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Elias String Quartet Plays Haydn, Kurtág & Beethoven (March 7)

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Elias String Quartet
Elias String Quartet

This Friday evening the Coolidge Auditorium will be at the helm of the Elias String Quartet, one of the leading British string quartets on the international circuit. Learn more about the concert repertoire via the program notes available here.

Event Listing
Friday, March 7, 2014 – 8:00pm
Coolidge Auditorium

HAYDN | String Quartet in F major, op. 77, no. 2, Hob. III: 82 (1799)
KURTÁG | Officium breve in memoriam Andreæ Szervánsky, op. 28 (1988-1989)
BEETHOVEN | String Quartet in E minor, op. 59, no. 2 (“Razumovsky”) (1806)

Pre-Concert Presentation – Whittall Pavilion, 6:30pm (no tickets required)
Members of the Elias String Quartet discuss the evening’s concert with Nicholas Alexander Brown.

Advanced tickets are sold out. RUSH tickets will be available at the door beginning at 6:00pm


  • Haydn and Beethoven shared a patron, Prince Franz Joseph Maximilian von Lobkowitz. Both Beethoven’s op. 18 quartets and Haydn’s op. 77 quartets were composed for him around the same time.
  • György Kurtág and his wife Márta performed at the Library in 2009, during their first trip to the United States. Their concert commemorated Bartók’s performance in the Coolidge Auditorium with Szigeti (April 13, 1940). Kurtág was commissioned by the Library of Congress for a new work, Hommage à Bartók (2008).
  • Beethoven’s op. 59, no. 2 quartet was commissioned by Count Andrey Kirollovich Razumovsky, who was Russia’s Ambassador in Vienna during the turn of the nineteenth century. To please his patron Beethoven included a Russian folk tune in the third movement.

REMEMBER! – Please arrive no later than 7:30pm in order to avoid delays with clearing security.

About the Artists
The Elias String Quartet is named after Mendelssohn’s oratorio, Elijah (Elias is the German translation and original title), and has quickly established itself as one of the most intense and vibrant quartets of its generation. The quartet performs around the world, collaborating with many different artists. The Elias was formed in 1998 at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester where they worked closely with the late Dr. Christopher Rowland. They also spent a year studying at the Hochschule in Cologne with the Alban Berg quartet. Other mentors in the quartet’s studies include Hugh Maguire, György Kurtág, Gábor Takács-Nagy, Henri Dutilleux and Rainer Schmidt.

The Elias String Quartet made its North American debut in March 2012 to great critical acclaim. In addition to a sold-out concert at Carnegie Hall, they were praised in The Washington Post for their “shimmering beauty,” and The Philadelphia Inquirer proclaimed, “few quartets at any stage of their evolution have this much personality.” Their concerts in Philadelphia and Washington, DC were with pianist Jonathan Biss; they return to North America for concerts both with and without Mr. Biss in March 2013.

The quartet has been chosen to participate in BBC Radio 3’s prestigious New Generation Artists scheme, and received a 2010 Borletti-Buitoni Trust Award. With the support of the Borletti-Buitoni Trust, the Elias is now immersed in their Beethoven Project, which encompasses learning and performing all Beethoven string quartets. Performances of the cycle began during the 2012-2013 season and continues throughout the current season in Great Britain. The quartet is documenting its journey on a dedicated website: The Elias has performed alongside artists such as Michael Collins, Jonathan Biss, Simon Crawford-Phillips, Ralph Kirshbaum, Alice Neary, Ann Murray, Joan Rogers, Mark Padmore, Roger Vignoles, Michel Dalberto, Peter Cropper, Bernard Gregor-Smith, Ettore Causa, Timothy Boulton, Robin Ireland, Adrian Brendel, Anthony Marwood, and with the Endellion, Jerusalem and Vertavo Quartets.

The Elias received second prize and the Sidney Griller prize at the 9th London International String Quartet Competition in 2003 (as the Johnston String Quartet), and was a finalist in the Paolo Borciani Competition in 2005. For four years the Elias was resident string quartet at Sheffield’s “Music in the Round,” as part of Ensemble 360. Ensemble 360 has released discs of music by Mozart, Beethoven and Spohr with Sanctuary Classics and Nimbus. The Elias most recently recorded the piano quintets of Schumann and Dvořák with pianist Jonathan Biss, available on the Onyx label. A recording of Haydn and Schumann quartets was released in Spring 2012 on the Wigmore Live label. The quartet’s previous release on that label, a disc of Mendelssohn, Mozart and Schubert, received the BBC Music Magazine Newcomer Award in April 2010. A debut recording of Mendelssohn quartets for Sanctuary Classics also received wide acclaim, and their performance of the op. 80 quartet was chosen as best recording on BBC Radio 3’s Building a Library series in September 2009. The Elias also released a disc of French harp music with harpist Sandrine Chatron for the French label Ambroisie, and Goehr’s Piano Quintet with Daniel Becker for Meridian Records. A recording of Britten quartets was released by Sonimage.


  1. I really love this kind of performance, because it can play songs from Beethoven to the classic good and be heard.

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