After his 12 revelatory years as music director of the Royal Northern Sinfonia, Thomas Zehetmair needs little introduction to audiences in the North-East. Still a regular visitor to Sage Gateshead, where he is now the RNS’s Conductor Laureate, he continues to delight audiences the world over with his artistry as a violinist and conductor. We are thrilled now to be able to welcome his string quartet to Hexham.
The Zehetmair Quartet were founded in 1994 and rank among the world’s finest quartets, winning the German city of Hanau’s Paul Hindemith prize for outstanding musical achievement in 2014. Equally at home in both mainstream and contemporary repertoire, the Zehetmairs have played in major venues and festivals across Europe and beyond. Their recording of Schumann’s 1st and 3rd string quartets was named recording of the year in the Gramophone Awards.
Music by Schumann’s great friend, Brahms, is on tonight’s programme – his masterful first string quartet dates from 1873 and is a work of restless agitation and energy. This is followed by Webern’s 6 short bagatelles and Sibelius’s one string quartet of his mature years.
‘Playing of huge finesse’ – Sunday Times
‘The Zehetmair Quartet gave one of the International Festival’s freshest, most bracing recitals so far, with each musical gesture (…) seeming to come from an inner impulse, as though the music simply had to be like that.’ – The Scotsman
Brahms String Quartet no. 1 in C minor, op. 51 no. 1
Webern Six Bagatelles for String Quartet, op. 9
Sibelius String Quartet in D minor, op. 56 (‘Voces Intimae’)
The quartet play an entire concert in Switzerland, including the Brahms and Webern pieces being played this evening –
A short clip of the quartet at last year’s Edinburgh Festival –
Thomas Zehetmair and the quartet’s Ruth Killius play Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante in E flat major, K364 –