Performance Sunday, March 17, 2013 | 7:30 PM

Artemis Quartet

Zankel Hall
Mendelssohn wrote his volatile, gut-wrenching F-Minor String Quartet, Op. 80, shortly after his sister Fanny died and only months before his own demise. Schubert’s final quartet—No. 15 in G Major—moves between sunny major-key and darkly ambiguous minor-key music. The Artemis Quartet performs both of these valedictory, quintessentially Romantic works.


  • Artemis Quartet
    ·· Vineta Sareika, Violin
    ·· Gregor Sigl, Violin
    ·· Friedemann Weigle, Viola
    ·· Eckart Runge, Cello


  • MENDELSSOHN String Quartet in F Minor, Op. 80
  • GINASTERA String Quartet No. 2, Op. 26
  • SCHUBERT String Quartet in G Major, D. 887


  • Artemis Quartet

    The Berlin-based Artemis Quartet was founded in 1989 at the Musikhochschule Lübeck and is recognized today as one of the foremost quartets in the world.

    Since its successful debut at the Berlin Philharmonie in 1999, the quartet has performed in all the great music centers and at international festivals in Europe, the US, Japan, South America, and Australia.

    As a celebration of its special affinity for Beethoven's music, as well as its 20th anniversary as an ensemble, the quartet embarked on a Beethoven cycle in 2009, which was performed over two seasons in Berlin, Brussels, Florence, Cologne, London, Paris, and Rome. The project culminated in a recording of the complete quartets with Virgin Classics / EMI. The project was awarded the prestigious French Grand Prix du Disque de l'Académie Charles Cros.

    Since 2004, the Artemis Quartet has been programming its own critically renowned series in the Berlin Philharmonie and, in addition, was named quartet in residence at the Vienna Konzerthaus in 2011.

    In recognition of its 2012 recording of the three great Schubert quartets, the Artemis Quartet has been invited to design a concert series that features these works and many guest artists in the Salle Pleyel in Paris during the 2013-2014 season.

    Collaborations with other musicians have always been an important source of inspiration for the ensemble. The quartet has toured with such artists as Sabine Meyer, Elisabeth Leonskaja, Juliane Banse, and Jörg Widmann. Several collaborations have also been documented on CD, such as the Brahms and Schubert piano quintets with Leif Ove Andsnes, the Schubert Quintet with Truls Mørk, and Schoenberg's Verklärte Nacht with Thomas Kakuska and Valentin Erben of the Alban Berg Quartet.

    The Artemis Quartet has had an exclusive recording contract with Virgin Classics / EMI since 2005 and has produced an extensive discography. Its recordings have been recognized with the prestigious Gramophone Award, as well as the Diapason d'Or and the ECHO Klassik (twice).

    In addition to their concert careers, the four musicians are professors at the Universität der Künste in Berlin and at La Chapelle Musicale Reine Elisabeth in Brussels.

    More Info


Schubert's Quartet for Strings No. 12 in C Minor, D 703, Allegro Assai
Artemis Quartet
Virgin Classics

At a Glance

FELIX MENDELSSOHN  String Quartet in F Minor, Op. 80

Unlike many of his Romantic contemporaries, Mendelssohn seldom used music as a vehicle for expressing his innermost feelings. But the death of his sister Fanny in May 1847—less than six months before his own demise—seems to have compelled a musical response. Mendelssohn sublimated his grief in the powerful F-Minor Quartet, his last and arguably greatest piece of chamber music. That fall, he played the work at the piano for his friend Ignaz Moscheles, who remarked, "The passionate character of the entire piece seems to me to be consistent with his deeply disturbed frame of mind."

ALBERTO GINASTERA  String Quartet No. 2, Op. 26

Ginastera is best known for the trio of grippingly dramatic and astringently modernist operas he wrote in the 1960s and '70s, all of which were staged by the New York City Opera. But the Argentine composer also produced a significant body of instrumental music, including three string quartets. Op. 26 dates from 1958 and marks a turning point in Ginastera's evolution from musical nationalist with deep roots in Argentina's folk traditions to leading representative of the international avant-garde.

FRANZ SCHUBERT  String Quartet in G Major, D. 887

Schubert completed a total of 15 quartets, the first when he was barely 13, the last some two years before his untimely death. In the mid-1820s, he became fixated on the idea of writing a "grand symphony" on the order of Beethoven's Ninth. Although that ambitious project never came to fruition, his last three quartets—the G-Major Quartet of 1826 and the quartets in A minor ("Rosamunde") and D minor ("Death and the Maiden"), both written in 1824—were clearly conceived on a symphonic scale.

Program Notes
This performance is part of Chamber Sessions II.