Spain and Latin America
“Simply astounding, in the freshness, intensity, assurance, and seeming spontaneity of their playing” BBC Music Magazine
Sara Bitlloch, Donald Grant – Violins
Simone van der Giessen – Viola
Marie Bitlloch – Cello
The Elias String Quartet’s ability to communicate musical meaning has led to an international following and regular tours across Europe and the US. Their innovative Beethoven Project, sharing their research for the complete Beethoven string quartets online, demonstrates their musical curiosity and ability to reach new audiences.
They frequently perform in the world’s most prestigious chamber venues, including New York’s Carnegie Hall, Washington Library of Congress, Vienna Musikverein, Berlin Konzerthaus, and Amsterdam Concertgebouw. They recently returned to the US for a complete Beethoven quartet cycle and will tour the US and Canada again in 2023.
This 23/24 season, the Quartet will make their return to Wigmore Hall, which has been a second home to the players since their breakthrough as BBC Radio 3’s New Generation Artists in 2009. As well as performing the complete Beethoven cycle there, they presented a Schumann series in 2018 and will return for several concerts this season. They are also regulars at prestigious festivals around the world and this season’s visits include Schubertiade, Lake District Summer Music Festival, and Bath Mozartfest.
As articulate representatives for classical music, they are often invited to perform and discuss music on radio and have appeared on the BBC TV’s Newsnight programme. They are committed to coaching the next generation of chamber musicians, teaching at the Royal Northern College of Music, where they themselves met and formed in 1998. They also spent a year studying at the Hochschule in Cologne with the Alban Berg quartet. Other mentors in the Quartet’s studies include Peter Cropper, Hugh Maguire, György Kurtág, Gábor Takács- Nagy, Henri Dutilleux and Rainer Schmidt.
They are keen advocates of contemporary music and have commissioned many works by composers such as Emily Howard, Sally Beamish, Colin Matthews, Matthew Hindson and Timo Andres. They also enjoy collaborations with chamber music partners such as Leon Fleisher, Robert Plane, Michael Collins, Ralph Kirshbaum, Ann Murray, Joan Rogers and Mark Padmore, and the Endellion, Jerusalem and Vertavo quartets.
The Elias String Quartet’s discography includes the Schumann and Dvořák piano quintets with Jonathan Biss (Onyx), French harp music with Sandrine Chatron (Ambroisie), Alexander Goehr’s Piano Quintet with Daniel Becker (Meridian), Britten quartets (Sonimage), Mendelssohn (ASV Gold) and the complete Beethoven quartets (Wigmore Hall Live).