Tickets £5-£30, book via Tickets Oxford.
Alice Knight - Prayer (2022)
Benjamin Britten - String Quartet No. 3 in G major, op. 94 (1975)
Antonín Dvořák - String Quartet No. 13 in G major, op. 106 (1895)
The Castalian String Quartet are now a regular feature of Oxford’s musical life through the Hans Keller String Quartet Residency. In their debut performance at the JdP, the Castalians perform two G major quartets written at the end of their respective composers’ lives – the Dvořák written in Prague shortly after the composer’s return from America, and the Britten dedicated to Hans Keller himself. By way of contrast, they will also perform a new work by an Oxford University student composer, to be selected from composition workshops taking place in Hilary Term with Professor Martyn Harry.
The concert will be preceded by a talk with Professor Martyn Harry, Dr Oliver Chandler and composer Alice Knight.
The Castalian String Quartet is taking the international chamber music scene by storm. They are gaining renown for interpretations “full of poetry, joy and sorrow, realised to such perfection” (The Observer).
Formed in 2011, the quartet studied with Oliver Wille at the Hochschule für Musik, Hannover, before being selected by the Young Classical Artists Trust (YCAT) in 2016. They were awarded First Prize at the 2015 Lyon International Chamber Music Competition and in 2018 were recipients of the inaugural Merito String Quartet Award and Valentin Erben Prize, and a prestigious Borletti-Buitoni Trust Fellowship. The ensemble was named Young Artist of the Year at the 2019 Royal Philharmonic Society Awards.
Recent debuts include New York’s Carnegie Hall, the Berlin Philharmonie, Vienna Konzerthaus, Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie, Paris Philharmonie and the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. The Castalian String Quartet performs frequently at the Wigmore Hall in its home city of London. In 2018 they recorded Haydn’s Op.76 quartets for the Wigmore Live label and were joined by pianists Stephen Hough and Cédric Tiberghien, violist Isabel Charisius and clarinetist Michaels Collins for a Brahms and Schumann series in the 2019-20 season. Their next Wigmore Hall cycle will feature all three quartets by Benjamin Britten. The quartet often appears at festivals such as Spoleto USA, Aldeburgh, North Norfolk, Cheltenham, East Neuk, Lockenhaus and Heidelberger Frühling. Recent and upcoming premieres include works by Charlotte Bray, Edmund Finnis, Mark Simpson, Simon Rowland-Jones and Sir Mark-Anthony Turnage.
The Castalian String Quartet’s 2022 release Between Two Words (Delphian Records), presenting music by Orlando di Lasso, Thomas Adès, Ludwig van Beethoven and John Dowland, was given a double five-star review as BBC Music Magazine’s ‘Album of the Month’: “this outstanding disc offers listeners a true philosophical journey…a series of intricately connected works, each performed with rare beauty and originality by a quartet at the height of its powers…[the Heiliger Dankgesang from Beethoven Op.132] is nothing short of a revelation in its lucidity of line and sheer beauty of sound.”
The quartet’s name is derived from the Castalian Spring in the ancient city of Delphi. According to Greek mythology, the nymph Castalia transformed herself into a fountain to evade Apollo’s pursuit, thus creating a source of poetic inspiration for all who drink from her waters. Committed to inspiring a diverse audience for classical music, the Castalians have performed everywhere from the great concert halls to maximum security prisons and even the Colombian rainforest.
This concert forms part of the Hans Keller String Quartet Residency at the Oxford University Faculty of Music. The Faculty are grateful for the generosity of The Cosman Keller Art & Music Trust for their donation to the Castalian String Quartet to support this concert.
To find out more about this residency and other performances, please visit our residency page.