One of the most exciting Norwegian ensembles of today, the award-winning Vertavo Quartet, is performing Mendelssohn, Brahms and Nørgård at Wigmore Hall, 28 January.
The Vertavo Quartet have firmly established themselves as one of the most exciting ensembles of today. Despite being in their early thirties, the members of the Vertavo Quartet first got together in Oslo in 1984. The Quartet first captured international attention when they won no less than four awards (including the First Prize) at the 2nd Melbourne International Chamber Music Competition in 1995. In the years that followed, they went on to receive several prizes, including the Nordic Chamber Music Prize (1996), the Critics' Prize from the Norwegian press (1996), a nomination for the Nordic Council's Culture Award in 1998 and the Nordea prize in 2003.
The Quartet have appeared in such prestigious music halls as Konzerthaus and Philharmonie Berlin, Konserthus Stockholm, Concertgebouw Amsterdam, and Wigmore Hall London. In addition to performing regularly at many Scandinavian chamber music festivals, they have appeared at the Edinburgh, Bath and Huddersfield Festivals, and Berliner Festspiele.
Highlights for the Vertavo Quartet’s anniversary season include débuts at the Rheingau Musik Festival as well as the Cheltenham and Aldeburgh Festivals, where they will perform a Haydn/Bartok-series together with the Belcea Quartet. They will also return to the Wigmore Hall London and Winterthur and give concerts in Como, Bergamo, Utrecht, Belgrade, Hamburg and Dresden.
Collaboration with fellow musicians plays an integral role in the Vertavo Quartet’s concert life, not least in their own Chamber Music Series in Gamle Logen Oslo. They have worked with such artists as Barbara Hendricks, Håkan Hagegard, Malena Ernman, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Stephen Kovacevich, Leif-Ove Andsnes, Christian Lindberg, Isabelle van Keulen and Michael Collins. They are also the Artistic Directors of the Elverum Music Festival in Norway, which takes place every summer. Their special affinity for contemporary music has led them to give commanding performances of works by Ligeti, Adès, Simpson and Piazzolla, as well as works by contemporary Nordic composers. They co-commissioned Per Nørgård’s 9th Quartet with the Orion Quartet, and this is now firmly established in their repertoire.
The Vertavo Quartet’s recent discography includes quartets by Nielsen, Schumann, Brahms, Grieg and Debussy, all for the Simax Classic Label. Their recording of the Debussy and Grieg quartets received the Diapason d'Or in October 2001, and was highly praised by Gramophone magazine: "Captivating performances which get right to the heart of these intensely emotional works - Not to be missed." Their recording of the complete Bartók Quartets, released earlier this year, has been equally well received, with the BBC Music Magazine selecting it as “Pick of the Month” in May 2002. Future recordings are planned this season with the Simax Classics Label, and a recording of the Mozart and Brahms clarinet quintets with Martin Fröst will be released by BIS Records shortly.
The Vertavo Quartet are dedicated to music education, and frequently give masterclasses throughout the world. In Norway, they are the Quartet in Residence for Hedmark County, where their concert series is supported by a strong educational element, including masterclasses, individual tuition and family concerts. Since 1995, the Vertavo Quartet have been sponsored by Wallenius Wilhelmsen Lines, and they receive financial support from the Norwegian Cultural Council.
Øyvor Volle violin
Berit Cardas violin
Henninge Landaas viola
Bjørg Værnes ‘cello
20th anniversary in 2004
36 Wigmore Street
London W1U 2BP
28th January, 7.30pm