Health & Safety Information  — Updated January 25, 2023

Sunday, April 07, 2024 | 5:30 pm

Ébène Quartet (Baltimore Debut) 

The Helen Caplan Harrison Concert. The Reiko T. and Yuan C. Lee Fund for Outstanding String Performers

Location: Shriver Hall

The Helen Caplan Harrison Concert & The Reiko T. and Yuan C. Lee Fund for Outstanding String Performers

Critics have written of Ébène Quartet performances that it's hard to imagine "playing at once more diverse and more brilliant than this… the possibilities of a string quartet were shown to be boundless" (Bachtrack). "The superb and intensely focused" (New York Times) French ensemble makes its Baltimore Debut with Mozart and Schnittke, and Grieg's only complete quartet, one of this most expressive and richly textured works.  

"A string quartet that can morph into a jazz band." – The New York Times

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Ébène Quartet

Pierre Colombet, violin
Gabriel Le Magadure, violin
Marie Chilemme, viola
Yuya Okamoto, cello

Attending a concert by the Ébène Quartet is a musical and sensual happening. In the past two decades the quartet has set new standards by making familiar repertoire accessible in new ways beyond perfection, and by constantly seeking exchange with the audience. This spring, Yuya Okamoto joined the quartet’s esteemed ranks, adding a new dimension.

After studies with the Quatuor Ysaÿe, Gábor Takács-Nagy, Eberhard Feltz, and György Kurtág, Ébène Quartet had an unprecedented victory at the 2004 ARD International Music Competition. This marked the beginning of its rise, which has culminated in numerous prizes and awards, including the 2007 Borletti-Buitoni Trust, and—as the first ensemble ever—the 2017 Frankfurt Music Prize.

In addition to the traditional repertoire, the Quartet also embraces other styles. What began in 1999 as a distraction in the university’s practice rooms—improvising on jazz standards and pop songs—has become a trademark of Ébène Quartet. The Quartet has released three albums in these genres, Fiction (2010), Brazil (2014), and Eternal Stories (2017). In June 2024, the ensemble presents “Waves,” a new project with the electronic sound artist Xavier Tribolet.

Ébène Quartet’s albums—with recordings of Béla Bartók, Ludwig van Beethoven, Claude Debussy, Franz Joseph Haydn, Gabriel Fauré, Felix Mendelssohn, and Fanny Mendelssohn—have received numerous awards, including from Gramophone, BBC Music, and Midem Classical. It participated in the album Green: Mélodies françaises by Philippe Jaroussky, and released a Franz Schubert album with Matthias Goerne and the Schubert String Quintet with Gautier Capuçon. In spring 2023, the ensemble released a recording of W.A. Mozart’s violin quintets K. 515 and K. 516 with Antoine Tamestit. The album has received accolades such as Choc Classica, Diapason d’Or, and Gramophone’s Recording of the Month.

The Quartet celebrated its 20th anniversary by recording Beethoven’s 16 string quartets. For its Beethoven Around the World Project, the Quartet traveled across six continents between May 2019 and January 2020, and performed the complete cycle in major European venues, including the Philharmonie de Paris and the Alte Oper Frankfurt.

The musicians of Ébène Quartet have been successful in reaching a wide audience of young listeners. In January 2021, the ensemble was appointed by the Hochschule für Musik und Theater München to establish a string quartet class as part of the newly founded Ébène Quartet Academy.

Since last season, Ébène Quartet has been performing a shared quartet cycle with the Belcea Quartet at the Konzerthaus in Vienna. During the 2023-24 season, Ébène Quartet is the resident ensemble for the Philharmonie Luxembourg, where it will perform chamber music concerts and present John Adams’s Absolute Jest with the Luxembourg Philharmonic, and for Radio France, for which the group performs three concerts in Paris. Further highlights of the season include concerts at the Salzburg Festival, the Berliner Philharmonie, the Megaron Athens, London’s Wigmore Hall, and New York’s Carnegie Hall.

The musicians of Ébène Quartet perform on instruments and bows generously loaned through the Beare’s International Violin Society, by Gabriele Forberg-Schneider, and by the Stradivari Foundation Habisreutinger. Its website is www.quatuorebene.com.

"superb and intensely focused" —The Times

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)

String Quartet in D major, K. 575

View Notes

Alfred Schnittke (1934-1998)

String Quartet No. 3

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Edvard Grieg (1843-1907)

String Quartet in G minor, Op. 27

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Program Subject to Change Without Notice