The Bennewitz Quartet is one of the top international chamber ensembles, a status confirmed not only by their victories in two prestigious competitions – Osaka in 2005 and Prémio Paolo Borciani, Italy in 2008, but also by the acclaim of the critics. As early as 2006, the German Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung wrote:
“… the music was remarkable not just for its clarity of structure, but for the beautiful tonal palette and purity of intonation in its execution. Only very rarely does one experience such skilfully crafted and powerful harmonies… Great art.”
The quartet currently performs at major venues both in the Czech Republic and abroad (Wigmore Hall London, Musikverein Wien, Konzerthaus Berlin, Théâtre des Champs-Elysées Paris, The Frick Collection New York, Seoul Art Center, Rudolfinum and others), and is regularly invited to festivals such as the Salzburger Festspiele, Luzerne Festival, Rheingau Musik Festival, Kammermusikfest Lockenhaus, and the Prague Spring.
The Bennewitz Quartet especially enjoys playing and performing on the Czech domestic music scene. Particular highlights have included their cooperation with the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra and its conductor Jiří Bělohlávek for a performance of Bohuslav Martinů’s Concerto for String Quartet and Orchestra. Last year, they performed with the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Czech premiere of the composition Absolute Jest by John Adams. The members of the quartet also use their choice of repertoire and concert programming to actively promote Czech music, including excellent and unjustly neglected composers such as L. Dusík, A. Rejcha, P. Haas, V.Ullmann, E. Schulhoff and others. The Bennewitz Quartet has the privilege of working with the outstanding artists: Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Alexander Melnikov, Vadim Gluzman, Isabel Charisius, Pietro de Maria, Reto Bieri, Danjulo Ishizaka and others.
The fruits of their long-term cooperation with the Coviello Classics label include a recording of Leoš Janáček’s two string quartets and Béla Bartók’s fourth. The critics’ response was very positive. The magazine Fono Forum was impressed by the “fiery temperament”. The second recording in the series, released in spring 2010, contains both of Bedřich Smetana’s quartets. The website Klassik.com called it “simply phenomenal”. Their next project was a recording of Dvořák’s complete Cypresses cycle, on the Hänssler Classic label and the Dvořák project continued in 2015 when the quartet released the quartets op.51 and op.106 under the SWR Music / Naxos label. The recording became the Choice of the Harmonie magazine and the Editor’s choice.
The Bennewitz Quartet was founded in 1998. Thanks to their participation in various masterclasses, the members have had the opportunity to gain experience and inspiration from numerous eminent musical personalities, most notably Rainer Schmidt (Hagen Quartet) and Walter Levin (La Salle Quartet). In 2003 the Queen of Spain presented them with the diploma for outstanding student performance at the Escuela Superior de Música Reina Sofía in Madrid. A year later, the quartet were awarded the Czech Chamber Music Society prize.
The quartet is named after violinist Antonín Bennewitz (1833-1926), who was a seminal figure in the creation of the Czech violin school.
The Bennewitz Quartet is kindly supported by the Viennese string manufacturer Thomastik-Infeld.