Calidore String Quartet Wins BBC Music Magazine’s 2024 Chamber Award for Beethoven: The Late Quartets

19 Apr 2024

The Calidore String Quartet is the recipient of the BBC Music Magazine 2024 Chamber Award for their recording of The Late Quartets of Beethoven. The three-disc set of Beethoven’s Quartets Nos. 12-16, released in February 2023 on Signum Classics, was lauded by BBC Music Magazine with this March 2023 five-star review:  

“The New York- based Calidore Quartet gives meticulously detailed performances of Beethoven’s late string quartets, with playing of quite remarkable technical accomplishment. I’m not sure, for instance, that I’ve ever heard the tremendously challenging Op. 133 Fugue (the original finale of the Quartet Op. 130) done with greater precision and clarity, and it makes for quite overwhelming experience… The players have clearly thought long and hard about these masterpieces of the string quartet repertoire, and they have produced performances that can stand comparison with the best.” 

The Calidore String Quartet accept their award at King’s Place in London this evening, where they perform live the Cavatina movement from Beethoven’s String Quartet No. 13 in B-flat Major.   

This honor comes as the Calidore prepare for a 2024/25 season filled with Beethoven including performances of the composer’s complete String Quartet cycle with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center throughout the year, opening with the Early Quartets on October 22nd. The quartet will also be performing the full cycle at the University of Delaware where they were recently appointed to full-time titled positions as Distinguished String Quartet in Residence.  

Beethoven’s Middle Quartets – the next recording in the Calidore’s most ambitious recording project to date of Beethoven’s complete quartets – will be released as a three-disc set on Signum Classics in September of 2024. “In the fourteen years we’ve been working, growing, listening and collaborating with one another, we continually find ourselves drawn to Beethoven’s music for the enduring relevance of his humanistic perspective,” says Calidore violinist Ryan Meehan. The release of Beethoven’s Early Quartets is set to come out in 2025.  

The Calidore String Quartet is recognized as one of the world’s foremost interpreters of a vast chamber music repertory, from the cycles of quartets by Beethoven and Mendelssohn to works of celebrated contemporary voices like György Kurtág, Jörg Widmann, and Caroline Shaw. For more than a decade, the Calidore has enjoyed performances and residencies in the world’s major venues and festivals, released multiple critically acclaimed recordings, and won numerous awards. The Los Angeles Times described the musicians as “astonishing,” their playing “shockingly deep,” approaching “the kind of sublimity other quartets spend a lifetime searching.” The New York Times noted the Quartet’s “deep reserves of virtuosity and irrepressible dramatic instinct,” and the Washington Post wrote that “four more individual musicians are unimaginable, yet these speak, breathe, think and feel as one”.  

The New York City based Calidore String Quartet has appeared in venues throughout North America, Europe, and Asia including Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, Kennedy Center, London’s Wigmore Hall, Berlin’s Konzerthaus, Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, Brussels’ BOZAR, and at major festivals such as the BBC Proms, Verbier, Ravinia, Music@Menlo, Rheingau, and Festspiele Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. Always seeking new commissioning opportunities, the Quartet has given world premieres of works by Caroline Shaw, Anna Clyne, Huw Watkins and Mark-Anthony Turnage and collaborated with artists such as Anne-Sophie Mutter, Anthony McGill, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Marc-André Hamelin, Joshua Bell, Emerson String Quartet, Lawrence Power, David Finckel and Wu Han.   

Highlights of the 2023/24 season have included return appearances at the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and People’s Symphony in New York as well as concerts in Seattle, Palm Beach, Ottawa, Toronto, Kalamazoo and a European tour of United Kingdom, Estonia and Germany. The Calidore team up with pianist and composer Gabriela Montero for a world premiere of her new piano quintet at the Gilmore Piano Festival (MI) and also enjoy collaborations with the violist Matthew Lipman and harpist Bridget Kibbey, with whom they premiered a new work by Sebastian Currier. 

In 2024/25, the Calidore perform the complete String Quartets of Beethoven for the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and the University of Delaware. The Calidore will return to their alma mater, the Colburn School in Los Angeles where they will play the complete cycle of Korngold String Quartets. Other highlights of the 24/25 season include appearances with San Francisco Performances, the Celebrity Series of Boston, the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, the Warsaw Philharmonic and BBC Radio at London’s Wigmore Hall; and premieres and performances of works by Han Lash, Sebastian Currier, Xavier Foley, and Gabriela Montero.  

The Calidore String Quartet’s final two volumes of Beethoven’s complete String Quartets will be released for Signum Records in the 24/25 season. Previous recordings on Signum include Babel with music by Schumann, Shaw and Shostakovich, and Resilience with works by Prokofiev, Janáček, Golijov and Mendelssohn. 

The Calidore String Quartet was founded at the Colburn School in Los Angeles in 2010. Within two years, the quartet won grand prizes in virtually all the major US chamber music competitions, including the Fischoff, Coleman, Chesapeake, and Yellow Springs competitions, and it captured top prizes at the 2012 ARD International Music Competition in Munich and the International Chamber Music Competition Hamburg. The Quartet first made international headlines as the winner of the $100,000 Grand Prize of the 2016 M-Prize International Chamber Music Competition and was the first and only North American ensemble to win the Borletti-Buitoni Trust Fellowship.  The Calidore was also named a BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artist and in 2018, was awarded the Avery Fisher Career Grant, having won the Lincoln Center Emerging Artist Award a year prior. The Calidore is currently in residence with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center in New York. 

The Calidore String Quartet serves as the University of Delaware’s Distinguished String Quartet in Residence. In this capacity they direct the UD School of Music’s Graduate String Quartet Fellowship and serve as artistic directors of the University of Delaware Chamber Music Series. Prior to taking this position, they served as artist-in-residence at the University of Toronto, University of Michigan and Stony Brook University. The Calidore is grateful to have been mentored by the Emerson Quartet, Quatuor Ébène, Andre Roy, Arnold Steinhardt, David Finckel, Günter Pichler, Guillaume Sutre, Paul Coletti, and Ronald Leonard. 

The Calidore String Quartet plays the following instruments: 

Jeffrey Myers plays on a violin by Giovanni Battista Guadagnini  c. 1775 “Eisenberg,” owned by a private benefactor and bows by Dominique Peccatte and Francois Tourte.  
Ryan Meehan plays a violin by Vincenzo Panormo c.1775 and a bow by Joseph Henry. 
Jeremy Berry plays a viola by Umberto Muschietti c.1903 and a bow by Pierre Simon. 
Estelle Choi plays a cello by Charles Jacquot c.1830