Performance Friday, November 7, 2014 | 7:30 PM

Apollon Musagète Quartet

Weill Recital Hall
A fascinating variety of quartet styles from Central and Eastern Europe are featured. Commissioned by Vienna’s Hellmesberger Quartet, Dvořák set aside his Czech nationalism in his String Quartet in C Major, a work looking back to the quartets of the Viennese school. Shostakovich’s String Quartet No. 4 opens in pastoral calm, but grows more intense as it explores Jewish themes—a potentially lethal path in the time of Stalin’s Jewish purges. Szymanowski’s String Quartet No. 2, with its wide spectrum of color and expression, is one of the Polish master’s finest works.

Part of Salon Encores.


  • Apollon Musagète Quartet
    ·· Pawel Zalejski, Violin
    ·· Bartosz Zachlod, Violin
    ·· Piotr Szumiel, Viola
    ·· Piotr Skweres, Cello


  • DVOŘÁK String Quartet No. 11 in C Major, Op. 61
  • SZYMANOWSKI String Quartet No. 2
  • SHOSTAKOVICH String Quartet No. 4 in D Major

  • Encore:
  • STRAVINSKY Tango for String Quartet (arr. Wolfgang Birtel)

Event Duration

The printed program will last approximately two hours, including one 20-minute intermission.


  • Apollon Musagète Quartet

    Winner of first prize and several other awards at the ARD International Music Competition in Munich in 2008, the Apollon Musagète Quartet soon became a frequent feature of the European music scene, captivating the public and the press alike with its thrilling performances. The quartet made its debut at Berlin's Philharmonie in 2010. During the same season, it was nominated for the Rising Stars cycle by both the Konzerthaus and the Musikverein in Vienna, and had resounding successes at leading concert halls, including the Megaron in Athens, Kölner Philharmonie, Cité de la musique in Paris, Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels, Stockholm Concert Hall, and Amsterdam's Concertgebouw, as well as in Luxembourg, Vienna, and Barcelona. The quartet was named a BBC New Generation Artist in 2012-2013, followed by extensive touring of the UK and recordings for the BBC. Recently, the quartet received the 2014 Borletti-Buitoni Trust Award.

    Highlights of the Apollon Musagète Quartet's 2014-2015 season include returns to London's Wigmore Hall, Musée du Louvre in Paris, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, and deSingel in Antwerp. Festivals such as the Brighton Festival, Warsaw's Chopin International Music Festival, Mozartfest Würzburg, and the Vinterfest in Sweden also welcome the quartet. In January 2015, the quartet embarks on a tour of Switzerland with recitals in Lucerne, Geneva, and Fribourg. Recent engagements have included appearances in Izmir and Istanbul, as well as the opening concert at the European Krzysztof Penderecki Centre for Music in the Polish town of Lusławice.

    The Apollon Musagète Quartet collaborates regularly with renowned musicians such as Jörg Widmann, Ewa Kupiec, and Martin Fröst. It has also taken part in chamber music cycles at Les Grand Interprètes in Geneva, Esterházy String Quartet Festival, La Folle Journée in Nantes, and the Alte Oper in Frankfurt.

    The quartet places great importance on collaborations with living composers. In addition to the traditional repertoire for string quartet, the Apollon Musagète Quartet has had a number of works dedicated to it, often on the theme of the member's spiritual mentor, Apollo. The quartet also often includes its own original compositions, Multitude for String Quartet and A Multitude of Shades, in its programs.

    The quartet's debut CD was released in 2010 on Oehms Classics and received the CD of the Month Award from Vienna's Radio Stephansdom and the ORF Pasticcio Award. The quartet has also recorded Bohuslav Martinů's Concerto for String Quartet in collaboration with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, as well as works by Witold Lutosławski, Krzysztof Penderecki, and Henryk Górecki for Decca Classics.

    More Info


Brahms's Quartet in A Minor, Op. 51 (Allegro non assai)
Apollon Musagáte Quartet;

At a Glance

ANTONÍN DVOŘÁK  String Quartet No. 11 in C Major, Op. 61

The C-Major Quartet of 1881 marked a turning point in Dvořák’s artistic development. With his international career booming and his works being championed by a prominent German publisher, the Czech composer set out to overcome his reputation as a musical nationalist in the mold of Bedřich Smetana and cultivate a more sophisticated, cosmopolitan profile. As a result, the C-Major Quartet is short on Slavonic character but long on compositional mastery.   

KAROL SZYMANOWSKI  String Quartet No. 2, Op. 56

Szymanowski, widely considered the most significant Polish composer since Chopin, was hoping to cash in when he wrote his Second String Quartet in 1927 and submitted it to a contest sponsored by the Musical Fund Society of Philadelphia. Although he failed to take home a prize, the quartet quickly won favor with audiences and performers alike. Among Szymanowski’s last major works, it shows the influence of Leoš Janáček and Béla Bartók in its terse motivic construction.

DMITRI SHOSTAKOVICH  String Quartet No. 4 in D Major, Op. 83

Like most of Shostakovich’s works, the Jewish-flavored D-Major Quartet has a political subtext: It was written in 1949, shortly after Stalin rescinded an official ban on many of the composer’s works and dispatched him to New York to represent the Soviet regime at a Communist-inspired conference on world peace. Even so, Shostakovich was taking no chances; he refused to allow the Fourth Quartet to be performed in public until after the dictator’s death in 1953.

Program Notes
This performance is part of Quartets Plus.

Part of