About
 

The Quatuor Danel has been at the forefront of the European music scene for more than twenty years, and with their bold, vibrant, and concentrated performance style caused a sensation with their debut North American tour in 2015-16. Subsequent tours have taken the Quartet to the major series and cities in the United States and Canada, including concerts at New York’s Frick Collection and The Clarice Smith in Maryland, and in San Francisco, Montreal, and Washington, D.C. The Quartet’s singular voice, uncompromising depth, and utter commitment to the group’s interpretations set the Danel apart from every other string quartet performing today.

The ensemble is famous for its deeply personal interpretations of the string quartet cycles of Haydn, Beethoven, Schubert, Shostakovich, and Weinberg, and their lively and fresh vision of traditional quartet repertoire has won them lavish praise from both the public and the press. In addition, Russian composers have a vital place in the Quatuor Danel’s repertoire: they have championed the string quartets of Shostakovich, and their recently reissued recording of the complete cycle is considered one of the benchmark interpretations of these quartets. Uniquely among string quartets, the Danel has worked closely with both Valentin Berlinsky from the Borodin Quartet as well as Irina Shostakovich to refine the deeply personal interpretations of Russian music for which they are revered in Europe. Their long personal relationship and exceptionally close work with Dmitri Shostakovich’s widow Irina informed these performances in a specific and profoundly personal way, offering a very rarely accessed glimpse into Shostakovich’s genius. 

Over the past three years the Quatuor Danel has recorded the previously unknown quartet oeuvre of Mieczyslaw Weinberg, the neglected contemporary of Shostakovich, for the CD label CPO. The Quartet will continue to offer this breathtakingly beautiful repertoire in coming seasons. In addition, they have collaborated with major contemporary composers such as Wolfgang Rihm, Helmutt Lachenmann, Sofia Gubaidulina, Pascal Dusapin, and the stars of the younger generation including Jörg Widmann and Bruno Mantovani.

The Quartet’s upcoming concerts will take them to the major halls in Brussels, Amsterdam, Moscow, Paris, London, Madrid, Vienna, Berlin, Beijing, Tokyo, and New York. The Quatuor Danel is a regular guest at the major European festivals, and performed at the Ottawa ChamberFest in both 2016, 2018, and 2019. Recent and upcoming recording projects consist of the three Tchaikovsky quartets, the Quartet and Piano Quintet by Franck with pianist Paavali Jumppanen, and a longer-term project combining all the string quartets of Haydn with late Beethoven.

At the very heart of the Quatuor Danel’s work lies their ambassadorship for young musicians in general and string quartets in particular. As the artist-in-residence at the University of Manchester (England) since 2005, the Quartet works closely with students, with teaching and master classes as a fundamental part of their activities.

The Quatuor Danel is sponsored by SPEDIDAM (Society of Receipt and Distribution of the Royalties for Artists in Music and Dance), an artist society that manages the rights of artists (including musicians, members of choruses, or dancers) in recording, broadcasting, and the use of recorded performances. 

July 2019 – Please do not edit without permission.

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Press

Artsfile

July 28, 2018

Gramophone

May 2006

San Francisco

Classical Voice

April 27, 2017

 
Projects
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The Quatuor Danel has been at the forefront of the European music scene for twenty years, and is known for its bold, concentrated interpretations of Russian music as well as for the group’s polished, expansive sound. Joining the Danel in 19/20 is one of the most exciting young artists today, pianist Lise de la Salle, who has been praised for her “hair-raising performance” (Los Angeles Times) and “depth as well as virtuosity” (The New York Times). Together these artists promise a powerful program concluding with the Shostakovich, Weinberg, or Franck quintet.

 

The Quatuor Danel regularly performs the three great 20th-century Russian string quartet cycles: the quartets and sextet of Tchaikovsky, the fifteen quartets by Shostakovich, and the seventeen by Shostakovich’s friend Mieczysław Weinberg (1919–1996). The Danel was the first ensemble to play the complete Weinberg cycle live, in Manchester and Utrecht; with their performance of the cycle at The Phillips Collection (Washington, D.C.) in May 2019 they also became the first to do so in North America.

It was thanks to Shostakovich that Weinberg was able to settle in Moscow in 1943 (having fled his native Poland) and the two became lifelong friends. Shostakovich described Weinberg as “one of the outstanding composers of today.” Weinberg claimed that the older composer introduced him to a “new musical universe.” As a Jewish composer living under Stalin, Weinberg endured numerous personal attacks in the official press and an arrest in 1953. It was again thanks to Shostakovich’s intersection that Weinberg was released from prison two months later. Weinberg never compromised as a composer, remaining true to himself, whether in his remarkable series of symphonies, in his opera The Passenger, or in this extraordinary cycle of string quartets.

 
Program Choices
 

2019-2020 Program Choices

Program I: Debussky (Two Programs Combining Two Greats, Debussy and Tchaikovsky)
Tchaikovsky: Quartet No. 1 in D major, Op. 11
Debussy: Quartet in G minor, Op. 10
*****
Beethoven: Quartet in C major, Op. 59, No. 3, “Razumovsky”

OR

Tchaikovsky: Quartet No. 3 in E-flat major, Op. 30
Stravinsky: Three Pieces for String Quartet
*****
Debussy: Quartet in G minor, Op. 10

Program II: Razumovsky — in Honor of the Beethoven Year
Quartet in F major, Op. 59, No. 1
Quartet in E minor, Op. 59, No. 2
*****
Quartet in C major, Op. 59, No. 3

Program III: Exile
Zemlinsky: Quartet No. 1
Stravinsky: Three Pieces for String Quartet
Prokofiev: Quartet No. 1 in B minor, Op. 50
*****
Dvořák: Quartet in F major, Op. 96

2020-2021 Program Choices

Program I: Trilogy
Weinberg: Quartet No. 5 in B-flat major, Op. 27
Shostakovich: Quartet No. 10 in A-flat major, Op. 118 (dedicated to Weinberg)
*****
Beethoven: Quartet in A minor, Op. 132

Program II: Exile
Zemlinsky: Quartet No. 1 in A major, Op. 4
Prokofiev: Quartet No. 1 in B minor, Op. 50
*****
Dvořák: Quartet in F major, Op. 96, “American” 

Program III: Russology
Tchaikovsky: Quartet No. 1 in D major, Op. 11
Prokofiev: Quartet No. 1 in B minor, Op. 50
*****
Beethoven: Quartet in F major, Op. 59, No. 2, "Razumovsky" 

Program IV: Legacy
Debussy: Quartet in G minor, Op. 10
Shostakovich: Quartet No. 8 in C minor, Op. 110
*****
Brahms: Quartet in A minor, Op. 51, No. 2 OR Britten: Quartet No. 3 in G major, Op. 94

The Quatuor Danel writes, “This programme presents works that synthesise the teaching of our masters. The cellist Pierre Penassou (of the Quatuor Parrenin) has influenced a whole generation of French musicians. Working on the Debussy with him opened our eyes to the real essence of the piece.

The Shostakovich represents our gratitude at having been lucky enough to learn from people like Valentin Berlinsky (of the Borodin Quartet) and Fyodor Druzhinin (of the Beethoven Quartet). They themselves worked and played with Shostakovich so we can’t say enough how deeply we cherish this double heritage.

The Britten is a piece written for the Amadeus Quartet and pre-premiered by them at the composer’s house in Aldeburgh. We had the privilege to learn this quartet with Siegmund Nissel (of the Amadeus Quartet) and to play it at the exact same place where it was played for the very first time.

How inspiring it was to work on this Brahms with Norbert Brainin (of the Amadeus Quartet)! His teaching was beyond words, and he gave us a deep understanding of Brahms’s dynamics and colours.”