The younger members of the Berliner Philharmoniker also uphold the
Philharmoniker tradition of becoming involved in chamber music alongside
their orchestral activities. In the 2012/2013 season, the four
musicians Philipp Bohnen and Marlene Ito (violin), Martin von der Nahmer
(viola), and Rachel Helleur (cello) founded the Varian Fry Quartet,
named after the American journalist and freedom fighter Varian Fry, to
devote themselves intensively to the repertoire of the string quartet.
The foundations of this young ensemble had already been laid
during the 2007/2008 season when three of the four musicians were
playing quartets together while students of the Berliner
Philharmoniker’s Orchestra Academy. The joy of making music together in
the supreme discipline of chamber music, and the lessons they had at
that time with the late Jan Diesselhorst, cellist with the Berliner
Philharmoniker and the Philharmonia Quartet, left a lasting impression
and a passionate desire to make music in a string quartet of their own.
In April 2013, the time had come: The Varian Fry Quartet gave its first
public concert at the Easter Festival in Baden-Baden – the start of an
exciting chamber music journey.