Support for the 125 Commissions Project is provided by members of Carnegie Hall’s Composer Club.
This concert is made possible, in part, by an endowment fund for young artists established by Mr. and Mrs. Anthony B. Evnin and the A.E. Charitable Foundation.
“What seems to be the predominant impulse driving [Beethoven’s] music is man’s yearning for freedom, the unquenchable desire to expand his limits and to learn the truth about himself in this process.”
These words by the Belcea Quartet—from the preface to its recording Beethoven: The Complete String Quartets—could also be described as the ensemble’s artistic creed. These musicians are not confined by traditional boundaries. It is perhaps the very fact of the group’s diverse cultural backgrounds that propels the dynamic and free interpretative style.
Founded at the Royal College of Music in London in 1994, the quartet is based in Great Britain. Yet Romanian violinist Corina Belcea and Polish violist Krzysztof Chorzelski—the two founding members—bring a very different artistic provenance to the ensemble while drawing from the best traditions of string quartet playing from the group’s mentors: the Alban Berg Quartet and Amadeus Quartet. This spectrum of influence is extended by French musicians Axel Schacher and Antoine Lederlin.
The Belcea Quartet has an impressive discography. With EMI Classics, it has recorded the complete string quartets of Britten and Bartók, as well as works by Schubert, Brahms, Mozart, Debussy, Ravel, and Dutilleux, among others. In 2015, the quartet released its highly acclaimed recording of works by Webern, Berg, and Schoenberg to coincide with its 20th anniversary jubilee. In 2016, the Belcea Quartet released a recording of Brahms’s complete string quartets and Piano Quintet—a CD acclaimed by the press and awarded with an ECHO Klassik as well as a Diapason d’Or. An album of music by Shostakovich, including the Third String Quartet and the Piano Quintet featuring Piotr Anderszewski, was released in April 2018.
The Belcea Quartet’s performances of the complete Beethoven string quartets at the Vienna Konzerthaus in 2012 were broadcast by Mezzo TV and released by the EuroArts label in the fall of 2014. The release was accompanied by Jean-Claude Mocik’s documentary of the entire project, Looking for Beethoven.
In the 2018–2019 season, the Belcea Quartet will perform in such venues as Wigmore Hall, Carnegie Hall, Théaˆtre des Champs-Élysées, Konserthuset Stockholm, Alte Oper Frankfurt, and the National Theater and Concert Hall in Taipei.