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Artist Hyperion Records
Chilingirian Quartet
© Chris Frazer Smith

Chilingirian Quartet

The Chilingirian Quartet is one of the world’s most celebrated and widely travelled ensembles renowned for their thrilling interpretations of the great quartets and commanding performances of the contemporary repertoire.

The Quartet was founded in 1971 by Levon Chilingirian and Philip De Groote. Whilst each member is a virtuoso musician, their success as a quartet has earned them the Royal Philharmonic Society’s coveted Chamber Ensemble Award. The Chilingirian is Quartet-in- Residence at the Royal College of Music in London, resident ensemble at the Lake District Summer Music Festival and in 2005 had a residency at the University of California at Irvine. Places on the Chilingirian’s annual chamber music course run at West Dean in England are eagerly sought by aspiring young professional and amateur ensembles.

European engagements have included major festivals such as the Edinburgh, Cheltenham, Aldeburgh and Tivoli festivals and prestigious series at The Barbican Centre, Wigmore Hall, Concertgebouw, Munich Herkulessaal, Zurich Tonhalle, Stockholm Konserthuset and Vienna Konzerthaus. The Quartet tours North America every season and has performed extensively in Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Asia, Africa and South America.

The Chilingirian Quartet, sought after for their insight and imagination, has given many world premieres—most recently Michael Berkeley’s cello quintet Abstract Mirrors and Hugh Wood’s Serenade and Elegy—and has a special relationship with the music of Sir Michael Tippett, all of whose quartets it performs regularly. In 2005, to mark the composer’s centenary, they gave performances of the Tippett Triple Concerto with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, a work they have recorded with Richard Hickox.

The Chilingirian’s extensive discography includes the Bartok and Dvorak cycles, Mozart‘s String Quintets, Michael Berkeley’s Quartet ‘Magnetic Field’ and Quintet ‘Abstract Mirrors’. Other recent releases include a series of Chausson works, and a set of string quartets of Sir John Blackwood McEwen as well as an award-winning disc of piano quintets by Renaldo Hahn and Louis Vierne.

Levon Chilingirian was born in Cyprus and studied at the Royal College of Music where he is now a professor. He won first prize in the BBC Beethoven and the Munich Duo competitions in 1969 and 1971 respectively, starting a long-standing partnership with pianist Clifford Benson. As a soloist he has played with various orchestras, including the Bournemouth Symphony, the Philharmonia, Russian National and BBC Symphony. He is the musical director of a Swedish string ensemble, the Camerata Nordica, and of the Mendelssohn on Mull Festival.

London-born into a family of string quartet players, violinist Richard Ireland studied with Eli Goren and Shmuel Ashkenasi, both quartet leaders. He has performed with numerous chamber ensembles such as Domus, Capricorn and Prometheus at the major festivals, at the South Bank and for the BBC. For several years he directed and led the Adderbury Ensemble, resident ensemble of the Oxford Coffee Concert series. He has also been guest-leader of orchestras such as the Northern Sinfonia and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. Richard has been Professor of Violin at the Royal Northern College of Music since 1996.

Violist Susie Mészáros studied at the Yehudi Menuhin School where she now teaches. She is also a professor at the Royal College of Music. She has been principal viola with the Camerata Salzburg and a regular chamber music partner of her teacher, violinist Sandor Vegh. In 1977 she made her Wigmore Hall debut in a duo with Yehudi Menuhin and performed with Vladimir Spivakov and Artur Grumiaux. She won the Gold Medal at the Royal Overseas League competition and was a string finalist in the BBC Young Musician of the Year. Mészáros was also co-founder of the Villiers Piano Quartet and leader of Kent Opera for several years as well as leader of several chamber groups including the Fitzwilliam Quartet. She has also taught at the Royal Northern College of Music and the Purcell School.

Born in Johannesburg into a family of professional musicians, cellist Philip De Groote had his first cello lessons at the age of six and had won many prizes in his early years before entering the Royal College of Music where, with a full scholarship, he studied with Eileen Croxford. Further studies with William Pleeth and Janos Starker were followed by two appearances on BBC2 TV with Paul Tortelier. In 1971 he was awarded the Tenuto Prize from Belgian Radio/TV and later co-founded the Chilingirian Quartet, touring worldwide and making over fifty recordings for several major labels.


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