leave a comment

The Hagen Quartet is one of today's most distinguished ensembles, praised by The Los Angeles Times as "the ideal string quartet." Opening with Dvořák's tenderhearted Cypresses, they are joined by the astonishing composer and world-class clarinetist Jörg Widmann for the premiere of his own quintet and Mozart's glorious clarinet quintet.

Please note that it is expected that this concert will take place at Shriver Hall. Learn more here.

"It's hard to know what to admire most in the Quartet's playing." —The New York Times


    Hagen Quartet

    Lukas Hagen, violin 
    Rainer Schmidt, violin 
    Veronika Hagen, viola 
    Clemens Hagen, cello

    After recitals given by the “four world-class string players from Salzburg,” rapt audiences remain “entranced several minutes with quasi-absolute stillness in their thoughts, well aware that they have experienced something truly exceptional,” as the press has noted. On these occasions, concertgoers share “the wish that the music would never stop.” 

    For chamber music lovers, the 2017-18 season thus offers a number of welcome opportunities for utter listening enjoyment - “unforgettable moments of sheer musical magic” (Drehpunkt Kultur). The Hagen Quartet will be focusing on Beethoven’s Op. 18 and Anton Webern’s output for string quartet. They will also be directing their attention to Debussy and Ravel, each of whom left only one string quartet to posterity: the Quartet will highlight the nuances of timbre and the concentrated musical details contained in each one of these two masterpieces.

    Once again, in the course of this concert season, the Hagen Quartet’s performance schedule will take them to the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, this time for the opening of the renowned concert hall’s First Biennial String Quartet Festival to be held in January 2018. They are also invited to give a guest performance at Schleswig Holstein Music Festival and will travel to major music capitals such as Berlin, London, Frankfurt, Florence, Vienna, Munich, Hamburg, and Paris. Asia is once more on their tour calendar, including three recitals in Tokyo.

    The Hagen Quartet’s most recent recording, featuring the Mozart String Quintets K.387 and K.458, was awarded the Diapason d'Or and the Choc of Classica Magazine (France), as well as the coveted German ECHO Klassik Prize (2016) for Best Chamber Music Recording of the 17th-18th Centuries. The current season will see the long-awaited release of the Hagen Quartet’s new album with works by Brahms, featuring pianist Kirill Gerstein, on the Myrios Classics music label.

    In 2011, the Hagen Quartet celebrated their 30th anniversary with two recordings for Myrios Classics featuring works by Mozart, Webern, Beethoven, Grieg and the Brahms Clarinet Quintet (with Jörg Widmann). That same year, the Hagen Quartet won the ECHO Klassik Prize as Ensemble of the Year; in 2012, the quartet was named Honorary Member of the Vienna Konzerthaus.

    The Hagen Quartet’s unprecedented 3½ decade career began in 1981. Its early years, marked by a series of prizes in chamber music competitions and an exclusive recording contract with Deutsche Grammophon that was to produce forty-five CDs over the following twenty years, enabled the group to work its way through the immensely vast repertoire for string quartet from which this ensemble’s distinctive profile has emerged. Collaborations with artists such as György Kurtág and the late Nikolaus Harnoncourt are as important to the Hagen Quartet as its concert appearances with performers including Maurizio Pollini, Mitsuko Uchida, Sabine Meyer, Krystian Zimerman, Heinrich Schiff, and Jörg Widmann.

    The group’s concert repertoire and discography feature attractive and intelligently arranged programs embracing the entire history of the string quartet genre, from its pre-Haydn beginnings right through to Kurtág. The Hagen Quartet also works closely with composers of its own generation: not only reviving existing works, but also commissioning and premiering new pieces. 

    Many young string quartets regard the Hagen Quartet as a model in terms of sound quality, stylistic variety, ensemble playing and serious commitment to the works and composers of the genre. As teachers and mentors at the Salzburg Mozarteum and the Hochschule in Basel, as well as in international masterclasses, the quartet’s members pass on their great wealth of experience to younger colleagues.

    "The players phrase melodies as though finishing each other's thoughts. And yet in solo lines, there is a sense of distinctiveness, each musician bringing something special to an argument yet moving that argument to a higher purpose." —The Los Angeles Times


    Jörg Widmann

    Clarinetist, composer and conductor Jörg Widmann is one of the most versatile and intriguing artists of his generation. The 2017-18 season will see him appear as soloist with orchestras such as Wiener Philharmoniker under Valery Gergiev, Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra with Bertrand de Billy, Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra under Sylvain Cambreling, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra under Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla, SWR Symphonieorchester under Peter Rundel, and Orchester de Paris with Daniel Harding.  

    This season will also see Jörg Widmann and his work featured in various residencies and portraits. Jörg Widmann is the first Gewandhaus Composer and was commissioned by Gewandhaus Orchester and Boston Symphony Orchestra to compose a new work which will be premiered in Leipzig in March 2018 conducted by Andris Nelsons. At Gewandhaus, Jörg Widmann will be featured in a portrait concert as well as in various chamber concerts and as a soloist. 

    Further residencies include Orchestre de Paris, Wigmore Hall, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Mozartwoche Salzburg and Philharmonie Essen. 

    Chamber music performances in the 2017-18 season include a tour with the Hagen Quartet with performances of his new Clarinet Quintet in Paris, Lugano, Amsterdam, Essen, Berlin, London and Salzburg; trio recitals with Tabea Zimmermann and Dénes Vàrjon in Helsinki, Freiburg, at Kölner Philharmonie, Pierre Boulez Saal Berlin and Wigmore Hall, and recitals at San Francisco Performances, Toppan Hall and the premiere of a new piece written for him by Mark Andre at Wittener Tage für neue Kammermusik. Amongst his regular chamber music partners are renowned soloists such as Sir András Schiff, Daniel Barenboim, Elisabeth Leonskaja and Mitsuko Uchida. 

    Continuing his intense activities as a conductor, Jörg Widmann will perform this season with the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunk, Budapest Festival Orchestra, Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin and as Principal Conductor with the Irish Chamber Orchestra with whom he will embark on a tour throughout Germany including concerts at International Music Festival Heidelberger Frühling, Philharmonie Essen, Mozartfest Würzburg and Leverkusen, followed by the premiere of his new violin concerto with Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra and Carolin Widmann at Suntory Hall. 

    In April 2018 Christian Gerhaher and Bamberger Symphoniker under Jakub Hrůša will premiere his song cycle Das heiße Herz

    Widmann gave the world premiere of Mark Andre’s Clarinet Concerto über at the Donauerschinger Musiktage 2015. Other clarinet concerti dedicated to and written for him include Wolfgang Rihm’s Musik für Klarinette und Orchester (1999) and Aribert Reimann’s Cantus (2006). 

    Widmann is a Fellow at the Wissenschaftskollegs in Berlin and a full member of the Bayerischen Akademie of Schönen Künste, and since 2007, the Freien Akademie der Künste Hamburg, the Deutschen Akademie der Darstellenden Künste and the Akademie der Wissenschaften und der Literatur Mainz. He is professor for composition at the Barenboim-Said Academy, Berlin.

    "What makes [Jörg  Widmann] so irresistable as a composer and performer alike is…the pleasure of vital, vesceral musicality."—The Guardian

Antonin Dvořák (1841-1904)

Selections from "Cypresses"

Jörg Widmann (b. 1973)

Quintet for Clarinet and Strings (Baltimore premiere)

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)

Quintet for Clarinet and Strings in A major, K. 581

Program Subject to Change Without Notice