Danish String Quartet

Date/Time

Location

Tanglewood (297 West St., Lenox, MA 01240)

The Grammy-nominated Danish String Quartet — Frederik Øland on violin, Rune Tonsgaard Sørensen on violin, Asbjørn Nørgaard on viola and Fredrik Schøyen Sjölin on cello — will perform an evening of Sørensen and Schubert.

Schubert — String Quartet No. 15 in G, D.887
Bent Sørensen — Doppelgänger
Schubert — Der Doppelgänger

Violinists Frederik Øland and Rune Tonsgaard Sørenson and violist Asbjørn Nørgaard met as children at a music summer camp where they played soccer and made music together. As teenagers, they began the study of classical chamber music and were mentored by Tim Frederiksen of Copenhagen’s Royal Danish Academy of Music. In 2008, the three Danes were joined by Norwegian cellist Fredrik Schøyen Sjölin.

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The Quartet’s playing reflects an expressivity inextricably bound to the music, the group says, from Haydn to Shostakovich to contemporary scores. Performances bring a musical spontaneity, giving audiences the sense of hearing even treasured canon repertoire as if for the first time, and exuding a palpable joy in music-making that have made them enormously in-demand on concert stages throughout the world.

The recipient of many awards and prestigious appointments, including Musical America’s 2020 Ensemble of the Year and the Borletti-Buitoni Trust, the Danish String Quartet was named in 2013 as BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artists and appointed to the The Bowers Program (formerly CMS Two).

As part of a three-year residency, the Danish String Quartet brings a series of five concerts, which mirror the programs in its ongoing recording project with ECM New Series, PRISM, to La Jolla Music Society in November 2019. Each PRISM program is an exploration of the symbiotic musical and contextual relationships between Bach fugues, Beethoven string quartets, and works by Shostakovich, Schnittke, Bartok, Mendelssohn, and Webern, forming an expertly curated musical evolution within each individual program and across the entire PRISM repertory.

Prism I, the first disc of this five-album project for the ECM label, was released in September 2018 and garnered a 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.

The group takes an active role in reaching new audiences through special projects. In 2007, they established the DSQ Festival, now in its 12th year, which takes place in an intimate and informal setting at Copenhagen’s Bygningskulturens Hus. The 2019 DSQ Festival features an array of meticulously curated programs including such guests as pianists Vikingur Olafsson and Wu Qian, violinist Alexi Kenney, and violist Jennifer Stumm.

In 2016, they inaugurated a new music festival, Series of Four, in which they both perform and invite colleagues—the Ebène Quartet, mandolin player Chris Thile, among others—to appear at the venerable Danish Radio Concert Hall. Concerts this season include collaborations with pianist Gabriel Kahane and violinist Pekka Kuusisto.

Since their debut in 2002, the Danish String Quartet has demonstrated a special affinity for Scandinavian composers, from Carl Nielsen to Hans Abrahamsen, alongside music of Mozart and Beethoven. The Quartet’s musical interests also encompass Nordic folk music, the focus of Wood Works, an album of traditional Scandinavian folk music, released by Dacapo in 2014. As a follow-up, the Danish String Quartet released Last Leaf for ECM, an album of traditional Scandinavian folk music. This recording was one of the top classical albums of 2017, as chosen by NPR, Spotify and The New York Times, among others.