Haydn, Bartok and Brahms in a Festive Concert
Commemorating the 30th Anniversary of the Quartet
With Pianist Kirill Gerstein
May 25 at the Israeli Opera
Addition Concert on May 24 at the Israel Festival, Jerusalem
The final concert in the Israeli Opera's Music of all Sorts series features the renowned Hagen Quartet, who is celebrating these days its 30th anniversary, with pianist Kirill Gerstein.
The Hagen Quartet (the three siblings, violinist Lukas, violist Veronika and cellist Clemens with violinist Rainer Schmidt) will perform quartets by Haydn and Bartok as well as the Brahms piano quintet with pianist Kirill Gerstein.
The unparalleled career of the Hagen Quartet - which is now nearing three decades
- began in 1981 when the ensemble garnered two awards at the Lockenhaus Chamber Music Festival. Only one year later, when the members of the quartet were all still under the age of 20, they won Yehudi Menuhin’s prestigious Portsmouth String Quartet Competition. These honours were followed by awards in Evian, Bordeaux and Banff (Canada). Praised for their unique, finely nuanced timbre and the engaging immediacy of their ensemble sound, in 1985 the Hagen Quartet signed an exclusive contract with Deutsche Gramophon (resulting in over 45 CDs) and began recording of their award-winning discography.
The siblings Lukas, Angelika, Veronika and Clemens Hagen first began to perform music together while still attending elementary school. At the beginning of their career, Annette Bik took over the position of second violin from Angelika Hagen.
Since 1987 the Hagen Quartet has featured Rainer Schmidt as the quartet’s second violinist. In their native city of Salzburg they studied with Nikolaus Harnoncourt, whose well-founded period performance practice and Klangrede (sounding speech) became the foundation of their performing style. The most influential mentors who have had an impact on their repertoire and performance style were Walter Levin (Cincinnati), Hatto Beyerle (Hanover/Vienna) and Heinrich Schiff, the last of whom with Mitsuko Uchida, Maurizio Pollini, Sabine Meyer and Jörg Widmann appears regularly in chamber music performances with the Hagen Quartet.
Their concert repertoire, as is also true of their compelling discography, brings together unusual, captivating, and intelligently combined programming from Haydn to Kurtág, covering the entire history of the string quartet. The Hagen Quartet continuously maintains close ties with contemporary composers, whether by performing their works or commissioning works and then giving the premiere performance.
"The control of colour and phrasing and the superb ensemble are all predictable Hagen qualities, but the way in which they characterise each work without emotional exaggeration or special pleading is also a model of its kind" (The Guardian)
"The Hagen quartet plays with sensitivity, serving the music with distinction." (BBC Music Magazine)
Russian born pianist Kirill Gerstein is one of today’s most intriguing young musicians. His masterful technique, musical curiosity, and probing interpretations have led to explorations of classical music and jazz, advanced degrees by the age of 20, a professorship in piano by the age of 27, and a full performance schedule at the world’s major music centres and festivals. Born in 1979, Gerstein attended one of Russia's special music schools for gifted children and taught himself to play jazz by listening to his parents’ extensive record collection. He came to the USA at 14 to continue his studies in jazz piano as the youngest student ever to attend Boston’s Berklee College of Music. However, he also continued working on the classical piano repertoire. Following his second summer at the Boston University program at Tanglewood, he decided to focus mainly on classical music and moved to New York City to attend the Manhattan School of Music, where he studied with Solomon Mikowsky and earned Bachelors and Masters of Music degrees. He continued his studies with Dmitri Bashkirov in Madrid and Ferenc Rados in Budapest. Kirill Gerstein was awarded First Prize at the 2001 Arthur Rubinstein Piano Competition in Tel Aviv and since then his career has brought him to playing recitals and concerts with all leading orchestras and conductors in all the major music centres of the world. In 2010 received the prestigious Gilmore Artist Award, only the sixth musician to have been so honoured. The Gilmore Artist Award is given to an exceptional pianist who, regardless of age or nationality, possesses broad and profound musicianship and charisma and who desires and can sustain a career as a major international concert artist.
The Hagen Quartet with Kirill Gerstein
Lukas Hagen, violin
Rainer Schmidt, violin
Veronika Hagen, viola
Clemens Hagen, cello
Haydn – String Quartet Opus 54 No. 1
Bartok – String Quartet No. 2 Opus 17
Brahms – Piano Quintet in f minor Opus 34