already accorded the 2016 Newcomer Award at the BBC Music Magazine Awards in London for its previous CD Mozart Ives Verdi. Recently the album “Intermezzo” (2018) won an Opus Klassik. The album “Chiaroscuro” (2019) is a combination of Bach’s fugues (edited by Mozart) as “promenade”, like bridges which connect contrasting composers and music, from Glass to Gershwin, Mendelssohn to Shostakovich and on “Fragment” (2020) they focused on the work of Franz Schubert.
A special highlight of the 21/22 season will be the four concerts at Wigmore Hall London, where the quartet is Quartet in Residence this season. Furthermore, the quartet will be back on tour in the USA after an enforced break. It will be a guest at the String Quartet Biennale Amsterdam, the Schleswig Holstein Music Festival and the MDR Musiksommer, as well as in Berlin, Schwetzingen, Frankfurt, Cologne and Dortmund. In addition, the quartet will be able to present two special programs in Madrid and Bilbao together with mezzo-soprano Anna-Lucia Richter.