The Oxford University Faculty of Music is delighted to announce that the Castalian String Quartet will become ensemble in residence at the Faculty for the next three academic years. The residency will be established in memory of the musician, writer and broadcaster Hans Keller, and the quartet will promote his work in relation to the string quartet.

The quartet will integrate a diverse range of creative projects with an annual concert series. Over the course of their residence, their recitals will feature masterpieces from the string quartet canon but also emphasise the work of marginalised composers.

Programming choices will feed into education and outreach initiatives, offering stimulating material for school workshops and interdisciplinary explorations. The quartet aspire to develop the chamber musicians and composers of tomorrow through masterclasses, private lessons, and on-stage and off-stage collaborations.

The quartet’s projects will also feed into academic research within the Faculty of Music, through pre-concert talks and public seminars which cover topics relating to the work of our academics, including Laura Tunbridge’s Major Research Fellowship from the Leverhulme Trust, A Social and Sonic History of the String Quartet.

Many of the residency activities will be open to the public, with the aim of engaging and building an audience beyond the traditional concert setting.

The Faculty’s new Director of Musical Performance and Performance Studies Rosalind Ventris writes:

‘I have long admired the Castalian String Quartet’s musicianship, energy and passion, and I’m absolutely delighted that they have been appointed as String Quartet in Residence here at Oxford. Their dedication to their craft will no doubt inspire our students and will greatly enrich musical life across the University and the wider community. Their residency will not only be in tribute to the memory of Hans Keller but will also incorporate his writings in a fascinating synthesis of performance and scholarship. We are extremely grateful to The Cosman Keller Art & Music Trust for supporting this exciting new venture.’

Named 2019 Royal Philharmonic Society Young Artist of the Year, the Castalian String Quartet’s recent and forthcoming highlights include debut invitations to Carnegie Hall, Vienna Konzerthaus, Paris Philharmonie, Auditorium du Louvre, Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Lucerne Chamber Music Society, Brussels Flagey, Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Saffron Hall, and the Aldeburgh, East Neuk, Spoleto, North Norfolk, Heidelberg Spring, Rheingau, Mosel, and Dresden festivals.

Formed in 2011, the Castalian String Quartet studied with Oliver Wille of the Kuss Quartet at the Hannover Hochschule für Musik, soon winning 1st Prize at the 2015 Lyon Chamber Music Competition and 3rd Prize at the 2016 Banff International String Quartet Competition. Their influential teachers to date include Simon Rowland-Jones, David Waterman, and Isabel Charisius. In 2016, the Quartet were selected by the Young Classical Artists Trust, and more recently were named recipients of the inaugural Merito String Quartet Award/Valentin Erben Prize and a 2018 Borletti-Buitoni Trust Fellowship.

In only a few seasons, the quartet have made critically-acclaimed debuts at New York’s Lincoln Center, Banff International String Quartet Festival, the Vancouver Recital Series, Montreal’s Salle Bourgie, and The Philips Collection in Washington D.C. Other highlights include performances at the Hamburg Chamber Music Series, International Musikfest Goslar, Sommerliche Musiktage Hitzacker, and the Bath, Cheltenham, North Norfolk, Peasmarsh, and Winchester festivals. They were also the resident ensemble at the Esbjerg International Chamber Music Festival in Denmark. Their many notable collaborators have included Aleksander Madzar, Alasdair Beatson, Simon Rowland-Jones, Daniel Lebhardt and Olivier Stankiewicz.

The Faculty are grateful for the generosity of The Cosman Keller Art & Music Trust for their donation to the Castalian Quartet to support the residency.

Full details of the Castalian Quartet’s public events will be available to view at www.music.ox.ac.uk/events

Photo: Paul Marc Mitchell

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