Danish String Quartet


Danish String Quartet Photo credit: Caroline Bittencourt

Embodying the quintessential elements of a chamber music ensemble of the highest caliber, the Danish String Quartet has established a reputation for its integrated sound and technical and interpretive talents matched by an infectious joy for music-making and “rampaging energy” (The New Yorker). Since making their debut in 2002 at the Copenhagen Festival, the musical friends have demonstrated a passion for Scandinavian composers, who they frequently incorporate into adventurous contemporary programs, while also giving skilled and profound interpretations of the classical masters. The New York Times selected the quartet’s concerts as highlights of 2012 and 2015, praising “one of the most powerful renditions of Beethoven’s Opus 132 String Quartet that I’ve heard live or on a recording,” and “the adventurous young members of the Danish String Quartet play almost everything excitingly.”

The Danish String Quartet’s expansive 2017-18 North American season includes more than 30 performances across 17 states. The ensemble gives debut performances at numerous renowned venues, such as the Bravo! Vail and Ravinia summer festivals, Cleveland Chamber Music Society, Santa Fe Pro Musica, Oregon Bach Festival, and San Francisco Performances, among others. Further season highlights include returns to the Mostly Mozart Festival, UW World Series at Meany Hall in Seattle, The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and the Philadelphia and Buffalo chamber music societies. This season, the quartet features an array of diverse repertoire that includes both giants of the string quartet canon—Bartók, Beethoven, Brahms, Haydn, and Mozart—and lesser-performed works by Sibelius, Schnittke, and Jörg Widmann.

The quartet’s recent debut recording on ECM Records features works of Danish composers Hans Abrahamsen and Per Nørgård and English composer Thomas Adés and received five stars from The Guardian, praised as “an exacting program requiring grace, grit and clarity and the Danish players sound terrific...It’s a sophisticated performance.” The recording debuted at number 16 on the Billboard Classical Chart and continues to earn international acclaim. In addition to its commitment to highlighting Scandinavian composers, the Danish String Quartet derives great pleasure from traditional Nordic folk music. Its next album will be released in September 2017.

In 2009 the Danish String Quartet won First Prize in the 11th London International String Quartet Competition, as well as four additional prizes from the same jury. This competition is now called the Wigmore Hall International String Quartet Competition and the quartet has performed at the famed hall on many occasions. The ensemble received the 2010 NORDMETALL-Ensemble Prize at the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Festival in Germany and, in 2011, won the prestigious Carl Nielsen Prize. The Danish String Quartet received the 2016 Borletti Buitoni Trust provided to support outstanding young artists in their international endeavors, joining a small, illustrious roster of past recipients.