The School is proud to welcome its new String Quartet in residence, the Royal String Quartet. A professional, award-winning chamber group who have performed around the world and have gained a reputation as one of the world's most interesting and dynamically developing string quartets of the young generation.
This residency represents a significant opportiunity for outsanding musicians to perform alongside composers, musicologists and performers within the School.
Among other activities, the residency will involve public events throughout year in Belfast/NI, including concerts, open rehearsals, masterclasses and composition workshops as well as participation in research and teaching.
Izabella Szalaj-Zimak - I violin,
Elwira Przybylowska - II violin,
Marek Czech - viola,
Michal Pepol - cello
RSQ was also awarded a prestigious Borletti-Buitoni Trust Fellowship in 2005) which has helped in developing the quartets international career, and in 2007 the Special Prize of the Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage 'in recognition of their contribution to Polish culture'.
Right from the start the Royal String Quartet has been fortunate in improving its skills under the guidance of outstanding musicians. Initially, these were members of the Camerata and Wilanów Quartets. Upon graduation from the Music Academy in Warsaw, the RSQ worked with the Alban Berg Quartett at the Hochschule für Musik in Cologne (2001-2004). The ensemble has also worked with musicians from the Amadeus, Guarneri and Chilingirian Quartets. Since 2005 the Quartet has been teaching young students at the international summer music schools in Dartington and the Lake District.
From 2004-2006 the Royal String Quartet were members of the BBC's 'New Generation Artists', a scheme promoting outstanding young international artists. This enabled the ensemble to perform in prestigious festivals, appear on radio and make recordings (these include Mendelssohn's Octet with the Psophos Quartet and Vaughan Williams' On Wenlock Edge with Andrew Kennedy as a cover CDs for the BBC Music Magazine in 2006 and 2008).
The Quartet has participated in many festivals in Poland (the Mozart Festival, the Easter Beethoven Festival, Piano Festival, Sacrum Profanum, Wratislavia Cantans) and abroad (BBC Proms, City of London, East Neuk, Lichfield, Aldeburgh, Pulse, West Cork Music, Angela Hewitt's Trasimeno Music, Next Generation in Dortmund, Musikfesttage in Frankfurt, Valloires, Classique au Vert in Paris, and the Perth International Arts Festival). In 2004 the Royal String Quartet performed for Queen Elizabeth II during the official visit of the Polish President.
Since 2004 the Quartet has run its own chamber music festival in Warsaw 'Kwartesencja' (Quartessence). The festival has already won a wide following and media recognition as the 'Cultural Highlight of Year'.
The Quartet has performed with such artists as Angela Hewitt, Thomas Allen, Ann Murray, Mark Padmore, Stephen Kovacevich, Antoine Tamestit, Christian Poltéra, Emmanuelle Bertrand, Laurence Power, Freddy Kempf, Cédric Tiberghien, Martin Fröst, Nicholas Daniel, Tzimon Barto, Cédric Pescia, Simon Lepper, Llyr Williams, Ronald van Spaendonck, Ronan Collett, Ula Ulijona, Klaudiusz Baran, Tomasz Strahl, Wojciech Switala, Maciej Grzybowski, Michal Nagy and the Skampa, Camerata, Silesian and Psophos Quartets. The venues of their appearances include the Wigmore Hall and Cadogan Hall in London, Bridgewater Hall in Manchester, Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, National Gallery of Art in Washington, Le Grand Theatre in Bordeaux, Martinu Hall in Prague, the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels, Vienna's Konzerthaus, Stockholm Concert Hall and the Witold Lutoslawski Polish Radio Concert Studio, the National Philharmonic and the Royal Castle in Warsaw. Their concerts have been broadcast on Polish Radio 2, BBC Radio 3 and many other European radio stations, as well as on TV MEZZO.
The Royal String Quartet has recorded the Szymanowski Quartets for Hyperion, the CD has been released in January 2009. Its discography consists yet of four more CDs: 'Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven' (debut CD for the DUX label, nominated for the 'Fryderyk' Award of the Polish recording industry in 2002), 'Astor Piazzolla - Tango' (for Sony Classical, the 'Fryderyk 2003' Award in the chamber music category), 'String Quartets by Moniuszko, Szymanowski and Bacewicz' (BeArTon, 2006; nominated for the the 'Fryderyk 2006' Award in two categories: the chamber music and the best Polish music recording) and Juliusz Zarebski's Piano Quintet (with Wojciech Switala, BeArTon, 2006; nominated for the 'Fryderyk 2006' Award in the chamber music category).
The Quartet will perform in events throughout the year. Concerts are advertised on our Public Events page.
They will also be involved in research projects and student workshops most of which will be advertised internally with the school, or on this page.