• Founded 2008
The Gringolts String Quartet, which has also used the name Gringolts Quartet, has emerged as one of western Europe's most acclaimed young chamber ensembles. The group was formed in Zurich, Switzerland in 2008, but none of its four members is Swiss; the musicians were acquainted and knew that they all enjoyed making music together. The quartet takes its name from Russian violinist Ilya Gringolts, but all its other members have flourishing solo careers as well: Armenian violinist Anahit Kurtikyan and German cellist Claudius Herrmann had performed together in the Amati Quartet, while Kurtikyan and Romanian violist Silvia Simionescu had played together in chamber groups at various festivals. Those connections enabled the new quartet to land prestigious festival appearances soon after its formation, including those at the Gstaad Menuhin Festival, the Salzburg Festival, and the Lucerne Festival. The Gringolts String Quartet has appeared at Wigmore Hall in London, the Louisiana Museum in Copenhagen, L'Auditori in Barcelona, and the Sociedad Filarmónica de Bilbao, and the group has toured Germany, Italy, and Switzerland. They landed a top-level recording contract with unusual speed, releasing an album of Schumann string quartets on the Onyx label in 2011. That was followed by further recordings on Onyx, Profil, Orchid Classics, and BIS, mostly centering on Romantic repertory. Their recordings of Schoenberg's String Quartets Nos. 2 and 4, however, appeared on BIS in 2017, and in concert the group has championed quartets by contemporary composers such as Marc-André Dalbavie, Jens Joneleit, and Jörg Widmann. Their recording of quintets by Glazunov and Taneyev with Christian Poltéra earned a Diapason d'Or award. Besides Poltéra and Widmann, the quartet's collaborators have included Eduard Brunner, Leon Fleisher, David Geringas, and Malin Hartelius. All four members of the quartet play instruments from the 17th and 18th centuries; Herrmann's cello was the same one used in the premiere performances of Beethoven's late string quartets by their dedicatee, Prince Nikolas Golitsin of St. Petersburg.