Lukas Hagen, violin; Rainer Schmidt, violin; Veronika Hagen, viola; Clemens Hagen, cello
The unparalleled career of the Hagen Quartet - which is now nearing the three decade
March - 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 honors 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 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.