“A quartet of genuine substance”

The award-winning Sacconi Quartet is recognised for its unanimous and compelling ensemble, consistently communicating with a fresh and imaginative approach. Performing with style and commitment, the Quartet is known throughout the world for its creativity and integrity of interpretation. Formed in 2001, its four founder members continue to demonstrate a shared passion for string quartet repertoire, infectiously reaching out to audiences with their energy and enthusiasm. The Quartet have enjoyed a highly successful international career, performing regularly throughout Europe, at London’s major venues, in recordings and on radio broadcasts. The Sacconi is Quartet in Association at the Royal College of Music.

 

Future highlights

The 2016/17 season saw a major collaboration with the Wihan Quartet, performing Enescu’s Octet alongside those by Shostakovich and Mendelssohn, and culminating in their debut at the Prague Spring Festival. They also completed a major UK tour with clarinettist Robert Plane, and performed throughout Radio 3’s Big Chamber Weekend in Hull alongside James Gilchrist, Anna Tilbrook, Andrew Berridge and Graham Mitchell. The Quartet continued its recording project of music by John McCabe, this time collaborating with Roderick Williams in Silver Nocturnes, and they also performed with Matthew Hunt, Simon Rowland-Jones, Jon Boden and many others.

2017 will see the release of three new CDs by the Sacconi Quartet. In Damascus, their CD of music by Jonathan Dove including In Damascus, commissioned by the Quartet, and featuring Mark Padmore and Charles Owen, has already hit the Classical Top Ten, and was chosen as Gramophone Magazine’s Recording of the Month: “This important release cannot be recommended too highly.” Later in 2017 will see the release of their complete recording of Graham Fitkin’s string quartets on Signum, and their CD of three of John McCabe’s quintets on NMC, featuring the composer on piano in The Woman by the Sea, horn player David Pyatt in the Horn Quintet written for him and the Sacconis, and Roderick Williams in Silver Nocturnes.

Heartfelt

In Summer 2015 the quartet launched HEARTFELT, their most innovative project to date. A radical re-interpretation of Beethoven’s iconic String Quartet in A minor opus 132, HEARTFELT pushed the boundaries of chamber music through combining sound, light and touch, for a truly unique performance in which audience members connected with each performer’s heartbeat through holding robotic ‘hearts’. Developed in a unique collaboration with robotics designers Rusty Squid and lighting designer Ziggy Jacobs-Wyburn, and funded by Arts Council England, HEARTFELT received 4-star reviews from The Guardian and The Independent, and was described by the latter as “a powerful way to experience the visceral physicality of Beethoven’s profound thanksgiving”. www.heartfelt.org.uk 

Sacconi Festival

2017 saw the Sacconi Chamber Music Festival in Folkestone celebrating its tenth year with sell-out concerts and collaborations with Alasdair Beatson, Leon Bosch and Lavinia Meijer. It is now firmly established among the UK’s major chamber music festivals, and attracts audiences from far and near for its vibrant atmosphere and dynamic programming. 2018’s festival will see Graham Fitkin as composer in residence, and collaborations with the London Bridge Trio and others.

Education work

Firm believers in the importance of bringing chamber music to the next generation, the Sacconi Quartet dedicates much passion, time and energy to education work. They regularly lead workshops and give school and family concerts as part of the Sacconi Chamber Music Festival outreach programme and the CAVATINA Chamber Music Trust. Their latest project, an educational show entitled The String Thing, with script by Matthew Sharp, went down a storm wherever it was performed.

Record label

The Quartet’s recording of Beethoven Op. 132 and Mendelssohn Op. 13, the first commercial pairing of these closely related works, was recently released on Sacconi Records, and received a 5-star review in Classical Music. The previous release, a disc of Czech quartets, was received with widespread critical acclaim and is regularly broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and Classic FM. The Quartet’s debut recording of Haydn’s opus 54 quartets was praised in the press and both their Ravel and Haydn CDs were featured in The Full Works programme on Classic FM. They have also recorded for Signum, NMC and Champs Hill Records, and their 2006 Naxos recording of Finzi’s song cycle By Footpath and Stile with baritone Roderick Williams was well received in all the national broadsheets and BBC Music Magazine.

Past performances

To date, the Quartet has given twenty-one world premières and four British premières, including works by György Kurtág, Paul Patterson, John McCabe, Simon Rowland-Jones, Robin Holloway, John Metcalf and Alun Hoddinott, and they performed as the solo string quartet on Paul McCartney’s hit song Come Home. The Sacconi Quartet has been joined on stage by many artists including Pekka Kuusisto, Melvyn Tan, Andrew Marriner, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Guy Johnston, Alasdair Beatson, Tom Poster, Matthew Rose, Bellowhead’s Jon Boden and actor Timothy West. The Sacconi Quartet has performed at all the major London venues and has travelled extensively throughout the rest of the UK and Europe. The Quartet toured to the Middle East in 2009, where they were invited by the British Council to give concerts and workshops in Jordan’s capital city, Amman.

A PDF version of this biography can be downloaded here. A short biography can also be found here.

Sacconi Quartet

Simone Sacconi

Simone Fernando Sacconi

The name Sacconi Quartet comes from the outstanding twentieth-century Italian luthier and restorer Simone Sacconi, whose book The Secrets of Stradivari is considered an indispensable reference for violin makers.

Sacconi Quartet's instruments

Ben Hancox plays a 1932 Sacconi violin and Robin Ashwell a 1934 Sacconi viola, both made in New York. Hannah Dawson plays a 1927 Sacconi violin made in Rome, and Cara Berridge plays a Nicolaus Gagliano cello from 1781. Ben, Hannah & Cara have all been generously loaned these instruments by the Royal Society of Musicians, a charity which helps musicians in need, for which they are extremely grateful. Robin is indebted to Ellen Solomon for the use of his viola.
"A beautiful blend of sound ... highly engaging"The Times
"Great power and sweetness ... intimate closeness."The Spectator