String Quartet

Zehetmair Quartet

Thomas Zehetmair, violin
Jakub Jakowicz, violin
Ruth Killius, viola
Christian Elliott, cello

Credit: Keith Pattison


Founded in 1994 by Austrian violinist and conductor Thomas Zehetmair, the Zehetmair Quartet ranks among the world’s finest string quartets.
Highlights of previous seasons include a complete Schumann Cycle at Wigmore Hall, the premiere of Heinz Holliger’s string quartet, commissioned by Köln Musik for the Zehetmair Quartet; performances at major venues and festivals throughout Europe including Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Salzburg Festival, Hong Kong Arts Festival, Edinburgh International Festival, Palau de la Musica Barcelona, Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival and a performance at Elliot Carter’s 100th birthday commemoration in New York.

Their discography for ECM is varied and highly acclaimed, including Schumann Quartet (Gramophone Record of the Year), Hindemith and Bartok (“playing of huge finesse in both pieces” – The Sunday Times, “a real benchmark” The Guardian) and Holliger, Hartmann and Beethoven; demonstrating their prowess in mainstream repertoire as well as the challenging works of the twentieth century. Their next highly anticipated release for ECM will be the Brahms Quartets.

In November 2014, the Zehetmair Quartet was awarded the Paul Hindemith Prize by the city of Hanau for outstanding musical achievement.




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    Beethoven - Holliger

    Label: ECM

    Release Date: 25 Oct 13

    BEETHOVEN: String Quartet in F Op 135
    BRUCKNER: String Quartet in C minor
    HARTMANN: String Quartet No. 2
    HOLLIGER: String Quartet No. 2

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    Bartók - Hindemith

    Label: ECM

    Release Date: 30 Mar 07

    BARTÓK: String Quartet No. 5
    HINDEMITH: String Quartet no. 4

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    Label: ECM

    Release Date: 10 Feb 03

    SCHUMANN: String Quartet No. 1
    SCHUMANN:  String Quartet No. 3

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    Hartmann - Bartók

    Label: ECM

    Release Date: 09 Mar 01

    HARTMANN:  String Quartet No. 1
    BARTÓK: String Quartet No. 4


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    27 Aug 15 Haydn & Hindemith Edinburgh Festival recital
    Queen's Hall

    “The Zehetmair Quartet gave one of the International Festival’s freshest, most bracing recitals so far, with each musical gesture – and there were plenty of flamboyant ones – seeming to come from an inner impulse, as though the music simply had to be like that.”
    David Kettle, The Scotsman, 28 August 2015 

    “The Zehetmair Quartet often performs from memory — the players learn their parts by heart before they even start to rehearse, and tend to unleash thrilling levels of musical insight and expressive freedom accordingly. There were music stands on stage at this Queen’s Hall morning recital, but the capacity to react to each other and take the music in new directions was there from note one.

    The quartet’s leader is the Austrian violinist and conductor Thomas Zehetmair, until last year music director of the Royal Northern Sinfonia and a superb all-round musician, simultaneously assertive and attentive, acutely detailed and instinctive. ”
    Kate Molleson, Herald Scotland, 28 August 2015 

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    14 Mar 14 Recital
    Wigmore Hall

    “The Zehetmairs came at it [Kreuzer Sonata] from a different angle, ultimately striking a finer balance between soulfulness and detachment…With Debussy’s Quartet in G, too, the results of the players’ experimentation were almost unfailingly positive, capturing the subtle shifts of light in the shimmering textures. The slow movement was a complete and wonderful work in itself.”
    The Guardian, 17 March 2014

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    08 Jan 12 Concert
    Wigmore Hall

    “Especially impressive here [Mozart G major Quartet] was the Zehetmair’s disembodied pianissimo. The suave Tempo di Menuetto finale was lovely, and held some interesting textural risks…The sheer intelligence of the Zehetmair Quartet, from their programming to the music’s realisation, is invigorating.”
    Seen and Heard, 19 January 2012

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    01 Nov 08 Hindemith Recording
    ECM New series

    “The real surprise is Hindemith’s much less familiar Fourth Quartet…Zehetmair and his colleagues show that it deserves a place among the finest of 20th-century works… the Zehetmair Quartet really have set a new benchmark”
    The Guardian, April 2007

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    01 Sep 06 Concert July 2006
    Cheltenham Festival 2006

    “It was their performance of Bartok’s epic Fifth Quartet that was the highlight of the programme. The enormous dynamic range the Zehetmairs create – from shimmering, delicate pianissimos to towering climaxes – made for a visceral experience…Not content with the challenges of Bartok and Mozart, an encore of a movement from a quartet by Hindemith was yet another demonstration of the unique alchemy between this group of players.”
    The Guardian, 5 July 2006