Danish String Quartet
50th Anniversary Chamber Music Season
Wednesday, November 2, 2022
7:30 PM Harris Concert Hall
Concert Preview Listen Now
WKNO's "Checking on the Arts" with Darel Snodgrass featuring the Danish String Quartet's Rune Tonsgaard Sørensen
Meet The Great Danes: Chamber Music With A Scandinavian Twist
A Truly Scandinavian Endeavor Featuring Three Danes & A Norwegian Cellist
Exquisite Clarity Sophisticated Artistry Powerful Energy
“... an exceptional quartet, whatever repertory they play.”—New York Times
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Divertimento in F Major for String Quartet, K. 138 (1772)
Benjamin Britten, Three Divertimentos for String Quartet (1933, rev. 1936)
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Quartet in E-flat Major for Strings, K. 428 (1783)
A selection of folk tunes arranged by the Danish String Quartet
“...one of the best quartets before the public today.” —Washington Post
The Danish String Quartet celebrates its 20th Anniversary in 2022-23, and the GRAMMY®-nominated quartet continues to assert its preeminence among the world’s finest string quartets. Formed when they were in their teens, they are renowned for impeccable musicianship, sophisticated artistry, exquisite clarity of ensemble, and, above all, and an unmatched ability to play as one. Performances are characterized by a rare musical spontaneity, giving audiences the sense of hearing even treasured canon repertoire as if for the first time. They exude a palpable joy in music-making that has made them one of today’s most highly acclaimed and in-demand classical quartets, performing sold-out concert halls around the world. Their inventive and intriguing programming and repertoire choices have produced critically acclaimed original projects and commissions as well as popular arrangements of Scandinavian folk music.
The Danish Quartet: ’Our string quartet is the pot into which we can each pour our personal dreams and ideas’
As a string quartet, we find ourselves at the core of the classical music world. On a daily basis, we delve into works by great masters such as Beethoven and Mozart, but we also play the occasional folk music gig. Over the years we have been fortunate to study in many different places, in masterclasses with renowned teachers, and have had opportunities to perform in major concert halls across the world. We have participated in competitions and made some recordings as well. If you want to know more about all this conventional stuff, check out the ‘press‘ page on our site, where you can download a substantial PDF full of information and wisdom.
Here’s a simpler story of the quartet: We are three Danes and one Norwegian cellist, making this a truly Scandinavian endeavor. Being relatively bearded, we are often compared to the Vikings. However, we are only pillaging the English coastline occasionally.The three of us, the Danes, met very early in our lives in the Danish countryside at a summer camp for enthusiastic amateur musicians. Not yet teenagers, we were the youngest players, so we hung out all the time playing football and chamber music together.We were regular Danish kids with an above average interest in classical chamber music. Quickly we became best friends and we still are. In 2001, professor Tim Frederiksen of The Royal Danish Academy of Music in Copenhagen got in touch with us and started coaching us on a regular basis, drilling us for hours in early Haydn quartets.
All of the sudden, at the ages of 15 and 16, we were a serious string quartet, practicing intonation and stuff. It all happened so fast that none of us seemed to notice the transition. Time passed and we grew up. Grew beards. None of us have any memory of our lives without the string quartet. In 2008 Norwegian cellist Fredrik joined in. He looked like a character from Game of Thrones, and we thought he was a perfect match. During his free time, Fredrik can be found fixing or sailing his OE32 sailboat somewhere in Scandinavia. Other interests of the group include vintage cars, cooking, gaming, reading, playing, talking, scuba diving, playing tennis, and being dads of babies and toddlers. Yes, playing string quartets is our job, and yes it is hard work, but we mostly do it for pleasure, like we always did.
Music is a way to hang out with friends, and we hope we can continue to hang out for many, many years.
Rune, Asbjørn, Fredrik and Frederik
Beethoven string quartet i c# minor, op. 131
From a concert in the Alice Tully Hall at Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, February 2016
Beethoven string quartet i c minor, op. 18 no. 4
In the fall of 2018 we did our first Beethoven cycle in Copenhagen at DSQ Festival. Playing his sixteen string quartets in six consecutive days was tough, but also a rewarding travel in many ways. This is from the second day of the festival - live from Bygningskulturens Hus in Copenhagen.
A traditional Danish tune from the island of Fanø. Music has been played here for several centuries, and the title of this particular tune refers to the southern neighbor island of Rømø. Video by Wojciech Zych.
Schnittke string quartet no. 3 - 3rd movement
Recorded live on the Danish island Møn in September 2019, this was a cold but amazing experience. Playing music in such a setting is something we will never forget!
Embodying the quintessential elements of a fine chamber music ensemble, matched by an infectious joy for music-making and “rampaging energy”.— The New Yorker
“...one of the best quartets before the public today.” —Washington Post
“Spontaneous and impeccable in their performances, the world-renowned Danish String Quartet promises to make even the most seasoned chamber music fanatic feel as though they’re discovering chamber classics for the first time.” — Chamberfest Ottawa
“There is no shortage of phenomenal string quartets today, as is made abundantly clear throughout our Chamber Sessions concert series. Yet, “even by today’s high standards, the Danish String Quartet offers something very special.” —The Boston Globe
“The Danish are remarkable, as ever – capable of an intense blend, extreme dynamic variation (in which they seem glued together), perfect intonation even on harmonics, and constant vitality and flow.”
"They bring a freshness and energy plus a level of sheer accomplishment that I don't ever remember hearing in these works."
In 2012 the Danish String Quartet released an acclaimed recording of Haydn and Brahms quartets on the German AVI-music label, about which The New York Times proclaimed: “What makes the performance special is the maturity and calm of the playing, even during virtuosic passages that whisk by. This is music-making of wonderful ease and naturalness...”
“One of the most powerful renditions of Beethoven’s Opus 132 String Quartet that I’ve heard live or on a recording,” and “the adventurous young members of the Danish String Quartet play almost everything excitingly.” -New York Times
“They could be grounded in their tone or mystical. They allowed time to stand still, and they could
assume the pose of excitingly aggressive rockers. They did it all.”—The Los Angeles Times
Media Awards & Accolades
First Prize in the Vagn Holmboe String Quartet Competition
First Prize in the Charles Hennen International Chamber Music Competition in Holland
Audience Prize in the Trondheim International String Quartet Competition
2010 Recipients of the NORDMETALL-Ensemble Prize at the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Festival in Germany
2009 First Prize in the 11th London International String Quartet Competition, as well as four additional prizes from the same jury.
This competition is now called the Wigmore Hall International String Quartet Competition
2011 Carl Nielsen Prize Winner, the highest cultural honor in Denmark
2020 Musical America’s Ensemble of the Year
GRAMMY® nomination in the category of Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance for the group’s recordings of Beethoven’s Op. 127 in E-flat Major, Bach’s Fugue in E-flat Major (arranged by Mozart), and Shostakovich’s final string quartet, No. 15 in E-flat minor.
Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s CMS Two Program
BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artists program
And numerous other awards and accolades