Highlights this season include a complete Brahms and Schumann chamber music cycle at Wigmore Hall, their Carnegie Hall debut and taking part in the Simmenauer International Beethoven Quartet series.
The Castalian String Quartet was the recipient of the inaugural Merito String Quartet Award & Valentin Erben Prize and a Borletti-Buitoni Trust Fellowship Award in 2018.
Over the past year, the Quartet has given its debut North American recitals at The Philips Collection (Washington D.C.), Lincoln Center (N.Y.), Middlebury College (Vermont), Salle Bourgie (Montreal), Vancouver Recital Series and Banff International String Quartet Festival.
Other 2018/19 highlights included a return to the Aldeburgh Festival, the complete Haydn Op.76 quartets at Wigmore Hall (recorded for future release on the Wigmore Live label) and recitals at Konzerthaus Vienna, Auditorium du Louvre (Paris), Flagey (Brussels) and the Tel Aviv Museum of Art.
This season they will perform a Brahms and Schumann chamber music cycle at Wigmore Hall, collaborating with Stephen Hough, Cédric Tiberghien, Michael Collins, Nils Mönkemeyer, Isabel Charisius and Ursula Smith.
In 2020 the Castalian String Quartet will give its Carnegie Hall debut and participate in the Simmenauer International Beethoven Quartet series. In addition to return visits to Israel, they will perform across Europe, giving recitals in the Paris Philharmonie, Esterházy Castle (Fertöd) and the Heidelberger-Frühling, Rheingau, Mosel and Dresden Festivals.
They have performed widely throughout Europe, with highlights including the Hamburg Chamber Music Series, International Musikfest Goslar, Sommerliche Musiktage Hitzacker, “Quartetaffairs” in Frankfurt (broadcast by NDR), the Queille Festival and Conques Lumière du Roman in France. UK appearances include the Bath, Cheltenham, East Neuk, North Norfolk, Peasmarsh and Winchester Festivals. They have also been the resident ensemble at the Esbjerg International Chamber Music Festival in Denmark and Festival Musique d’Été à Suzette, near Avignon. Further afield, they have undertaken tours of China and Colombia.
The Quartet has collaborated with with Aleksander Madzar, Alasdair Beatson, Simon Rowland-Jones, Daniel Lebhardt and Olivier Stankiewicz, among many others.
Formed in 2011, the Castalian String Quartet studied with Oliver Wille (Kuss Quartet) at the Hannover University of Music, Drama and Media, graduating with a Masters degree. Awards include 1st Prize at the 2015 Lyon Chamber Music Competition and 3rd Prize at the 2016 Banff International String Quartet Competition.
The Quartet was selected by Young Classical Artists Trust (YCAT) in 2016 and have received further coaching from Simon Rowland-Jones, David Waterman and Isabel Charisius.
“The Castalian Quartet were livelier still….wonderfully expressive in looks and sound in Britten, Haydn and a festival commission from Edmund Finnis, Aloysius.”
“The real treat of the day came in a brilliant evening recital in Kilrenny Church by the excellent Castalian Quartet (*****). Playing quartets by Haydn, Caroline Shaw and Schumann, their unique style – a powerful individuality of sound matched by an instinctive singularity of musical intention – lit up every single moment... A terrific programme; amazing players. ”
“….the Castalians, led by the seraphic Sini Simonen who seems to pull her inspiration straight down from the skies, lived every moment. Depth came in the moving introduction of Schumann’s First, A minor Quartet and more surprises in his slow movement, even if the final impression is one of manic exuberance.”
“Schumann’s Op 41 No 1 quartet was nothing short of sensational, and in performance the Castalian proved why they are in such demand, not just at the East Neuk Festival, but world-wide….an absolutely mesmerising evening of chamber music.”
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“The revelation, though, was the silvery playing of the Castalians in a relatively early Quartet (D353) by the 19-year-old Schubert, in which first violinist Sini Simonen's intonation-perfect spirit highlighted her role within the ensemble.”