Carducci String Quartet
• Founded 1997
Other string quartets
Often appears with
The Carducci String Quartet, based in London, has concertized widely and won several awards with a repertory ranging from Haydn to contemporary music to collaborations with rock musicians. The group has an affinity for the string quartets of Shostakovich, and once performed all 15 of them at a stretch.
The Carducci Quartet was formed in 1997, and its membership -- violinists Matthew Denton and Michelle Fleming, violist Eoin Schmidt-Martin, and cellist Emma Denton -- has remained stable since then. Unusually, the quartet consists of two married couples: the two Dentons, who were studying with the Amadeus and Chilingirian quartets in London at the time, and Fleming and Schmidt-Martin, who were students at University College Cork in Ireland. The quartet members swore off solo careers and resolved to earn all of their income from ensemble playing, and they faced several lean years. Prizes, including a win at the Concert Artists Guild International Competition and First Prize at Finland’s Kuhmo International Chamber Music Competition, jump-started their career, and in the 2000s and 2010s, the group appeared at major European and North American chamber music venues including Wigmore Hall, the Library of Congress in Washington, and the St. Lawrence Center for the Arts in Toronto. In 2015, they played ten complete cycles of the Shostakovich quartets at venues in various countries, including a marathon performance of the entire cycle on August 9, 2015, at the Globe Theatre in London. These performances earned the group the Royal Philharmonic Society Award the following year. For 2020, the Carducci Quartet planned tours to Spain and Germany as well as a weekend of Beethoven performances at the Barbican Centre in London to celebrate that composer's 250th birthday.
The quartet has collaborated with clarinetists Julian Bliss and Emma Johnson, pianists Martin Roscoe and Kate Whitley, oud player Joseph Tawadros, and the Navarra Quartet, as well as members of the rock band Jethro Tull (on the album Jethro Tull: The String Quartets) and rock-to-classical crossover artist Jonny Greenwood of Radiohead. Since releasing an album of Haydn string quartets on its Carducci Classics label in 2007, the Carducci Quartet has recorded mostly for Somm, Naxos, and Signum Classics, where they were heard on Love Lives Beyond the Tomb, an album of songs and song cycles by composer Ian Venables.