Danish String Quartet

Danish String Quartet

Biography

FREDERIK ØLAND | Violin
RUNE TONSGAARD SØRENSEN | Violin
ASBJØRN NØRGAARD | Viola
FREDRIK SCHØYEN SJÖLIN | Cello

Embodying the quintessential elements of a chamber music ensemble, the Danish String Quartet has established a reputation for possessing an integrated sound, impeccable intonation and judicious balance. With their technical and interpretive talents matched by an infectious joy for music-making, the quartet is in demand worldwide by concert and festival presenters alike. Since making their debut in 2002 at the Copenhagen Festival, the group of musical friends cultivated a passion for Scandinavian composers. They frequently incorporate these composers into adventurous programs, while also proving skilled and profound performers of the classical masters. In 2012 The New York Times selected the quartet’s concert as a highlight of the year, saying the performance featured: “One of the most powerful renditions of Beethoven’s Opus 132 String Quartet that I’ve heard live or on a recording.” This scope of talent secured them a three-year appointment in the coveted Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s CMS Two program beginning in the 2013-14 season. The quartet was also named as a BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artist for 2013-15.

Upcoming highlights include the quartet’s two-week residency at University of California at Berkeley, their first comprehensive U.S. residency. They are globally in demand with tours bringing them to France, Belgium, Israel and Germany. Performance venues include, among others, Wigmore Hall in London, Paris, Berlin, Brussels, Copenhagen, Stockholm and Glasgow, as well as at the City of London and Cheltenham Festivals, and Lofoten Festival in Norway. With increasing popularity, the quartet is considered one of the most sought-after quartets in the United States; their tours there are currently solidified throughout 2016. Their repertoire is diverse, from Nielsen, Abrahamsen, Adès, Shostakovich to Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Debussy and Haydn. The quartet presented the U.S. premiere of Danish composer Thomas Agerfeldt Olesen’s Quartet No. 7 "The Extinguishable" at the University of Chicago Presents series and subsequently performed this work, as well as traditional Scandinavian folk songs, in concerts across the country. Their musical collaborations have included pianists Gilles Vonsattel, Jon Kimura Parker and Juho Pohjonen, and clarinetist Sebastian Manz.

The Danish String Quartet made their west coast debut at Music@Menlo described by San Francisco Classical Voice as “… a concert of one ravishing performance after another, culminating in the Beethoven, weaving magic over the full house, which gave a genuine standing ovation to the quartet, not one of those half-hearted crouching applauses. No, this was very real, really loud, and more than well-deserved.” They continue to be regular guests at the festival.

Since winning the Danish Radio P2 Chamber Music Competition in 2004, the quartet has been greatly desired throughout Denmark and for the past eight years they have presented the annual DSQ-Festival, a four-day event held in Copenhagen that brings together musical friends the quartet has met on its travels. In 2009 the Danish String Quartet won First Prize in the 11th London International String Quartet Competition, as well as four additional prizes from the same jury.

The Danish String Quartet was awarded First Prize in the Vagn Holmboe String Quartet Competition and the Charles Hennen International Chamber Music Competition in Holland and the Audience Prize in the Trondheim International String Quartet Competition in 2005. They were awarded the 2010 NORDMETALL-Ensemble Prize at the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Festival in Germany and, in 2011, received the prestigious Carl Nielsen Prize.

In 2006, the Danish String Quartet was Danish Radio’s Artist-in-Residence, giving them the opportunity to record all of Carl Nielsen’s string quartets in the Danish Radio Concert Hall, subsequently released to critical acclaim on the Dacapo label in 2007 and 2008. In 2012 the quartet released an equally-acclaimed recording of Haydn and Brahms quartets on the German AVI-music label. Anthony Tommasini of The New York Times said: “What makes the performance special is the maturity and calm of the playing, even during virtuosic passages that whisk by. This is music making of wonderful ease and naturalness...” They recorded works by Brahms and Fuchs with award-winning clarinetist Sebastian Manz at the Bayerische Rundfunk in Munich, released by AVI-music in 2014, and in the same year the quartet launched their recording of Danish folk songs entitled Wood Works, released by the Dacapo label and distributed by Naxos. They recently signed with ECM Records for future recording projects, and will release the first disc in 2016.

Violinists Frederik Øland and Rune Tonsgaard Sørensen and violist Asbjørn Nørgaard met as children at a music summer camp where they played both football and music together, eventually making the transition into a serious string quartet in their teens and studying at Copenhagen’s Royal Academy of Music. In 2008 the three Danes were joined by Norwegian cellist Fredrik Schøyen Sjölin. The Danish String Quartet was primarily taught and mentored by Professor Tim Frederiksen and have participated in master classes with the Tokyo and Emerson String Quartets, Alasdair Tait, Paul Katz, Hugh Maguire, Levon Chilingirian and Gábor Takács-Nagy.

Recordings

Wood Works

Wood Works CD cover

Carl Nielsen String Quartets, vol. 1

Carl Nielsen String Quartets, vol. 1 CD cover

Carl Nielsen String Quartets, vol. 2

Carl Nielsen String Quartets, vol. 2 CD cover

For additional info and reviews, please visit Dacapo Records.