+49 30 214 594-224
Ilya Gringolts, violin
Anahit Kurtikyan, violin
Silvia Simionescu, viola
Claudius Herrmann, cello
The Zurich-based Gringolts Quartet was founded in 2008, born from mutual friendships and chamber music partnerships that cross four countries: over the years, the Russian violinist Ilya Gringolts, the Romanian violist Silvia Simionescu and the Armenian violinist Anahit Kurtikyan frequently performed together in various chamber formations at distinguished festivals; the German cellist Claudius Herrmann played with Anahit Kurtikyan in the renowned Amati Quartet. What unites the four musicians is the immense joy they get from performing together and their passion for the high demands presented by the string quartet repertoire.
They have already had the opportunity to collaborate with eminent artists such as Leon Fleischer, Jörg Widmann, David Geringas, Malin Hartelius, Christian Poltéra and Eduard Brunner. Aside from the classical repertoire for string quartet, they are also dedicated performers of contemporary music, including string quartets by Marc-André Dalbavie, Jörg Widmann, Lotta Wennäkoski and Jens Joneleit.
Highlights from the past seasons include performances at the Salzburg Festival, Lucerne Festival, Gstaad Menuhin Festival, Louisiana Museum Copenhagen, St Petersburg Philharmonia, L'Auditori Barcelona, Sociedad Filarmónica de Bilbao, Lugano Musica and Società di Concerti in Milan. Following critically acclaimed debuts at the summer festivals in Verbier and Edinburgh, in the current season the Gringolts Quartet will make its debuts at Festspielhaus Baden-Baden, Stockholm Konserthuset and Schloss Elmau. Concert tours will take them to Italy, Germany and Switzerland.
The Gringolts Quartet’s debut recording of works by Robert Schumann was released in 2011. Together with David Geringas the Gringolts Quartet participated in the world premiere recording of Walter Braunfels’ quintet in 2012, which was awarded a "Supersonic Award," as well as an ECHO Klassik award. In 2014 they garnered attention with their Brahms CD (“The interpretational concept reveals new ways of understanding the work.” Pizzicato.lu), while their latest CD with quintets by Glazunov and Taneyev with Christian Poltéra was released in spring 2016 and was awarded the Diapason d’Or. An eagerly awaited new recording of Schoenberg’s String Quartets No. 2 and 4 was released at the start of the new season.
The members of the Gringolts Quartet all play on rare Italian instruments. Ilya Gringolts plays a Giuseppe Guarneri "del Gesù" violin, Cremona 1742-43, on loan from a private collection. Anahit Kurtikyan plays a Camillo Camilli violin, Mantua 1733. Silvia Simionescu plays a Jacobus Januarius viola, Cremona 1660. Claudius Herrmann plays a Maggini cello, Brescia 1600. Prince Golizyn who was a great admirer of Beethoven, gave the first performances of the composer’s last string quartets, which he commissioned, on this instrument.
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There hasn’t been such a persuasive case for Schoenberg’s music for years, making this CD my new reference recording.
KLASSIK-HEUTE.COM, Martin Blaumeiser, 28/9/2017 - about the Schönberg CD
The Gringolts Quartet played everything with complete clarity and stylistic assurance. The fast movements were played so swiftly that you could only just make out the details, and the calm movements were played with hardly any vibrato. This sensational evening sets high standards for the new Duisburg chamber music concert season.
Beautifully integrated sound; immaculate execution of impeccable, mature interpretations, charismatic on-stage and, above all: they are purely about the music. Striking a fine balance of profundity and humour for both Haydn and Brahms, they left their audience enraptured or tittering in all the right places. They convincingly adapted their sound to be classically vibrato-free for one then full-fat Romantic for the other.
HERALD SCOTLAND, Svend McEwan-Brown, 12/8/2017
Ilya Gringolts's glowing tone and liquid grace score highly. Listen to the expressive but unaffected way he handles the little cadenza at the end of Var 5. Gringolts is never more than first among equals, however, and the Quintet's sunset coda is lovingly handled, the individual strands of the texture beautifully caught in BIS's warm, transparent sound.
GRAMOPHONE, Richard Bratby, April 2016 – about the Taneyev-Glazunov CD
The Gringolts Quartet’s interpretation of Haydn was distinguished by an impressive technical superiority which never appeared to be insincere or superficial. It was as if the audience could observe every detail with a magnifying glass, and even the smallest and most subtle movement produced the maximum expressive effect.
BALLADE.NO, Emil Bernhardt, 01/04/2016
A captivating listening experience and a first-class performance: a full and at the same time deeply focused sound allows the listener to experience the pieces as if from the heart of the action.
RONDO MAGAZIN, Michael Wersin, 06/02/2016 – about the Taneyev-Glazunov CD
Listen to the Gringolts Quartet in the Op.51 No.2 and Op.67 Quartets and you may conclude that they’ve simply not been played right. There’s so much sensitive give and take between the four instruments here, so much intimacy and subtle variation of colour, that the feeling is these are Romantic chamber gems comparable with Schumann’s three Quartets. In the first movement of Op.67 the shifts in rhythmic patterns are handled with the kind of supple freedom even the most refined orchestral conductor could hardly match.
BBC MUSIC MAGAZINE, Stephen Johnson, October 2014, on Brahms CD
Like opening the curtains on a sunny morning, this recording throws fresh light on the familiar features of Brahms’s beguiling chamber music. The glorious Piano Quintet in F minor, Op 34, bursts with confidence, the Gringolts and Peter Laul fully conscious of its soaring, symphonic ambition.
OBSERVER, Stephen Pritchard, 22/06/2014, on Brahms CD
Gringolts and his players bring a cool, steely and achingly intense beauty to their interpretation. […] These two fascinating works are well worth getting to know: one obscure from Braunfels and the other by Strauss in an unfamiliar guise. These are deeply felt and impeccably prepared performances rendered in excellent sound: cool, clear and well balanced.
MUSIC WEB INTERNATIONAL, Michael Cookson, 13/02/2013 on Braunfels/Strauss-CD
Led by the incisive Ilya Gringolts (…) the Gringolts Quartet puts Schumann’s mercurial yet troubled psyche under an intense spotlight. They use every means at their disposal to draw out more disturbing elements of the quartets: the beginning of no.1 emerges as sombre as medieval plainsong, silences are full of unspoken menace. (…) The more joyous moments are undimmed, with the Piano Quintet going great guns and Gringolts’s violin-playing dancing through enchantingly nuanced passagework in the finale of the Quartet no.2. (…) Original, personal and beautifully played, these performances prove that there are as many facets to Schumann’s quartets as there are ensembles to play them. A different and fascinating take.
CLASSICFM.COM, June 2012, on Schumann CD
Ilya Gringolts and his friends never let the tension drop. Amplified by the acoustics of the Lutheran Church of St. Petersburg, the sound of the ensemble, led by its fiery first violinist, cannot be beat. The transparent polyphony of the first Andante espressivo, along with the clarity of the accompanying voices and the sophisticated use of tone colours, stood in direct contrast to the biting but playful scherzo, and added to the performance’s poetic appeal.
DIAPASON, Jean Cabourg, January 2012 on Schumann CD
These artists are brilliant masters of their craft. The determined moaning of the viola or cello, flanked by gently restrained violins, was full of the protagonists’ intensity and subtle phrasing.
SÜDDEUTSCHE ZEITUNG, Udo Watter, 14/01/2012
|Haydn||String Quartet, Op op. 67/1|
|Mozart||String Quartet TBC|
|Shostakovich||String Quartet No. 4|
|Beethoven||String Quartet Op. 59/3|
|Schönberg||String Quartet No. 1 OR No. 4|
|Dvo?ák||String Quartet G major, Op. 106|
|Schumann||String Quartet No. 1|
|Dutilleux|| ainsi la nuit |
|Beethoven||String Quartet Op. 59 No. 3|
|Mendelssohn||Octet, Op. 2|
|Enescu||Octet, Op. 8|
|Haydn||String Quartet, Op. 76 No. 1 (Gringolts Quartet)|
|Brahms||String Quartet No. 3 B-flat major, Op. 67 (Meta 4)|
|Mendelssohn||Octet, Op. 2|
|Enescu||Octet, Op. 8|
Gringolts Quartet, Malin Hartelius (soprano)
BIS Records, 2017, BIS-2267
Gringolts Quartet, Christian Poltéra (cello II)
BIS Records AB, 2016, BIS-2177 | SACD
Orchid Classics, 2014, ORC100042
David Geringas (cello), Gringolts Quartet
Edition Günter Hänssler, 2012, PH 12053
Gringolts Quartet, Peter Laul (piano)
Onyx, 2011, ONYX4081
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