Endellion Quartet - Visiting Quartet-in-Association

Key details:

Chamber Music
Visiting Quartet-in-Association


Andrew Watkinson violin
Ralph de Souza violin
Gabriel Jackson viola
David Waterman cello

The Endellion String Quartet celebrated its thirtieth anniversary in 2009. The occasion was marked by the release of a boxed set of the complete Beethoven string quartets (Warner Classics); new commissions of Six Quartettini from Robin Holloway and a new piece from Roxanna Panufnik and poet Wendy Cope; involvement in Phil Grabsky’s new documentary film, ‘In Search of Beethoven’; a series of performances of Haydn’s Seven Last Words incorporating the Endellion’s commission of Andrew Motion’s words written especially for this piece, and concerts throughout the UK, and in Europe, China, Japan and Korea. The Endellions continued their Residency at Cambridge University which began in 1992, and they were involved in special celebratory concerts at the University which in 2009 celebrated its Eight Hundredth Anniversary coinciding with the Endellions’ Thirtieth.

More recent and future engagements and projects include concerts in Eire, Spain, Portugal, Italy, The Czech Republic, Mexico, India, USA and other countries; further releases by Warner Classics; DVD’s of the Endellions playing Beethoven; participation in Phil Grabsky’s ‘In Search of Haydn’; and a performance of the premiere of “Towards The Blue” by Thea Musgrave, commissioned by Wigmore Hall for Michael Collins and London Winds to play with the Endellion Quartet.

The Endellion is renowned as one of the finest quartets in the world. Over the years, its schedule has included regular tours of North and South America and concerts in Australasia, the Far East, the Middle East, South Africa and every West European country. Everywhere, the Endellion String Quartet ‘sets the audience ablaze’ (Daily Telegraph) and ‘captivates concertgoers with a remarkable rapport, playing to each other with a sense almost of discovery, communicating to the audience on a level of unusual intimacy’ (Guardian).

In Britain, the Endellion String Quartet has appeared at nearly all of the major series and festivals and is regularly broadcast on BBC radio and television; it has appeared at the Proms, and it has been featured in the week-long programmes ‘Artist of the Week’ and ‘Artists in Focus’. Its presence in London has been marked by several series both at the South Bank and Wigmore Hall, where the Quartet were Artistic Directors of several ‘Quartet Plus’ series. They have worked with guest artists including members of the former Amadeus Quartet, Sir Thomas Allen, Joshua Bell, Michael Collins, Steven Isserlis, Mitsuko Uchida and Tabea Zimmerman. In 1996 the quartet were winners of the Royal Philharmonic Society Award for Best Chamber Ensemble.

Apart from their Cambridge Residency, the Endellions have undertaken three short-term residencies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the USA. From 2001 to 2010 they were Associate Quartet of the RNCM and 2011 saw the start of their position as Visiting Quartet in Association with the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. From 2004 they have had a Spring Residency at the Venue, Leeds.

The Endellions’ 1987 recording for EMI of the complete string chamber music of Britten was selected as Chamber Music Recording of the Year by both the Daily Telegraph and The Guardian, and was the most highly recommended version in Radio 3’s Record Review. Their Haydn Op 54 disc, the first of a series for Virgin Classics, was the only quartet record featured in Radio 3’s Critics’ Choice of Records of the Year. The Endellions have also recorded Mozart, Bartok, Dvorak, Smetana, Foulds, Walton, Bridge, Schubert, Barber, Amy Beach and Tchaikovsky. In 1998 EMI released ‘Arcadiana’, the Endellion Quartet’s commission from Thomas Adès, on a disc that subsequently received the ‘Editor’s Choice’ award in the 1998 Gramophone Awards.

The Endellions’ release of the complete Beethoven quartets and viola quintets (supported by the Stradivari Trust) is notable for including rarely heard works, movements, studies, and fragments for quartet and quintet, as well as Beethoven’s complete early version of Op 18 no 1 and his remarkable quartet arrangement of his piano sonata Op 14 no 1. The quartet texts used in these recordings have been prepared by the notable Beethoven scholar and editor, Jonathan Del Mar, in collaboration with the Endellion Quartet. These texts are gradually being published by Barenreiter, and include striking restorations of Beethoven’s original notes, harmonies, rhythms, slurrings, articulations, and expression marks, using newly available sources. “… these superb musicians respond to the dark undertow so characteristic of Beethoven's quartets as much as the gentle lyricism which invariably breaks through. The rest of this cycle is a mouth-watering prospect.” The Observer (on Beethoven String Quartets Vol.2)  

The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians (2000) concludes that "The Endellion is arguably the finest quartet in Britain, playing with poise, true intonation, excellent balance and a beautiful tone. In music of the Viennese Classical composers it has few challengers but it has won praise in a wide repertory, its Beethoven and Bartók cycles being especially admired."