• Founded 1994
The Signum Quartett has become distinguished for its performances of both mainstream and contemporary repertory. The group is often heard on radio broadcasts in Germany and Britain.
The Signum Quartett (the English word Quartet is also used) was founded in 1994 and is based in Cologne. Since 2016, the members have been violinists Florian Donderer and Annette Walther, violist Xandi van Dijk, and cellist Thomas Schmitz. The Signum Quartett underwent intensive training with the Alban Berg, Artemis, and Melos Quartets, as well as studies in ensemble playing with pianists Alfred Brendel and Leon Fleisher, clarinetist/composer Jörg Widmann, and others. The group won prizes at such competitions as the Deutscher Musikwettbewerb (2004) and the International Chamber Music Competition in Hamburg (2009), and from 2011 to 2013, it was designated a BBC New Generation Artist. The Signum Quartett has performed at top European venues, including the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, the Philharmonie in Berlin, and the Beethoven-Haus in Bonn. Its plans for 2021 included a debut at Carnegie Hall in New York. The Signum Quartett's chamber music partners have included pianists Elisabeth Leonskaja and Alexander Krichel, and cellist Leonard Elschenbroich. The group often appears at festival events such as the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival, the Rheingau Music Festival, and the BBC Proms. It has been heard on major radio networks, including ORF in France, Deutschlandfunk, and the BBC.
The Signum Quartett made its debut in 2010 on the Capriccio label with an album of quartets by Romantic composer Ludwig Thuille. Both its concerts and its recordings have featured mainstream and contemporary repertory. The Signum Quartett moved from Capriccio to PentaTone Classics for the 2018 release Schubert: Aus der Ferne, featuring quartet arrangements of that composer's lieder. In 2020, the quartet was featured on Lost Prayers, an album of music by composer Erkki-Sven Tüür.