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Danish String Quartet

Danish String Quartet group image


The Grammy-nominated Danish String Quartet continues to assert its preeminence among the world’s finest string quartets. Celebrated for their “intense blend, extreme dynamic variation (in which they seem glued together), perfect intonation even on harmonics, and constant vitality and flow” (Gramophone) and renowned for the palpable joy they exude in music-making, the Danish String Quartet has become one of today’s most in-demand classical quartets. The Danish Quartet celebrated their 20th Anniversary in 2022-2023, having formed when violinists Frederik Øland and Rune Tonsgaard Sørenson and violist Asbjørn Nørgaard were teenagers. In 2008, the three Danes were joined by Norwegian cellist Fredrik Schøyen Sjölin.

The Danish Quartet’s inventive and intriguing programming and repertoire choices have produced critically acclaimed original projects and commissions as well as popular arrangements of Scandinavian folk music. This season, the Quartet will complete its Doppelgänger series, an ambitious four-year international commissioning project pairs world premieres from four composers—Bent Sørensen, Lotta Wennäkoski, Anna Thorvaldsdottir, and Thomas Adès—with late major chamber works by Schubert. Each season, the Quartet has performed a world premiere on a program with its doppelgänger—the Schubert quartet or quintet that inspired it—culminating in 2024 in the premiere of a quintet by Adès, after the String Quintet in C Major. The Doppelgänger pieces are commissioned by the Danish String Quartet with the support of Carnegie Hall, Cal Performances, UC Santa Barbara Arts & Lectures, Vancouver Recital Society, Flagey in Brussels, and Muziekgebouw in Amsterdam.

The 2023-2024 season sees the Quartet on tour in eighteen cities in the USA and Canada and venues in Norway, Germany, the UK, the Netherlands, Brussels, Italy, and their home of Denmark.

The Quartet’s most recent recording project is Prism, a series of five discs on ECM New Series that explores the symbiotic musical and contextual relationships between Bach fugues, Beethoven string quartets, and works by Shostakovich, Schnittke, Bartók, Mendelssohn, and Webern. The final disc, Prism V, was released to great acclaim in April 2023. The Quartet’s discography reflects the ensemble’s special affinity for Scandinavian composers, with the complete quartets of Carl Nielsen and Adès, Nørgård & Abrahamsen. They also released two discs of traditional Scandinavian folk music, Wood Works and Last Leaf, which was chosen as one of the top classical albums of the year by NPR, Spotify and The New York Times.

The Quartet takes an active role in reaching new audiences through special projects. In 2007, they established the DSQ Festival, which takes place in intimate and informal settings in Copenhagen. In 2016, they inaugurated a concert series, Series of Four, in which they both perform and invite colleagues to appear.

The Danish String Quartet has been the recipient of many awards and appointments, including Musical America’s 2020 Ensemble of the Year and the Borletti-Buitoni Trust. The Quartet was named in 2013 as a BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artist and appointed to the Bowers Program (formerly CMS Two). In 2011, the Quartet received the Carl Nielsen Prize, the highest cultural honor in Denmark.

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