About

BORROMEO STRING QUARTET

Ensemble-in-Residence at the New England Conservatory of Music
Ensemble-in-Residence at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
Ensemble-in-Residence at the Taos School of Music summer program

Winner of the 2007 Avery Fisher Career Grant
Winner of Lincoln Center's Martin E. Segal Award (2001)
Winner of the Cleveland Quartet Award (1998)
Ensemble-in-Residence for National Public Radio's Performance Today (1998-99)
Top Prize at the International String Quartet Competition in Evian, France (1990)
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The visionary performances of the Borromeo String Quartet have established it as one of the most important string quartets of our time. The Chicago Tribune calls the Borromeo “a remarkably accomplished string quartet, not simply for its high technical polish and refined tone, but more importantly for the searching musical insights it brings.” The San Diego Reader calls their performances “a musical experience of luminous beauty,” and the Boston Globe says "Each of the greatest string quartets has redefined what the possibilities of the medium are: through the perfection of its ensemble and intonation, through its poise and its passion, the Borromeos are recreating the medium anew and we are lucky to be here to hear it."

Audiences and critics alike champion the Borromeo's ability to bring back the contemporary fire to often-heard repertoire, while making even the most challenging new music approachable. "To hear and see them perform has always felt to me like taking a private tour through a composer's mind," says Cathy Fuller, Classical New England host on WGBH, Boston's famed NPR station. "They probe and analyze from every angle until they discover how to best unveil the psychological, physical, and spiritual states that a great piece of music evokes. They’re champions of new music…but they also thrive on making the old classics sound vital and fresh."

The Borromeo is redefining the classical music landscape through the pioneering the use of computers that enable each musician to perform entirely from full four-part scores instead of individual parts, a revealing and transformative experience which has never before been possible. The group often features onstage projections of handwritten manuscripts by composers like Beethoven, Schubert, and Bartok to vividly illustrate the creative process hard at work, a practice that has excited audiences of all ages.

"The digital tide washing over society is lapping at the shores of classical music. The Borromeo players have embraced it in their daily musical lives like no other major chamber music group," says New York Times writer Dan Wakin in his Arts & Leisure story on the quartet, “Bytes and Beethoven.”

The ensemble makes its own concert recordings and videos while on tour, and in 2003 started The Living Archive, an on-demand recording project that made it possible for listeners to experience many of the quartet's concerts around the world. 

Their use of technology when teaching and in virtual distance learning classes is proving to make classical music very relevant to students who are growing up in today's digital age.

The Borromeo has been the quartet-in-residence at the New England Conservatory of Music for more than twenty years and collaborates extensively with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center in New York, and the Library of Congress in Washington, D. C. Its long-standing residency at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum has been called “one of the defining experiences of civilization in Boston” [Boston Globe]. The can be heard throughout the year on National Public Radio and was ensemble-in-residence for NPR's Performance Today in 1998 and 1999.

They have been heard in the most of the great concert halls around the world, including the Suntory Hall, Daiichi Seimei Hall, the Concertgebouw, Wigmore Hall, Berlin’s Philharmonie, and the Opéra national de Paris-Bastille. In the United States the group is a favorite at the Library of Congress, Carnegie and Alice Tully Halls, Jordan Hall, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. It has been invited to perform at music festivals around the world including the Spoleto Festival in Italy, the Orlando Festival in the Netherlands, the Stavanger Festival in Norway, Music Isle Festival in Korea, and in North America at the Rockport, La Jolla, Music@Menlo, Ravinia, Maverick, Mt. Dessert, Vancouver and Tanglewood music festivals, among many others.

The Borromeo has collaborated with wide range of artists, including Angélique Kidjo and Branford Marsalis; violinist Midori; pianists Christoph Eschenbach, Leon Fleisher, Gary Graffman, Menahem Pressler, and Peter Serkin; sopranos Dawn Upshaw and Audra McDonald; clarinetists Richard Stoltzman and David Shifrin; and cellist Bernard Greenhouse, as well as members of the Brentano, Guarneri, Juilliard, and Cleveland string quartets.

Highlights of her 2013-14 season include the World Premiere of Lera Auerbach’s String Quartet No. 7, "Désir", performances of the Bela Bartok quartet cycle at the Montreal Chamber Music Festival and in Boston at Jordan Hall, and appearances at the Orquesta Sinfonica de Xalapa Festival in Mexico, the Bermuda Festival of the Performing Arts, and the Terra di Siena Chamber Music Festival in Tuscany. The season welcomes multiple performances with clarinetist Richard Stoltzman, and special collaborations with the Bill T. Jones Dance Company, the Chicago Chamber Musicians, and also with cellist Antonio Lysy in a special multimedia production, Te Amo, Argentina.

Recent highlights include a two-week residency at Suntory Hall in Tokyo to perform the complete Beethoven String Quartets, a cycle of Dvorak quartets at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, the complete Bartok quartet cycle at the Curtis Institute of Music, performances at the International MIMO Festival in Brazil, the Morgan Library in New York, the Freer Gallery in Washington, D.C., and in Nara, Beijing and Shanghai.

The Borromeo Quartet have received many awards throughout their illustrious 24 year career, including Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Career Grant, and Martin E. Segal Award, Chamber Music America’s Cleveland Quartet Award, the Young Concert Artists International Auditions, and top prize at the International String Quartet Competition in Evian, France.

 

News Quotes

"A remarkably accomplished string quartet, not simply for its high technical polish and refined tone, but more importantly for the searching musical insights it brings."
– The Chicago Tribune

"A musical experience of luminous beauty"
- The San Diego Reader

"Each of the greatest string quartets has redefined what the possibilities of the medium are: through the perfection of its ensemble and intonation, through its poise and its passion, the Borromeos are recreating the medium anew and we are lucky to be here to hear it."
- The Boston Globe

"The digital tide washing over society is lapping at the shores of classical music. The Borromeo players have embraced it in their daily musical lives like no other major chamber music group."
- New York Times

“It would not be an exaggeration for me to say that much of this book has come from trying to figure out what makes the Borromeo Quartet’s performances so emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually captivating.”
– from ‘Music and the Soul' by author Kurt Leland
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