Performance Friday, February 21, 2014 | 7:30 PM

Quatuor Ebène

Zankel Hall
Hailed as "one of the standout quartets of a new generation" (The New York Times), the Quatuor Ebène is a collection of technically accomplished and musically engaging musicians who can play traditional repertoire with complete command while adding their own contemporary fair. The innovative French foursome returns to Carnegie Hall, bringing their fresh approach to classic works by Haydn, Schumann, and Mendelssohn.


  • Quatuor Ebène
    ·· Pierre Colombet, Violin
    ·· Gabriel Le Magadure, Violin
    ·· Mathieu Herzog, Viola
    ·· Raphaël Merlin, Cello


  • HAYDN String Quartet in F Minor, Op. 20, No. 5
  • SCHUMANN String Quartet in A Major, Op. 41, No. 3
  • MENDELSSOHN String Quartet in F Minor, Op. 80

  • Encore:
  • GARNER "Misty" (arr. Quatuor Ebène)

Event Duration

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


  • Quatuor Ebène

    From a promising young ensemble, Quatuor Ebène has grown to become one of today's foremost quartets on the international scene.

    After its dramatic 2004 triumph at the prestigious ARD International Music Competition in Munich, where the ensemble was also awarded five additional special prizes, Quatuor Ebène went on to win the Forberg-Schneider Foundation's Belmont Prize in 2005. It has since remained close to the foundation, which has very generously arranged to have the quartet outfitted with several unique Italian instruments, on loan from private owners.

    The year 2009 marked the beginning of a fruitful collaboration with the Virgin Classics label. The quartet's Debussy, Ravel, and Fauré album was honored with several prizes, including the Chamber Music Recording of the Year ECHO Klassik award and the Choc du Monde de la Musique award, in addition to being named Recording of the Year by Gramophone. A CD featuring music by Brahms with pianist Akiko Yamamoto demonstrated the ease with which the quartet moves between styles.

    A jazz and world music album, entitled Fiction, was released by the quartet in fall of 2010 and quickly climbed the charts, earning the ensemble another ECHO Klassik award. At the beginning of the 2011-2012 season, Virgin Classics released a live DVD of Fiction, recorded at Folies Bergère in Paris. This was followed by a CD of Mozart's K. 421 and K. 465 string quartets and the Divertimento K. 138, for which the quartet received yet another ECHO Klassik in 2012. Felix and Fanny-featuring Mendelssohn's Op. 13 and Op. 80 string quartets, as well as the only string quartet composed by his sister Fanny-was released in early 2013. 

    More Info


Haydn's String Quartet in G Major, Op. 76, No. 1 (Allegro ma non troppo)
Ebène Quartet

At a Glance

JOSEPH HAYDN  String Quartet in F Minor, Op. 20, No. 5

Haydn's six Op. 20 string quartets dazzled audiences in the 1770s with their prodigal display of formal and melodic invention. In making the four players more or less equal partners, Haydn distanced himself from the top-heavy part-writing that characterized the instrumental chamber music of the Rococo period. Although it is designated a divertimento a quattro on the autograph manuscript, the F-Minor Quartet marks a sharp departure from the old-style string ensembles.

ROBERT SCHUMANN  String Quartet in A Major, Op. 41, No. 3

Schumann's three Op. 41 quartets of 1842 marked his return to chamber-music composition after a hiatus of several years. Like its two companions, the A-Major Quartet reflects the composer's deep immersion in the chamber music of Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven, as well as a departure from the literary models that had inspired much of his earlier work.

FELIX MENDELSSOHN  String Quartet in F Minor, Op. 80

Unlike many of his contemporaries, Mendelssohn seldom used music as a vehicle for expressing personal 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 in the form of the powerful F-Minor Quartet, his last and arguably greatest piece of chamber music. That fall, Mendelssohn played the work on the piano for his friend Ignaz Moscheles, who remarked that "the passionate character of the entire piece seems to me to be consistent with his deeply disturbed frame of mind."

Program Notes


The Ebène Quartet on its Creation

The Ebène Quartet Discusses Musical Influences

The Ebène Quartet in Praise of Chamber Music

This performance is part of Chamber Sessions II.