The Zurich-based Gringolts Quartet was founded in 2008, born from mutual friendships and chamber music partnerships that cross four countries: over the years, the Russian violinist Ilya Gringolts, the Romanian violist Silvia Simionescu and the Armenian violinist Anahit Kurtikyan frequently performed together in various chamber formations at distinguished festivals; the German cellist Claudius Herrmann played with Anahit Kurtikyan in the renowned Amati Quartet. What unites the four musicians is the immense joy they get from performing together and their passion for the high demands presented by the string quartet repertoire.
They have already had the opportunity to collaborate with eminent artists such as Leon Fleischer, Jörg Widmann, David Geringas, Malin Hartelius, Christian Poltéra and Eduard Brunner. Aside from the classical repertoire for string quartet, they are also dedicated performers of contemporary music, including string quartets by Marc-André Dalbavie, Jörg Widmann and Jens Joneleit.
Highlights from the past seasons include performances at the Salzburg Festival, Lucerne Festival, Gstaad Menuhin Festival, St Petersburg Philharmonia, L’Auditori Barcelona, Sociedad Filarmónica de Bilbao, Società di Concerti in Milan and the Kasseler Musiktage. In the current season the Gringolts Quartet will make its debuts at Wigmore Hall, Louisiana Museum Copenhagen, Lugano Musica and Stockholm Konserthuset. Concert tours will take them to Italy, Germany and Switzerland.
The Gringolts Quartet’s debut recording with works by Robert Schumann was released in 2011. Together with David Geringas the Gringolts Quartet participated in the world premiere recording of Walter Braunfels’ quintet in 2012, which was awarded a “Supersonic Award,” as well as an ECHO Klassik award. In 2014 they garnered attention with their Brahms CD (“The interpretational concept reveals new ways of understanding the work.” (Pizzicato.lu), while their latest CD with quintets by Glazunov and Taneyev with Christian Poltéra was released in Spring 2016 and awarded the Diapason d’Or.
Despite his youth, Ilya Gringolts can already look back on twenty extraordinarily successful years of his violinist career. His inquisitiveness regarding new musical challenges has shown him to be an outstanding musical personality.
After studying violin and composition in Saint Petersburg, he attended the Juilliard School of Music, where he studied with Itzhak Perlman. In 1998 he won the International Violin Competition Premio Paganini, as youngest first prize winner in the history of the competition.
Since 2013 Ilya has a position as violin professor at the Zurich Academy of the Arts. He plays a violin by Guiseppe Guarneri del Gesu (1743).
Claudius Herrmann was born in Mannheim/Germany in 1967 and began taking Cello lessons at the age of eight. From 1987 to 1991 he studied under Prof. David Geringas at the Lübeck Academy of Music. He has been Solo Cellist in the Zurich Opera House Orchestra since 1992.
Claudius plays an instrument by Giovanni Paolo Maggini (ca.1600)
Anahit Kurtikyan pursued her studies in Switzerland with renowned Tibor Varga after completing her studies in her native country Armenia. She has won numerous national competitions.
Since 2001 Anahit has been leading
the second violin section with the Zurich Opera Orchestra. She plays a 1733 violin by Camillo Camilli from Mantua.
Silvia Simionescu, Prizewinner in several international competitions, among others 1st Prize in the Brescia International Competition and 1st Prize of the Osaka International Chamber Music Competition was born in Romania. Silvia Simionescu took up playing the violin at the age of seven. She joined the International Menuhin Music Academy, in Switzerland, where she studies violin and viola with Yehudi Menuhin, Alberto Lysy and Johannes Eskaer.
Since 2004 she is a professor in Music Academy Basel teaching viola and chamber music and regularly gives master classes in Germany, India, Switzerland and Spain.
Silvia plays an instrument by Jacobus Januarius (1660).
After picking up the upright bass, Dubé attended musical studies at the Conservatoire du Québec, where he graduated with a Dîplome d’études supérieures, continuing at Rice University (Houston, Texas) and then for two years at the University of Southern California, where he earned his Master’s degree. He studied both jazz and classical music. When he had completed musical studies Dubé worked as a freelance musician in North America for two years with different orchestras, before moving to Scandinavia. He has also appeared as a soloist with some famous orchestras. He has worked with different types of music, mostly jazz, folk music and of course classical, parallel to his orchestra career through the years.
Scottish pianist Alasdair Beatson works prolifically as soloist and chamber musician. Alasdair is renowned as a sincere musician and intrepid programmer. Alongside a particular affinity with the classical repertoire and the music of Schumann and Fauré, he often explores the more exotic.
A former student of John Blakely and Menahem Pressler, Alasdair is increasingly drawn to education, teaching annually on the Musicworks summer courses, and giving regular coaching or masterclasses at London’s Guildhall and the Royal Welsh schools of music, and at Birmingham Conservatoire.
Alasdair is founder and artistic director of the French chamber music festival Musique à Marsac.
Mary Lou Ward
Statens Scenskola Malmö (acting shool) 1974–77
Regionteatern Blekinge-Kronoberg 1977–2016
Krönikör (columnist) Smålandsposten 2010–2018
Violin, this year’s future artist
Simon Olaison has played the violin since the age of five. At the moment he studies the Scientific program at Katedralskolan in Växjö and a special course called “Musiktillägget”, where he studies music. Simon plays in the Växjö Symphony Orchestra and in the Växjö Chamber Orchestra of Växjö Art School. In 2018, he was awarded a music scholarship from the St Andrews Assembly Värendsbröderna of the Freemasonry.
Violist Mark Holloway is a chamber musician sought after in the United States and abroad. He is a member of the Pacifica Quartet. As an artist of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, he has appeared at prestigious festivals and series all over the world. He has frequently appeared as a guest with the New York Philharmonic, Orpheus, and the Metropolitan Opera orchestras. Mark has been principal violist at Tanglewood and of the New York String Orchestra. Hailed as an “outstanding violist” by American Record Guide, and praised by Zürich's Neue Zürcher Zeitung for his “warmth and intimacy,” he has recorded for the Marlboro Recording Society, CMS Live, Music@Menlo LIVE, Naxos, and Albany labels.
As a saxophonist and composer, he charts a course encompassing very diverse styles and projects.
With deep roots in the area of improvised music, he uses my very personal style to build bridges between different musical directions, people and stories, both old and new.
As a live and studio saxophonist, he finds himself on a journey of discovery accompanied by very different people in varied projects. Some of these are: James Moore, Malin Hartelius, Carol Alston, Jim Holmes, Peter Turrini, Manfred Bockelmann and many more.
In recent years, Edgar Unterkirchner's talents as a composer have taken on more and more of a central role. A wide assortment of rewarding, cooperative efforts and commissioned works have resulted, such as for Manfred Bockelmann – Original Music to “Drawing Against Oblivion“: Gold World Medal at the New York Festival; Winner at filmmusicfestival Fimucinema/Teneriffa; Gold Medal at Global Music Awards in California for "Best Soundtrack" and "Best Listener's Impact", St. Paul’s Abbey – “The Voices of God,” Robert Musil Literature Museum - “Gertrud Stein - The Making of Americans” and many more.
Studied at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Graz (classical saxophone and instrumental and vocal education with a focus on jazz).
Studied at the Carinthian State Conservatorium in Klagenfurt (jazz saxophone, diploma).
Both courses of studies completed with distinction.
He is a freelance musician and composer.
Pianist Anders Persson got his education in jazzpiano and ensemble at the Conservatory of Music in Gothenburg 1979- 83.
He has since the early eighties been working as a performing artist and composer, playing and recording with a large number of well- known Swedish and international groups and musicians like Stina Nordenstam, Lina Nyberg, Bob Berg, Toots Thielemans, Jim Beard, Georg Riedel, Viktoria Tolstoy to mention a few.
He is since 1988 leading his own trio with Yasuhito Mori, bass and Magnus Gran, drums. This group has released 3 CD`s, ”At Large”, ”Domestic wax” and ”In person”, highly acclaimed by the critics and has toured frequently in Japan.
Anders has also been teaching jazzpiano and ensemble at the Conservatory of Music in Ingesund and Örebro, Det Tyske Musikkonservatorium ( Aalborg) and at the Academy of Music and Drama in Gothenburg.
He has participated on more than 40 records whereof 10 as a leader.
After taking voice lessons with Sylvia Mang- Borenberg, Swedish soprano Malin Hartelius studied in Vienna and embarked on her career as a member of the Vienna State Opera from 1989 to 1991. She belonged to the ensemble of the Zurich Opera House from 1991/92 until 2012 appearing in all Mozart roles and many others.
She has been invited to perform at the opera houses of Berlin, Vienna, Paris, Hamburg and Munich as well as festivals in Ludwigsburg, Schwetzingen and Aix-en-Provence.
In 1992, she had her debut at the Salzburg Festival, where she has since appeared in various roles.
In January 2010, Malin Hartelius was honoured by the Swedish King in Stockholm with the award of the Order “Litteris et Artibus”.