Performance Sunday, March 23, 2014 | 7:30 PM

Artemis Quartet

Zankel Hall
“The Artemis Quartet has always played with vigor, brilliance, and sensitivity. More than that, its performances have had clarity of conception and unfussy directness” (The New York Times). The peerless performers bring their exquisite playing to an exceptional program of quintessential quartets by Beethoven and Brahms, as well as a contemporary work by György Kurtág.


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


  • BRAHMS String Quartet in C Minor, Op. 51, No. 1
  • GYÖRGY KURTÁG Officium breve in memoriam Andreae Szervánszky
  • BEETHOVEN String Quartet in C-sharp Minor, Op. 131

  • Encore:
  • BACH Prelude and Fugue in E Minor from The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book II, BWV 879

Event Duration

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


  • Artemis Quartet

    Vineta Sareika, Violin
    Gregor Sigl, Violin
    Friedemann Weigle, Viola
    Eckart Runge, Cello

    The Berlin-based Artemis Quartet was founded in 1989 in Lübeck. It 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 on Virgin Classics / EMI. Beethoven: Complete String Quartets was awarded the prestigious French Grand Prix de l'Académie Charles Cros.

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

    The Artemis Quartet has had an exclusive recording contract with Virgin Classics / EMI since 2005, and its discography is extensive. The quartet's recordings have been recognized with the prestigious Gramophone Award, as well as the Diapason d'Or and two ECHO Klassik awards.

    A focus on contemporary music is an important part of the Artemis Quartet's work. Composers such as Mauricio Sotelo (2004), Jörg Widmann (2006), and Thomas Larcher (2008) have written pieces for the ensemble. The premiere of a concerto for quartet and orchestra by Daniel Schnyder is planned for 2014.

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

    More Info


Beethoven's String Quartet in C-sharp Minor, Op. 131 (Allegro)
Artemis Quartet
Virgin Classics

At a Glance

JOHANNES BRAHMS  String Quartet in C Minor, Op. 51, No. 1

The mercilessly self-critical Brahms described his C-Minor Quartet as "mean and paltry," but posterity has rendered a different verdict on his masterpiece. The two Op. 51 quartets are dedicated to Theodor Billroth, Brahms's surgeon friend in Vienna and an accomplished amateur violist. Billroth knew better than to take the composer's judgment at face value. "These dedications will keep our names known longer than our best work," he remarked to a fellow dedicatee.

GYÖRGY KURTÁG  Officium breve in memoriam Andreae Szervánszky, Op. 28

As a student in Paris in the late 1950s, Hungarian composer György Kurtág became so fascinated by the music of Anton Webern (whose works were unavailable in Communist Hungary) that he went to the library and copied out by hand virtually the entire output of the Austrian composer. Kurtág's debt to Webern is apparent in the spare, aphoristic style of this richly allusive work, which was first performed on April 22, 1989, in Witten, Germany, by the Auryn Quartet.

LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN  String Quartet in C-sharp Minor, Op. 131

Beethoven considered Op. 131 the best of his 16 string quartets. Although much has been written about the work's unconventional seven-part structure and often abstruse tonal relationships, the robust lyricism and emotional intensity of the music have never failed to pull listeners into its unforgettable sound world. One of the C-sharp-Minor Quartet's greatest admirers was Franz Schubert, who is said to have requested a performance on his deathbed.

Program Notes
This performance is part of Chamber Sessions III.