Sunday - 15th January 2011 - PLEASE SEE REVIEW BELOW
Zara Benyounes - violin
Emily Holland - violin
Sara Roberts - viola
Kim Vaughan - 'cello
Quartettsatz - Schubert
String Quartet in G Major K387 - Mozart
String Quartet in G Minor - Debussy
The members of the Benyounes Quartet hail from England, Wales and Ireland and are united by their love of chamber music and enthusiasm for communicating with audiences. They met at the Royal Northern College of Music in 2007, where they were recipients of major prizes for string quartet. Winners of the Royal Philharmonic Societys prestigious Julius Isserlis Scholarship, the quartet continued studies at the Haute Ecole de Musique de Genève with Professor Gabor TakacsNagy. Here they were awarded the conservatoires most esteemed Prix d'Exellence for their final diploma.
The Benyounes Quartet holds the Richard Carne Junior Fellowship for String Quartet at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance. They are also Quartet in Residence at Bangor University. Recently chosen as Park Lane Group Young Artists, the quartet will give their Purcell Room debut in January 2012.
The quartet has appeared in recitals for music societies and festivals across the UK and Europe. In the summer of 2010, they were invited to perform an exciting new collaborative work by young British composer Charlotte Bray in Verbier Festival, Festival d'Aix-en-Provence and Aldeburgh Festival. They were invited to Dartington Summer Music as string quartet in residence, and have appeared at West Cork Chamber Music Festival and Bellerive Festival, Switzerland. Other notable performances in the 2010/11 season included recitals at the Bridgewater Hall, St James Piccadilly and a tour of South West Scotland. 2012 holds performances at St. Martin in the Fields, LSO St. Luke's and the Southbank Centre, and they will perform a collaborative project for British Dance Edition.
The quartet have studied on the ProQuartet-CEMC program offering them the opportunity to work with Eberhard Feltz and members of the Alban Berg quartet. They were selected to attend IMS Prussia Cove and the Britten-Pears International Academy of String Quartets, and have participated in masterclasses with Gyorgy Kurtag, Andras Keller, David Waterman and Christoph Richter. The quartet also receives regular coaching from Quatuor Ebene.
The quartet continues to broaden its repertoire by initiating collaborative chamber music and cross-arts projects, and has recently founded Quercus Ensemble, a mixed chamber music group based in Northern Ireland.
Concert review by Phoebe Woollam :
Benyounes Quartet opened the 25th season of the Blenheim Concerts with a programme of three popular works: Mozart?s String Quartet No 14 in G Major K. 387, Schubert?s Quartettsatz in C Minor D. 703 and Ravel's String Quartet in F Major.
These extraordinarily talented young string players, Zara Benyounes and Emily Holland violins, Sara Roberts viola and Kim Vaughan 'cello, met at the Royal Northern College of Music in 2007 and, having won many prestigious awards, they then studied with Professor Gabor Takacs- Nagy at the Haute Ecole de Musique in Geneva. They are currently Quartet in Residence at Bangor University while pursuing an impressive concert schedule in this country and elsewhere.
The Mozart Quartet No. 14 in G was played with polish, delicacy and fine attention to balance. Just occasionally the phrase endings in the first Allegro were a little rushed but the charmingly expressive Menuetto, the controlled ensemble playing in the Andante and the ferocious energy of the final Molto Allegro were admirable. This was a sophisticated performance and enormously enjoyable.
Schubert's Quartettsatz is the first movement of a projected quartet in C minor. It is a powerful piece dominated by the driven, chromatic opening theme and its canonic entries at 2 bar intervals. This opening was played with enormous energy and drive which contrasted with the expressive, soaring theme of the second subject when it was heard in the first violin part at bar 26. It was such a contrast to the elegant Mozart that we had just heard. Its sombre mood of dark intensity was well conveyed.
Ravel's sensitive instrumentation in the String Quartet in F makes it one of the most bewitching works in the chamber repertoire. This performance ranged from the wonderfully expressive melodic lines of the opening and the hauntingly beautiful viola opening of the third movement to the exuberant energy of the last movement.
This was a wonderful concert given by a superbly gifted ensemble.