The Auryn’s main mentors were the Amadeus Quartet, and the Guarneri Quartet with which they studied between 1982 and ’87 in Cologne, Germany, and at the University of Maryland, USA. Claudio Abbado was also an important influence on the Quartet’s musical development, under whose baton they performed as string principles in the European Union Youth Orchestra.
The Quartet won its first prizes at the London International Competition and the ARD Munich competition, both in 1982, only one year after the group’s inception. The ensemble also won the main prize at the European Broadcasting Competition in Bratislava in 1989.
Invitations to most international music festivals followed in quick succession: Lockenhaus, Salzburger Festspiele, Edinburgh International Festival, Musiktage Mondsee, Schwetzinger Festspiele, and Stavangar festivals just to name a few. Recent tours have taken the Quartet from the Lincoln Center in New York, to the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, and also to the Wigmore Hall in London, where they performed a complete cycle of the Beethoven quartets.
The Auryn Quartet has had many fruitful musical partnerships over the years, with performers such as Menahem Pressler, Tabea Zimmerman, Alexander Lonquich, Sharon Kam, Nobuko Imai, Christian Poltéra, Peter Orth, Michael Tree, Martin Fröst, Liza Ferschtman, Cecile Licad, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Christine Schäfer and many others. The Quartet now runs its own annual chamber music festival in the Venetian town of Este in Italy (Incontri Internazionali) and is Artistic Director of the Musiktage Mondsee in Austria.
The Auryns have a compelling discography, working exclusively with the Tacet company since 2000. The most recent and ambitious recording project is the edition of all 68 Haydn quartets, which was finished in September 2010.
Three complete concert-series of the Haydn quartets, each comprising 18 concerts, were performed by the Auryns in Detmold, in Cologne (West German Radio), and Padova, Italy, in commemoration of the Haydn bicentennial year 2009.
The four musicians of the Auryn Quartet play on wonderful Italian instruments: a Stradivari violin (1722, ex-Joachim), a Petrus Guarneri violin, a Brothers Amati viola (1616) and a Niccolo Amati cello. Since 2003 the Auryn Quartet has been sharing its wealth of experience with musicians of younger generations, in the form of a teaching position at the Music Academy in Detmold, Germany, where they are professors for chamber-music.
28 YEARS of AURYN !!!
(Pronunciation : Au-, rhymes with wow!, -ryn rhymes with queen; the stress is on Au-)
The Auryn Quartet has just observed its 28th birthday in the same formation…..almost 3 decades of music-making !
The most obvious Auryn News at the moment is its dedication to Haydn ! The Quartet is performing all Haydn´s string quartets in Padova for the Amici della Musica, and in Cologne, for the WDR radio.
Complete Beethoven cycles are also on the Auryn´s busy schedule for the future, taking place in London (Wigmore Hall ) and in Perugia, also for their Amici della Musica.
The Auryn Quartet´s recording (on Tacet) of all the Beethoven quartets was released to overwhelmingly ecstatic reviews:
“…At times, the Auryn performances seem so close to what one sees unfolding on the printed score that it is possible to believe you are hearing directly what Beethoven had in mind. Perhaps only the Busch Quartet had this kind of liberating vision.” (The Gramophone)
Not a comparison to be ashamed of!
Following on from that success, 2009 sees the Auryns recording the complete Haydn quartets, also on Tacet (yes, all 68 of them!), to commemorate the bicentenary of the composer´s death. The first reactions are extremely positive :
„There is no shortage of great Haydn quartet recordings, though few combine elegance and energy with such richly magesterial drama as this one, and none is more superbly recorded „ (Laurence Vittes, AudiophileAudition.com, on the Op.74, February 12th 2009)
Another significant development in the Auryn annual calendar, is its Festivals! In 2007 a new chamber-music festival was launched by the Quartet in historic Este in Italy. This has become a regular event, and in 2009 (see Auryn Festival Link) the festival takes place from 21st to 28th June. The Auryns will be joined by pianists Cecile Licad and Peter Orth, clarinettist Michael Collins and violist Matthias Buchholz. So please come to see the Auryns and friends at work in beautiful Este.
And from 2010 the Auryn Quartet is delighted to be able to take over as Artistic Adviser to the Musiktage Mondsee, whose previous directors were Andras Schiff, Christian Altenberger and Heinrich Schiff.
Dear web-readers and listeners, we hope to see you at some of our concerts in the coming season, so that we can celebrate our next decade of music-making with you personally, and thank you for your continuing support and interest!
In March 2009
And here are some other biographical details that might interest you :
The initial, and ultimately most profound influence on the Auryn Quartet´s evolution was the time spent in Cologne studying and playing with members of the Amadeus Quartet. Five years were spent in monthly exchanges with those great masters. A two-semester sabbatical at the University of Maryland, USA (in !987) with the Guarneri Quartet cemented the emerging Auryn style.
Of course, the obligatory competitions (London, Munich ARD, Bratislava (EU)Broadcasting Competition) helped the Quartet gain recognition during the early ´80s, and being signed on for several seasons by Columbia Artists Management (USA) ensured the break-through onto the world´s stages.
Since then, the Auryn Quartet has been ever-present on the international music scene . At this point it seems almost unnecessary to mention the countless festivals to which the Quartet has been invited ( Salzburg, Edinburgh, Lockenhaus, Gstaad, Mondsee, Beethoven-Fest Bonn, Les Arcs, Montepulciano etc.), and the numerous chamber-music partners the group has had over the decades ( Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Christine Schaefer, Peter Orth, Alexander Lonquich, Nobuko Imai, Tabea Zimmermann, Eduard Brunner, Michael Collins, Christian Poltéra, Christian Altenburger, David Soyer and Michael Tree, to name but a few !) but it is interesting nonetheless!
About half the Auryns´ working time is spent travelling abroad, touring Great Britain (memorable concerts at the Wigmore Hall in London, and at the Edinburgh Festival), Italy, Austria, Switzerland and of course Canada and the USA . In Washington, D.C. the Quartet is artistic adviser to the Schubert Festival, an annual event held in Georgetown University´s historic Gaston Hall, and is a regular performer at the Frick Collection series in New York.
Apart from the above mentioned Beethoven and Haydn CD recordings, the recording of the complete Schubert string quartets on cpo also garnered rave reviews, winning the prestigious French award, the Diapason d´Or. The CD of all Schumann string quartets prompted The Strad magazine to remark: “The playing, by a group that has been garnering golden opinions for two decades, is absolutely first rate.”
The complete Brahms quartets were released last year, and the Schumann piano quintet/quartet (with Peter Orth) will be on the market later in 2009.
Teaching and coaching has become an integral part of the Quartet´s daily life in latter years. In 2004 and 2008 the Auryns held two-week symposiums in Montepulciano for the European Academy, and the four musicians have been awarded professorships on the string faculty of the Musikhochschule in Detmold, Germany, where they teach a huge variety of chamber-music (by the way: open to non-resident students as well.. please apply!).
In March 2009
“The Auryn plays with an enviable balance of abandon and discipline” American Record Guide
“In beauty and confidence of its playing, the Auryn somewhat recalled the now-disbanded Cleveland Quartet” San Antonio Express
“shared spirituality” The New York Times
“One left the Wigmore thinking of nothing but Schubert, for the Auryn Quartet gave a compellingly dramatic and magnificently assured performance.” The Times, London
“… The excellent reputation of this Cologne ensemble is based upon perfect intonation, exquisite ensemble, a pleasing and sonorous timbre, and stylistically accurate, intense interpretations.” FonoForum
Depuis plus de deux décennies, Auryn, l’amulette qui assure le don de l’intuition à son porteur dans le roman de Michael Ende l’Histoire sans fin, est le symbole de l’un des quatuors les plus brillants de sa génération. Le Quatuor Auryn a étudié auprès du Quatuor Amadeus à Cologne, puis du Quatuor Guarneri à l’Université du Maryland, remportant plusieurs prix internationaux, entre autres a Munich et Portsmouth. Il s’est produit sur les plus grandes scènes internationales et à des festivals comme Salzbourg, Lockenhaus, Bregenz, Lucerne, Gstaad ou Kuhmo. Il se produit également régulièrement en Amérique du Nord (Frick Collection et Carnegie Hall de New York, Philadelphie, Berkeley, Los Angeles, Chicago, Québec, Montréal, Ottowa, Vancouver,…), ainsi qu’en Amerique de Sud, Australie et le Japon. Il est en résidence au Festival Schubert de l’Université de Georgetown, à Washington, aux concerts d’été à Traunstein et au Festival de Mondsee en Autriche. En 2000 il a débuté au conservatoire Tchaikovsky à Moscou.
L’ été dernier il a fait partie au Festival de Salzbourg, au Klangbogen de Vienne et au festival d’ Edinbourg et il a donné trois concerts au cadre d’un cycle Mendelssohn au Concertgebouw Amsterdam et à Duesseldorf.. En 2005 on pourra écouter le Quatuor dans six concerts avec l’ intégrale des quatuors de Beethoven à Washington, DC ainsi que dans un cycle de Schönberg dans la Philharmonie d’ Essen.
Son répertoire est très diversifié, de Beethoven et des romantiques allemands à la musique contemporaine : il a assuré de nombreuses créations mondiales : Cette année a vu les premières des quatuors a cordes de Peter Michael Hamel, Maria Cécilia Villanueva, Charlotte Seither et Brett Dean , une première de Sydney Corbett suivra.
Son enregistrement de l’intégrale des quatuors de Schubert (CPO) a été récompensé d’un Diapason d’or. Ses autres CD, notamment Wolf et Schumann (CPO), Debussy, Ravel et Fauré (tacet) ont également été très bien accueillis. Le Quatuor Auryn vient de sortir un disque consacré au compositeur israélien Gideon Lewenssohn, avec le pianiste Alexander Lonquich (ECM) ainsi que l’ enregistrement de l’ intégrale des quatuors de Beethoven qui vient d’ obtenir le prix « Classic Internet Award « . Paraîtront prochainement les quintettes avec piano de Brahms et Schumann (Tacet), avec Peter Orth.
Les pianistes Peter Orth et Alexander Lonquich sont parmi les artistes avec qui le Quatuor Auryn a jou é en formation de quintette. D’autres partenaires sont Paul Meyer, Gérard Poulet, Jean-François Heisser, Emmanuel Strosser, Gérard Causs é, Tabea Zimmermann ainsi que les membres des Quatuors Amadeus et Guaneri.
Dal 2002, la collaborazione con la casa discografica Tacet è stata premiata con un Diapason D’Or- l’integrale di Schubert-, il Premio della critica discografica tedesca – le opere di Hugo Wolf – e il CD Classic Award. Nel corso del 2004, sempre a cura della Tacet è stata ultimata la registrazione di tutti i quartetti per archi di L.v.Beethoven.
Estratti da alcune recensioni :
“Il Quartetto Auryn suona con invidiabile equilibrio tra abbandono e rigore”
“Il Quartetto Auryn, per la bellezza e la sicurezza delle sue esibizioni ricorda il Quartetto Cleveland
(San Antonio Express)
“Abbiamo lasciato la Wigmore pensando solo a Schubert, restituitoci dall’Auryn con una performance drammatica e disinvolta, in modo irresistibile e grandioso “
(The Times, Londra)
“L’eccellente reputazione di questo ensemble di Colonia si basa su una perfetta intonazione, su un insieme squisito, gradevole timbro sonoro ed interpretazioni stilisticamente accurate ed intense“