Described by The Strad as presenting “a masterclass in unanimity of musical purpose, in which severity could melt seamlessly into charm, and drama into geniality″, the Carducci Quartet is recognized as one of today’s most successful string quartets. Performing over 90 concerts worldwide each year, the quartet also guides the Carducci Classics recording label while running an annual festival in Highnam, Gloucester and curating the Carducci Festival in Castagneto-Carducci — the town from which they took their name.
Honored with the 2016 Royal Philharmonic Society Chamber Music Award for its landmark Shostakovich15 project, the Carducci Quartet are winners of international competitions, including the Concert Artists Guild International Competition 2007 and Finland’s Kuhmo International Chamber Music Competition. This Anglo-Irish quartet has appeared at prestigious venues across the globe including London’s Wigmore Hall; the National Concert Hall, Dublin; Tivoli Concert Hall, Copenhagen; New York’s Carnegie Hall and both the Library of Congress and John F Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. Festival appearances include Cheltenham Music Festival; Festival Messiaen au pays Meije; West Cork Chamber Music festival; Kuhmo Festival; and the Wratislavia Cantans Festival in Poland.
During the next two seasons, the Carducci Quartet will present the complete Beethoven Quartet cycle on tour and release its first all-Beethoven CD, to coincide with its 20th anniversary in 2017. In addition, the quartet collaborates on tour with the Katona Twins guitar duo, with whom they have recorded an all-Vivaldi CD for Channel Classics.
During the current season, the quartet is immersed in the chamber music of Schubert. Its programming of the ‘Death and the Maiden’ was paired with the ‘Trout’ quintet and the two-cello quintet in collaboration with distinguished fellow artists for the group’s sold-out four-concert weekend at the Cheltenham International Music Festival.
The 2016 Royal Philharmonic Society Chamber Music Award honored the Carducci Quartet’s complete cycle of Shostakovich’s String Quartets given in a number of international cycles in 2015 to commemorate 40 years since the composer’s death. Highlighted by the group’s Shostakovich15 blog the critical acclaim was universally high: “they made an astonishing impression in such concentrated form.” “This was high octane, turbo-charged playing.” (Bachtrack.com) The project was accompanied by a recording of quartets no. 4, 8 and 11: their second disc for Signum Classics. The 2015 year also included tours of Germany, Holland, Spain, Colombia and North America in a variety of repertoire.
Celebrated as well for their interpretation of contemporary repertoire, the Carducci Quartet is regularly invited to perform new works. Recent world premieres include Anthony Gilbert’s cello quintet Haven of Mysteries with Guy Johnston. The Carduccis also curated two projects at Kings Place, London around Steve Reich and Philip Glass.
The Carducci Quartet’s latest CD, Jethro Tull: The String Quartets, is a collaboration with Ian Anderson which made its debut on the Billboard Classical Chart at Number 1. Just prior to that release, the Carducci Quartet made the premiere recording of David Bruce’s ‘Gumboots’ clarinet quintet, paired with the Brahms clarinet quintet, with guest Julian Bliss. Gramophone Magazine singled out the CD as an “Editor’s Choice”, calling it a “double delight”. “First, an engaging new work which deserves a place in the chamber repertory; second, a passionate account of Brahms’s Clarinet Quintet” [full review]
In addition, the quartet’s discography includes the 2015 all-Shostakovich CD (Signum Classics)of quartets 4, 8 & 11′ two CDs of Philip Glass CD (Naxos), Into the Ravine (Signum) with Nicholas Daniel featuring British works composed for the ensemble, and Alexander Raskatov’s Monks Music, listed as one of the top 5 classical recordings of 2013 by the Irish Times. The quartet has also received wide critical acclaim for recordings on their own record label and their catalogue features two world premiere recordings: works by G. Whettam (‘recording of the month’ MusicWeb International) and J. Horovitz (‘beautifully crafted works…excellent performances’, BBC Music Magazine). The Carduccis have also recorded Vivaldi and Piazzolla with the Katona Twins Guitar Duo for Channel Classics.
The Carducci Quartet was nominated for a Royal Philharmonic Society Award for their family concert Getting the Quartet Bug! — and educational work remains part of its mission. The quartet set up the Carducci Music Trust to support their work in schools, runs chamber music courses for young musicians in the UK, France and Ireland, and regularly coaches on the National Youth String Quartet Weekend.
The Carducci Quartet studied with members of the Amadeus, Alban Berg, Chilingirian, Takacs and Vanbrugh quartets and, as part of the ProQuartet professional training programme in France, with Gyorgy Kurtag, Walter Levin and Paul Katz.
“truly extraordinary stamina in a musical marathon”
“once in a lifetime event”
The Guardian [full review PDF]
“a performance of supreme clarity, focus and precision.”
“…playing of constant variety, a masterclass in unanimity of musical purpose.”
“…the Carducci players displayed a deep and almost familial sense of unity in everything they played… full of life and vitality…extravagantly beautiful…’
The Washington Post
“haunting, then breezy, catchy, exhilarating” [CD Review] 4-Stars
Financial Times, London [full review PDF]
“They mesmerised the audience with their performance of the second of Beethoven’s “Razumovsky” quartets, so much so that they were forced to sit down and perform an encore”
TheArtsDesk.com [full review link]
“A major highlight of the Carducci Quartet’s Shostakovich 15 is the almost unheard of physical and mental challenge of all fifteen quartets in one day, which we believe to be the first time such a musical marathon will have taken place in the UK.”
Wall Street Journal [link]
“the rewards last weekend were more than ample, this year’s Cheltenham Music Festival pre-launching itself in style with a brave traverse through all 15 of Shostakovich’s string quartets played with engaging enthusiasm, emotional commitment, and awesome physical stamina by the charming and immensely gifted Carducci Quartet.”
“…technical rigour, penetrative musical insight and lively yet unified individualism…winning in every sense of the word…”
The Irish Times
“…high-octane playing balanced control with devil-may-care spontaneity…”
“…the Carducci String Quartet were stunning…they are clearly musicians of high intelligence…”
“…The Carducci Quartet played a blinder at the Wigmore Hall…playing of vivacity and constant rhythmic subtlety…”
“…their ascent into the league of the world’s major quartets has been phenomenal…”
The Yorkshire Post
Colombian Shostakovich cycle
We had a fanstastic trip to Colombia in August, where we performed the first ever Colombian Shostakovich cycle! There were performances in the Teatro Mayor and the Luis Angel Arango Library (pictured) in Bogota and we travelled to Neiva, where we performed the complete cycle and had the opportunity to work with wonderful young Colombian music students (some pictures of the masterclasses here