The chamber music series Quartet offers much more than only the “classic” string quartet, as is shown in the first two events of the series: the Gililov Quartet Berlin is one of the few ensembles to have devoted itself to the rare concert hall genre of the piano quartet. The combination of piano, violin, viola and cello provides the artists with undreamed of tonal possibilities: they can perform with the intimacy of a string quartet, the virtuosity of a piano trio, or the symphonic range of a small orchestra. With Schubert’s Adagio e Rondo concertante and piano quartets by Richard Strauss and Fauré, the Gililov Quartet, formerly the Philharmonisches Klavierquartett Berlin which was founded in 1985, presents the versatility of the genre.

From Classical to Latin American

The Simón Bolívar String Quartet, whose members are section leaders of the Venezuelan Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra, also breaks the boundaries of the string quartet genre in its Philharmonic debut concert. Edicson Ruiz, double bass player with the Berliner Philharmoniker, joins the ensemble to enable it to perform quartets and quintets with different instrumental line-ups. The programme consists of an unusual mixture of styles: In addition to Classical and Romantic works by Franz Anton Hoffmeister and Johannes Brahms, there are also the Latin rhythms of Alberto Ginastera, Juan Bautista Plaza and Aldemaro Romero. The French Quatuor Ebène, winner of the prestigious ARD International Music Competition, also makes its debut in Berliner Philharmoniker Foundation concerts. As a result of their ability to move between different styles, their enjoyable crossing-over between classical, jazz and pop, the four musicians like to call themselves the “boy band” of the string quartet scene. However, in Berlin they will focus on more Classical works with pieces by Mozart, Bartók and Schubert.

Passionate chamber musicians

Not a “newcomer”, but one of the pillars of Philharmonic chamber music, is the Philharmonia Quartet Berlin. For nearly 30 years, its members – all of them musicians of the Berliner Philharmoniker – have devoted themselves to the fine art of the string quartet. The hallmark of the ensemble is a homogeneous and simultaneously nuanced sound, with a fondness in their programmes for combining standard works of the repertoire with rarely performed compositions. On this occasion, the group juxtaposes Haydn’s quartet with string quartets by Verdi and Ravel. The Arcanto Quartet brings together four string players who are all highly successful as soloists: Antje Weithaas, Daniel Sepec, Tabea Zimmermann and Jean-Guihen Queyras, who have indulged their love of chamber music together since 2002. They too have included the heavy-weights of the genre in their programme: Beethoven’s first Rasumovsky Quartet, Schumann’s String Quartet No. 1 and movements from Bach’s Art of the Fugue.