The College is delighted to share that we now have a Quartet-in-Residence.
The Fitzwilliam String Quartet (FSQ)'s members have joined us as Fellow Commoners and will present their first concert on 8 January 2022, organised by Clare Hall’s Music Committee.
Alan George, a founding member of the Quartet, comments:
'We are deeply honoured to have been elected Fellow Commoners of Clare Hall. This marks a high point of the FSQ’s 52 years, coming as it does while the group emerges from months of Covid-enforced silence. Indeed, our founding members first sat down together in the Gaskoin Room at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge in October 1968, as undergraduates during their inaugural term. Our first concert took place at Churchill the following March, making the FSQ one of the longest-established string quartets in the world, and possibly unique in having reached a half-century with an original player still on board.'
About the FSQ
'The Fitzwilliam String Quartet, in my opinion, is, and has been for many years, Britain’s premier string quartet ensemble.' - Jerry Dubins, Fanfare magazine, USA
International recognition came early for the FSQ as the first group to record and perform all fifteen Shostakovich string quartets, drawing on the players' personal connection with the composer. Shostakovich travelled to York to hear FSQ’s performance of his thirteenth quartet, and this musical friendship (the composer’s own word) prospered from then on.
The FSQ has appeared regularly across the world, while making several award-winning recordings for Decca, Linn, and Divine Art. A long-term ambition to record Beethoven and Schubert on gut strings – following the success of previous discs on historical instruments – was finally initiated during their fiftieth anniversary season, with recordings of Schubert’s last four quartets (the C minor and G major are currently being released). The FSQ remains one of the few prominent quartets to play on older set-ups, yet simultaneously bringing about the addition of over 60 new works to the repertoire.
Having been Quartet-in-Residence at York for twelve years, at Warwick for three, and at Bucknell, Pennsylvania, USA from 1978, their university work continues at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge; at St Andrews; and now at Clare Hall. They have also been granted their own annual chamber music festival at Hay-on-Wye. The quartet’s anniversary season itself included a concert back in Cambridge in March 2019, 50 years to the day after that debut performance!
'For many years now, Clare Hall has arranged concert programmes played by great performers. This is the first time that the College has formed a connection with a particular ensemble, and with this being the Fitzwilliam Quartet, it has fulfilled its highest hopes. By means of concerts, masterclasses and other events, the Quartet will fast become part of the College's extended family.'
- Robert G. W. Anderson, Chair of Clare Hall Music Committee
Learn more about the FSQ at https://www.fitzwilliamquartet.com/fitzwilliam-quartet.html.
Book tickets for their first Clare Hall concert via Eventbrite.
Details on concerts beyond January will be released in the coming weeks.
For media enquiries, please email Katherine Selby, Communications & Marketing Manager.
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Photo: Glen T Photography