With its unique approach to music making, the Kuss Quartet ranks among the world's most renowned ensembles. Since its founding in 2002 by violinists Jana Kuss and Oliver Wille, the ensemble has developed its passion for experimentation, revealing new musical perspectives and attracting a wide-ranging audience.
The ensemble's classical lounge series, Kuss Plus, has made its mark on the Berlin music scene. The quartet is also known for boundary-breaking concerts that combine compositions for quartet with works of literature. Regular collaborations between the quartet and renowned actor Udo Samel have led to invitations to perform at festivals and concert halls in Germany and Austria, with programs such as Ohne Grund nicht denken (Brecht/Berg/ Beethoven), Traumbilder (Heine/Mendelssohn/Schumann), and Das Rauschen der Zeit (Mandelstam/Stravinsky/Tchaikovsky).
In 2002, the Kuss Quartet was awarded first prize in the Borciani competition by the German Music Council. The following year, it won the Borletti-Buitoni Award and was selected for the European Concert Hall Organization's Rising Stars program.
The quartet's international engagements have included performances at Carnegie Hall, Amsterdam's Concertgebouw, London's Wigmore Hall, and Berlin's Philharmonie, as well as at major festivals that include the Schubertiade Schwarzenberg, Beethovenfest Bonn, Rheingau Musik Festival, and the Edinburgh and Salzburg festivals. In addition, the ensemble has toured throughout the US, Australia, South America, and Japan.
The Kuss Quartet inspires the next generation of chamber musicians in numerous international master classes. Violist William Coleman and violinist Oliver Wille hold professorships at music colleges in Salzburg, Hannover, and Birmingham.
The quartet's repertoire ranges from music of the Renaissance to contemporary compositions by Helmut Lachenmann and György Kurtág. As a result of a grant from the state of Lower Saxony, over the next four years the quartet will commission new works by composers who include Aribert Reimann and Enno Poppe.
Following the success of the quartet's album Bridges (Sony Classical), English label Onyx Classics released the highly acclaimed concept CD Thème Russe in January 2012, with works and transcriptions by composers who included Tchaikovsky, Stravinsky, and Schnittke. In November 2013, a third disc was released by Onyx Classics, featuring Schubert's String Quintet with cellist Miklós Perényi. Three years later, the label released a new disc with Schoenberg's Second String Quartet, Brahms's Third String Quartet, and Brahms lieder for soprano and string quartet arranged especially for the ensemble with Mojca Erdmann. The Kuss Quartet has also collaborated with such artists as Avi Avital, Paul Meyer, and Pierre-Laurent Aimard, as well as slam poet Bas Böttcher.