Biennale of the Berliner Philharmoniker

The Quatuor Diotima plays Ligeti and Janáček

Quatuor Diotima (photo: Lyodoh Kaneko)

Love and its dark depths inspired Leoš Janáček to write two magnificent string quartets: in the first, he vividly depicts a marriage drama based on Tolstoy’s novella The Kreutzer Sonata, in the second he explores his own passion for a much younger woman. The Quatuor Diotima, dedicated to newer and contemporary music, will present Janáček’s works as part of our Biennale, as well as two string quartets by György Ligeti, the 100th anniversary of whose birth the festival commemorates. His quartets impress us with a variety of sound textures that are typical of Ligeti’s style.

Quatuor Diotima

Yun-Peng Zhao violin

Léo Marillier violin

Franck Chevalier viola

Pierre Morlet cello

Leoš Janáček

String Quartet No. 1 “Kreutzer Sonata”

György Ligeti

String Quartet No. 2

György Ligeti

String Quartet No. 1 "Métamorphoses Nocturnes"

Leoš Janáček

String Quartet No. 2 Intimate Letters

Biennale packages

Put together your own individual Biennale package with three (10% discount) or five events (15% discount). You can choose from a total of twelve concert programmes of the Berliner Philharmoniker Foundation. The Biennale packages are available exclusively online.

3 concerts / 10 % discount

5 concerts / 15 % discount

Dates and Tickets


Quatuor Diotima

From the outset, it played on the great international stages such as the Auditorium du Louvre, the Cité de la Musique and the Berlin Philharmonie, and has already given guest performances in Japan, the USA, Central and South America, China and Korea: the Quatuor Diotima, which was founded in 1996 by prize-winners of the Conservatoire national supérieur de musique et de danse de Paris and is today one of the world’s leading string quartets. The name with which the formation pays tribute to Luigi Nono’s string quartet Fragmente – Stille, An Diotima, is a statement of its programme and refers to the four musicians’ strong commitment to musical Modernism. “A more competent ensemble than Quatuor Diotima can hardly be imagined for concerts of contemporary music for string quartet”, the Hamburger Abendblatt wrote. It continued: “Perfect is an inadequate word to describe the quality of their interplay”. It is no wonder that Quatuor Diotima regularly commissions works from major composers of our time, including Toshio Hosokawa, Miroslav Srnka, Mauro Lanza, Gérard Pesson, Rebecca Saunders and Tristan Murail. But “Diotima” also hints at German Romanticism: Friedrich Hölderlin gave the love of his life this very name in his novel Hyperion. The quartet also does justice to this point of reference when it brings the Classical and Romantic string quartet repertoire to life with energy and a subtle balance of colours.

Focus: Ligeti

A portrait of a humorous and curious composer