Ébèné Quartet

Pierre Colombet, violin
Gabriel Le Magadure, violin
Mathieu Herzog, viola
Raphaël Merlin, cello

Saturday, August 18, 2012, 6:30 pm

Jazz at the Maverick



The program will be announced from the stage

There will be no intermission



Sunday, August 19, 4 pm

Ébèné Quartet
Music of Mozart, Fauré, and Tchaikovsky


next week

Two Pianos at the Maverick

Saturday, August 25, 6:30 pm

Jazz at the Maverick

Bill Charlap and Renee Rosnes, pianos

Sunday, August 26, 4 pm

Frederic Chiu and Andrew Russo, pianos
Music of Debussy, Ravel, Gershwin, and Philip Glass




Program Notes © 2012 by Miriam Villchur Berg*


After its dramatic 2004 triumph at the ARD international competition in Munich, where the quartet was also awarded five additional special prizes, the Ébèné Quartet (Pierre Colombet, violin; Gabriel Le Magadure, violin; Mathieu Herzog, viola; and Raphaël Merlin, cello) went on to win the Forberg-Schneider Foundation’s Belmont Prize in 2005. It has since remained close to the foundation, which very generously arranged to have the quartet outfitted with several unique Italian instruments, on loan to the quartet members from private owners.

The Quatuor Ébèné has studied extensively with the Ysaÿe Quartet in Paris as well as with the eminent Gábor Takács, Eberhard Feltz, and György Kurtág. From “promising young ensemble,” the Quatuo rÉbèné has grown to become one of today’s foremost quartets on the international scene. Recently the foursome was specially selected to take part in the BBC’s “New Generation Artists” program, closely supported by the Borletti-Buitoni Foundation, which sponsored their first, critically acclaimed live recording of works by Haydn as well as a second CD of works of Bartók. There is, in French ensemble music today, a certain élan, which suits modern chamber music particularly well. This new generation of French musicians, their hearts full of passion for tradition, have been captivating audiences with great success, converting listeners into avid fans of the chamber music genre.

During the 2007-2008 season, the quartet was heard throughout Europe, Asia, and the US in major concert halls including Vienna’s Musikverein, Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, Berlin’s Philarmonic, and New York’s Carnegie Hall. In 2009 the Ébènés were also featured as part of Wigmore Hall’s Haydn Cycle in London.

The quartet’s Debussy, Ravel and Fauré recording was recently awarded “Recording of the Year” by the magazine Gramophone as well as “Chamber Music Record of the Year” by ECHO-classik. The Ébènés’ latest recording of works by Brahms, featuring pianist Akiko Yamamoto, demonstrates once again the quartet’s ease in a range of styles.

These four French musicians have class and are perhaps the most creative ensemble on the international chamber music scene today. No other quartet moves with such ease and enthusiasm between different styles.

The quartet’s traditional repertoire does not suffer in any way from its love of jazz. On the contrary, it would seem that the Ébènés’ tendency to delve into the “other side” of music inspires their work in untangling and giving new life to classical works. During its performance at the Hitzacker summer festival in 2009, for example, the quartet was heard playing a quartet by Haydn with such spontaneity, it gave the impression that this music, over two hundred years old, was somehow just composed.

A Jazz and World Music album, entitled Fiction, was released in the fall of 2010, nearly hit the top of the charts, and received an ECHO award. In 2011, Virgin Classics released a live DVD of Fiction, recorded at the Folies Bergères in Paris. For their latest release, the group returns to its focus on classical music with an all-Mozart CD. The Ébèné String Quartet has recently begun teaching at the Colburn Conservatory in Los Angeles.




All program notes are copyright Miriam Villchur Berg. It is permissible to quote short excerpts for reviews. For permission to quote more extensive portions, or to copy,  publish, or make other use of these program notes, please contact her at miriam@hvc.rr.com Program Notes © 2012 by Miriam Villchur Berg