Julian Bliss and the Carducci String Quartet

Special Ensemble


Acclaimed British musicians, clarinettist Julian Bliss and the Carducci String Quartet, come together to present the highlights of the clarinet quintet oeuvre in conjunction with their new CD release on Signum Classics. Following the success of their debut collaboration, Gumboots, the Quintet returns to present the seminal quintets of Mozart and Weber. Having performed together internationally for a number of years, the ensemble will offer a series of programs featuring works from both discs alongside the music of Haydn and Beethoven, in what will be the 250th anniversary of his birth.

About Julian Bliss and the Carducci String Quartet

Julian Bliss is one of the world’s finest clarinettists excelling as a concerto soloist, chamber musician, jazz artist, masterclass leader and tireless musical explorer.  He has inspired a generation of young players as guest lecturer and creator of his Conn-Selmer range of affordable clarinets, and introduced a substantial new audience to his instrument.

In recital and chamber music he has played at most of the world’s leading festivals and venues including Gstaad, Mecklenburg Vorpommern, Verbier, Wigmore Hall (London) and Lincoln Center (New York). As soloist, he has appeared with a wide range of international orchestras, from the Sao Paolo Symphony, Chamber Orchestra of Paris, and Auckland Philharmonia, to the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, London Philharmonic and Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

Album releases receiving rave reviews from critics, album of the week spots and media attention, include his recording of Mozart and Nielsen’s Concertos with the Royal Northern Sinfonia. The latest chamber discs include a new piece for clarinet & string quartet by David Bruce – Gumboots – inspired by the gumboot dancing of miners in South Africa and a recital album of Russian and French composers with American pianist, Bradley Moore.

The Carducci String Quartet has appeared at leading venues worldwide including Wigmore Hall, National Concert Hall Dublin, Tivoli Concert Hall Copenhagen, Carnegie Hall New York, and Library of Congress and John F Kennedy Center in Washington DC. In 2015 the Quartet presented the complete cycle of Shostakovich’s fifteen string quartets across the globe, with a supporting disc released by Signum Classics. The ensemble received a Chamber Music and Song Award from the Royal Philharmonic Society for the project in April 2016.

Acclaimed for its interpretation of contemporary repertoire, the Carducci String Quartet has premièred many especially composed works by composers including Huw Watkins, Huang Ruo, John McCabe, Michael Berkeley, Sven-Ingo Koch. In 2019 they will present three new works: a String Quartet by Karl Jenkins, a Piano Quintet by Kate Whitley, and a new suite for String Quartet by Jonny Greenwood with music from his score to the film There Will Be Blood. In addition to its busy concert. schedule, the Quartet curate festivals both in Cheltenham and Castagneto Carducci in Italy – the town from which it took its name.


“Bliss and the Carduccis do it proud”

The Times

“The slow movement of the Mozart is breathtaking in its tenderness. And the virtuosity of the Weber’s finale is irresistible.”


“Bliss and the Carduccis raised the roof with David Bruce’s Gumboots (2008), which refers to South African labourers’ footwear in flooded gold mines. Its innocent opening, with bass clarinet, is deceptively calm. What follows, with normal clarinet, is a whacky dance that grows increasingly wild, with jazzy syncopation, crazy cross-rhythms, trills and eventually all three together. The enjoyment of all five of these brilliant players was irresistibly infectious.”

The Press

“Riding the Carducci Quartet’s neatly articulated or sensitively sustained accompaniments, Bliss tackles the score with a piercingly pure, vibrato-less tone suitably veiled for the Adagio, yet riding effortlessly to the virtuoso cartwheels near the end of the finale.”

BBC Music Magazine

“aesthetically sensitive and technically excellent”

Classical Ear

More Reviews

“Julian Bliss and the Carducci Quartet are most sensitive and elegiac.”

Financial Times

“… the Carducci players displayed a deep and almost familial sense of unity in everything they played…the ensemble dug into the work with a likeable directness and down-to-earth, relaxed enthusiasm…”

 The Washington Post

“…engaging and immensely enjoyable, due no doubt to the virtuosity and palpable commitment of Bliss and the Carducci Quartet”

MusicWeb International

“aesthetically sensitive and technically excellent […]  This is a performance that carries with it a weight of authority from all musicians”

Classical Ear