Biography

Sara Bitlloch, Donald Grant, Martin Saving, Marie Bitlloch

The Elias String Quartet take their name from Mendelssohn’s oratorio, Elijah, of which Elias is its German form, and have quickly established themselves as one of the most intense and vibrant quartets of their generation. They perform around the world, collaborating with many different artists. The Quartet was formed in 1998 at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester where they worked closely with the late Dr. Christopher Rowland. They also spent a year studying at the Hochschule in Cologne with the Alban Berg quartet. Other mentors in the Quartet’s studies include Hugh Maguire, György Kurtág, Gábor Takács-Nagy, Henri Dutilleux and Rainer Schmidt.

The Quartet was chosen to participate in BBC Radio 3′s prestigious New Generation Artists’ scheme and is the recipient of a 2010 Borletti-Buitoni Trust Award. The 2011/12 season saw their debuts at New York’s Carnegie Hall, the Washington Library of Congress and the Musikverein, Vienna. They recently made their debut at the Berlin Konzerthaus. They have also presented a five concert series at Wigmore Hall, London, including collaborations with Leon Fleisher, Jonathan Biss and Pascal Moraguès. They recently returned to the US for a tour with Jonathan Biss, taking in Napa Valley, San Francisco, Salt Lake City, Kansas City and a return to Carnegie Hall in New York. The 13/14 season sees the quartet return to Australia and the United States for extended tours as well as giving recitals throughout Europe and the UK.

With the support of the Borletti-Buitoni Trust, the Elias Quartet are now immersed in their Beethoven Project: learning and performing all Beethoven string quartets. The cycles started in 2012/13 and continue throughout this season in various venues including Southampton, Bristol, Brighton, Norwich, Tonbridge, Glasgow and London. They are documenting their journey on a dedicated website: www.thebeethovenproject.com

They have performed alongside artists such as Michael Collins, Jonathan Biss, Simon Crawford-Phillips, Ralph Kirshbaum, Alice Neary, Ann Murray, Joan Rogers, Mark Padmore, Roger Vignoles, Michel Dalberto, Peter Cropper, Bernard Gregor-Smith, Ettore Causa, Timothy Boulton, Robin Ireland, Adrian Brendel, Anthony Marwood and with the Endellion, Jerusalem and Vertavo Quartets.

The Quartet received second prize and the Sidney Griller prize at the 9th London International String Quartet Competition in 2003 (as the Johnston String Quartet) and were finalists in the Paolo Borciani Competition in 2005. For four years they were resident String Quartet at Sheffield’s “Music in the Round” as part of Ensemble 360, taking over from the Lindsay Quartet.

The Quartet’s debut recording of Mendelssohn quartets for Sanctuary Classics received wide acclaim. Their performance of the Op. 80 quartet was chosen as best recording on BBC Radio 3′s ‘Building a Library’ in September 2009. Their second Wigmore Live disc, released in June 2012 and containing music by Schumann and Haydn has received outstanding reviews. Their most recent disc is with pianist Jonathan Biss of the Schumann and Dvorak piano quintets, released on the Onyx label. They have also released a disc of French harp music with harpist Sandrine Chatron for the French label Ambroisie, Goehr’s Piano Quintet with Daniel Becker for Meridian Records, and a Britten Quartets disc, released by Sonimage.