Simon Roturier (photo: Sebastian Hänel)

Chamber Music

Composing in the Face of Death

As paradoxical as it may seem, the Czech composer Viktor Ullmann, who was deported to Theresienstadt by the Nazis because of his Jewish origins, experienced a tremendous surge of creativity in the camp. He also composed his expressive Third String Quartet there. Like his countryman, Erwin Schulhoff, Ullmann did not survive his internment. Schulhoff’s Five Pieces for String Quartet are saucy dances from happy days. Ullmann and Schulhoff grew up in the Austro-Hapsburgian musical tradition influenced by Franz Schubert, whose celebrated string quartet “Death and the Maiden” will also be heard.

Simon Roturier violin

Angelo de Leo violin

Micha Afkham viola

Mikayel Hakhnazaryan cello

Viktor Ullmann

String Quartet No. 3, op. 46

Erwin Schulhoff

5 Pieces for string quartet

Franz Schubert

String Quartet No. 14 in D minor, D 810 ‟Death and the Maiden”

Catch-up date of 22 March 2022

Dates and Tickets


Simon Roturier

Simon Roturier was born in Concarneau, France, a small city on the coast of Brittany. He began playing the violin at the age of seven and decided to make music his career already as a 14-year-old. He first studied with Boris Garlitsky and Itamar Golan at the Paris Conservatory, then later with Vladimir Nemtanu at the Conservatory in Lyon. He also participated in master classes with Ulf Hölscher, David Grimal and Ida Händel. He won the audience prize at the David Oistrakh Violin Competition in 2004, as well as awards at other competitions. He was a member of the Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra under Claudio Abbado in 2006, and a scholar at the Karajan Academy of the Berliner Philharmoniker from 2007 to 2009. He continued his study with Antje Weithaas at the Hanns Eisler School of Music and the Artemis Quartet at the University of the Arts in Berlin. Simon Roturier is first violinist of the Noga Quartet, which was founded in 2009, and has been a member of the second violin section of the Berliner Philharmoniker since 2011.

Angelo de Leo

Angelo de Leo came to his instrument through his older brother, who is also a violinist. The native of Böblingen had his first lessons at the age of six. Five years later he began his studies with Christian Sikorski as a junior student at the State University of Music and the Performing Arts in Stuttgart. He played in the Bregaglia Quartet for several years, then was first violinist of the DeLeo Quartet, which he founded with other junior students at the Stuttgart University of Music. He studied with Thomas Brandis in Lübeck from 2011, then continued his training in Berlin in 2015 with Antje Weithaas and at the Karajan Academy of the Berliner Philharmoniker. After winning awards at several international competitions, he began an active concert career as a soloist and chamber musician, appearing with such ensembles as the Südwestdeutsche Philharmonie Konstanz and the Philharmonic Orchestras in Freiburg and Lübeck. He has been a member of the second violin section of the Berliner Philharmoniker since 2018.

Micha Afkham

Micha Afkham, born in Freiburg im Breisgau, had his first violin lessons at the age of five. He switched to the viola at 16 and began studying with Hatto Beyerle at the Hanover University of Music, Drama and Media, then continued his studies with Tabea Zimmermann at the Hanns Eisler School of Music in Berlin from 1999. Numerous master classes with musicians such as Yuri Bashmet, Gidon Kremer, Wolfram Christ, Serge Collot and Herman Krebbers supplemented his artistic training. Micha Afkham also received grants from the Villa Musica in Mainz, the Richard Wagner Society of Hanover and the German Foundation of Musical Life in Hamburg. He became a scholar at the Karajan Academy of the Berliner Philharmoniker in 2003 and joined the viola section of the orchestra the following year. A prizewinner at several international competitions, he appears regularly as a soloist and chamber musician in Germany and abroad; he is a member of the Scharoun Ensemble Berlin and the Berlin Piano Quartet. Micha Afkham’s chamber music partners include Isabelle Faust, Tabea Zimmermann, Leonidas Kavakos, Emmanuel Pahud, Boris Pergamenschikow, András Schiff, Gidon Kremer and the Beaux Arts Trio.

Mikayel Hakhnazaryan

Soloist, chamber musician and orchestra member – Mikayel Hakhnazaryan impresses audiences with his artistic range. In the music world, the cellist is known above all as a member of the Kuss Quartet, with which he appears throughout the world. In addition, he has been principal cellist of the Munich Chamber Orchestra since 2014 and is a chamber music partner of Miklós Perényi, Mischa Maisky and Leif Ove Andsnes. He has appeared as a soloist with ensembles including the Tibor Varga Chamber Orchestra and the Armenian Philharmonic Orchestra. Mikayel Hakhnazaryan comes from a family of Armenian musicians and began his studies at the conservatory in his native country. He then went to Switzerland, where he continued his training with Marcio Carneiro at the Tibor Varga Music Academy in Sion and with Ivan Monighetti at the Academy of Music in Basel. The musician has been deeply inspired by his long-standing work and friendship with cellist Steven Isserlis. Mikayel Hakhnazaryan, who also appears regularly as a substitute in orchestral concerts and with various chamber music ensembles of the Berliner Philharmoniker, plays an instrument from 1735 made by Andrea Castagneri.

Simon Roturier (photo: Sebastian Hänel)