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Danish String Quartet
Swiss-born American pianist Gilles Vonsattel is celebrated for his versatility and originality. He has been honored with an Avery Fisher Career Grant, the 2016 Andrew Wolf Chamber Music Award, and top prizes in the Naumburg and Geneva competitions, and has performed alongside world-renowned orchestras like the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal, San Francisco Symphony, Munich Philharmonic, Detroit Symphony, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and Philharmonisches Staatsorchester Hamburg. He has performed recitals and chamber music at venues including Ravinia, Tokyo’s Musashino Hall, Wigmore Hall, the Lucerne Festival, Bravo! Vail, Chamber Music Northwest, the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, and Music@Menlo. An advocate of contemporary music, he has premiered compositions in the United States and Europe, collaborating closely with composers Jörg Widmann, Heinz Holliger, Anthony Cheung, and George Benjamin. Recent milestones in his career encompass a performance of Carlos Chávez’s Piano Concerto at Carnegie Hall’s Stern Auditorium with The Orchestra Now, a debut at Mostly Mozart, and a critically acclaimed recording of Richard Strauss and Kurt Leimer’s music with the Bern Symphony Orchestra and Mario Venzago for Schweizer Fonogramm. An alum of CMS’s Bowers Program, he earned his bachelor’s degree in political science and economics from Columbia University and a master’s degree from the Juilliard School. Vonsattel is Professor of Piano at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and is on the faculty at Bard College Conservatory of Music.
The Danish String Quartet celebrates its 20th Anniversary in 2022–23, and the GRAMMY®-nominated quartet continues to assert its preeminence among the world’s finest string quartets. Formed when they were in their teens, they are renowned for impeccable musicianship, sophisticated artistry, exquisite clarity of ensemble, and, above all, an unmatched ability to play as one. Performances are characterized by a rare musical spontaneity, and they exude a palpable joy in music-making that has made them one of today’s most highly acclaimed and in-demand classical quartets, performing in sold-out concert halls around the world.
This season, the Danish String Quartet continues its DOPPELGÄNGER series, an ambitious four-year international commissioning project that pairs world premieres with late major chamber works by Schubert. This season’s new work, by Anna Thorvaldsdottir, premieres in April 2023. DOPPELGÄNGER is commissioned by the Danish String Quartet with the support of Carnegie Hall, Cal Performances, UC Santa Barbara Arts & Lectures, Vancouver Recital Society, Flagey in Brussels, and Muziekgebouw in Amsterdam. The Quartet performs 28 concerts in North America this season over the course of three separate tours, and they are Artist in Residence at London’s Wigmore Hall.
Their most recent recording project is PRISM, a series of five discs on ECM New Series that explores the symbiotic musical and contextual relationships between Bach fugues, Beethoven string quartets, and works by later composers. The most recent release is PRISM IV (2022), which was an Editor’s Choice in Limelight magazine. Slated for release on ECM in 2023 are a disc of traditional Scandinavian folk music and PRISM V.
The Quartet takes an active role in reaching new audiences through special projects. In 2007, they established the DSQ Festival, which takes place in intimate and informal settings in Copenhagen. In 2016, they inaugurated a concert series, Series of Four, in which they both perform and invite colleagues to appear.
They are the recipients of many awards and prestigious appointments, including Musical America’s 2020 Ensemble of the Year and, in 2016, the Borletti-Buitoni Trust. The Quartet was named in 2013 as BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artists and appointed to The Bowers Program (formerly CMS Two). They were awarded the 2010 NORDMETALL-Ensemble Prize at the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Festival in Germany, and in 2011, they received the Carl Nielsen Prize, the highest cultural honor in Denmark.
Violinists Frederik Øland and Rune Tonsgaard Sørenson and violist Asbjørn Nørgaard met as children at a music summer camp where they played soccer and made music together. As teenagers, they began the study of classical chamber music and were mentored by Tim Frederiksen of Copenhagen’s Royal Danish Academy of Music. In 2008, the three Danes were joined by Norwegian cellist Fredrik Schøyen Sjölin.
Recorded live in the Daniel and Joanna S. Rose Studio on November 13, 2014.
Video directed by Tristan Cook.