Dante Biography

The Dante Quartet, one of the UK’s finest ensembles, is known for its imaginative programming and impassioned performances. The quartet was founded in 1995 and chose its name to reflect the idea of an epic and adventurous journey. The Dante Quartet has been honoured with the Royal Philharmonic Society Award for Chamber Music and has also received international awards for its recordings. The wide age-range of the Dante Quartet’s members helps to create a harmonious and exciting blend, marrying youthful enthusiasm with richness of experience and consummate technical skill.

Frequently heard on Radio 3, the Dante Quartet and has appeared many times at  London’s Wigmore Hall and Kings Place, as well as at the UK’s foremost festivals and music societies. Abroad, the quartet has played in France, Germany,  Holland, Spain, Switzerland, Finland, the Czech Republic and Poland, and is about to make its first tour of Japan in November 2016.

The Dante Quartet has made a series of acclaimed recordings for Hyperion, winning the BBC Music Magazine Award and the French Diapaison d’Or for its disc of quartets by Fauré and Franck. The quartet has also recorded for Signum with celebrated tenor Andrew Kennedy, and is now embarking on a major project with SOMM label to record the complete quartets of Stanford, many of them unpublished and unjustly neglected. The first of these discs has just been released and is attracting rave reviews.

An enthusiastic participant in residential series designed to deepen musical understanding, the Dante Quartet recently played in a Mendelssohn/Schumann weekend hosted by Richard Wigmore, and is soon to perform the complete cycle of Beethoven’s string quartets in a single weekend, at the invitation of Bromsgrove Music Society. Responding to a growing interest in the Dantes’ Beethoven cycle, future plans include the development of an extended event including dramatised readings, helping to bring Beethoven’s music to a wider audience.

Committed also to teaching, the Dante Quartet has created an annual string quartet course in France and is about to set up a centre for the development of young chamber music groups in Cornwall. The quartet has enjoyed close links with King’s College, Cambridge, collaborating with the celebrated King’s College Choir and creating a concert series combining music with poetry.

New music forms an important strand of the Dante Quartet’s repertoire: commissions and premieres include works by Matthew Taylor, Cheryl Francesco Hoad,  Dmitry Smirnov, Elena and Alissa Firsova, Michael Finnissey and Roxanna Panufnik. In February 2017 the quartet will give the world premiere of a new song cycle for baritone and string quartet, titled “Who Wrote the Book of Love?” This concert at Kings Place will also include two other quartet masterpieces on the theme of Love: Mendelssohn’s A minor quartet and Janacek’s “Intimate Letters”.

In 2004 the Dante Quartet founded its own chamber music festival in the Tamar Valley, presenting classical quartet concerts alongside collaborations with international artists from other disciplines such as folk and jazz. Since then, the Dante Summer Festival has become a thriving annual event, attracting enthusiastic local audiences as well as visitors from all over the world.

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