27 April 2015
We would like to invite you to come and experience the testing phase of HEARTFELT, an immersive, interactive performance that re-imagines a Beethoven quartet through robotics and audience responsive lighting design.
Together with robotic designers, Rusty Squid and interactive lighting designer, Ziggy Jacobs-Wyburn, the Sacconi Quartet are creating a project in which the audience will be able to experience a performance of Beethoven’s String Quartet in A minor Op.132, that moves beyond the realms of sight and sound.
We are carrying out a series of audience tests as part of the development process and would like to invite you to preview this work and provide feedback.
The audience testing will be taking place near Brick Lane in East London on Friday 1st May during the morning from 11am until 12:30pm and again in the afternoon from 2:30pm until 4pm. If you would like to be part of this please RSVP to Emilie Giles by Tuesday 28th April at firstname.lastname@example.org and she will assign you a slot.
8 April 2015
This July, the Sacconis are taking part in another unusual and innovative event, as part of a new play about Shostakovich at The Sheldonian Theatre in Oxford.
In 1958, at the height of his artistic ability and reputation, the composer Dmitri Shostakovich was invited by Oxford University to receive an Honorary Doctorate of Music, where he was hosted by Sir Isaiah and Lady Berlin. The play is based on the official correspondence and telegrams surrounding the visit, and include Berlin’s astonishing ruminations on the significance of Shostakovich’s visit
The play is followed by a performance by the Sacconis and pianist Colin Stone of Shostakovich's Piano Quintet, performed as though on the 25 June 1958. Full details can be found here, and details of the Sacconi performance are on the Diary page.
29 March 2015
21 March 2015
The Sacconi's latest Newsletter is now out, covering all the exciting news about the Quartet and their many different projects. There are details on the Sacconi's own Festival, in May down in Folkestone, as well as details of the many other Festivals around the country that the quartet will be performing in over the summer.
There are also details of two new projects that the Quartet will be premiering over the summer as part of the Spitalfields Festival and the Bristol Proms. Both feature the quartet in innovative settings, and both promise to deliver a new and unique sensory experience for the audience.
4 March 2015
What does it feel like to be a musician? As part of the Spitalfields Music Festival, the Sacconi Quartet takes Beethoven’s iconic String Quartet in A minor op. 132 and put their own feelings, quite literally, in the hands of the audience.
Through a combination of cutting-edge technology providing a real-time connection to the performers’ heartbeats, and quick-response, immersive lighting, the audience will experience the music through a multitude of senses; sight, sound and touch.
Join the Sacconis in this cutting-edge experience, where the senses become fused and the boundaries between performers and audience are blurred to hitherto unknown levels.
10 February 2015
On Tuesday 24th February, at 8pm, Cara will be joined by Libby Burgess (piano) and Jamie Campbell (principal 2nd violin with the Aurora Orchestra) for a recital at Dunsfold Music Circle, near Godalming. The programme will include piano trios by Beethoven and Ravel.
Further details can be obtained from Dunsfold Music Circle.
26 January 2015
This Wednesday, 28th January, the Sacconis will be performing live at the Fundacion Juan March in Madrid, in a concert that forms part of a series titled 'the Anti-Modernists', a term coined to describe composers who elected to bring the past up to date as a formula for modernity, rather than flatly rejecting it. Four of these 'Anti-Modernist' composers feature in the concert; Stravinsky, Sibelius, Bridge and Britten, and the whole concert is being broadcast live on RTE Radio Clasica at 19:30 CET (18:30 GMT).
If you couldn't listen to the live broadcast, the concert has been recorded and is available online. The concert can be found here on the Radio Clasica archive and the Sacconis appear from 32 minutes in to the recording.
15 January 2015
The official website of the European Commission Representation in the United Kingdom features a piece (see here) by Charles Kerry on this year's 150th anniversary of the Nordic composer Carl Nielsen, titled 'Nielsen’s 150th: an anniversary which we need', in which he makes a compelling case for the importance of this anniversary, and the significance of Nielsen's music in general.
He highlights the coverage Nielsen's symphonies are receiving, but bemoans the fact that his string quartets are receiving far less attention, with the notable exception of the Sacconi Quartet. He notes that the Sacconis are, at present, the only quartet listed as performing one of Nielsen's quartets this year (at Blackheath, Nottingham and Sheffield - see the Diary page for details).
11 January 2015
In the most recent edition of BBC R3's 'Building a Library', Robert Philip compared recordings of Dvorak's much-loved String Quartet known as the American Quartet, and makes a personal recommendations as to his top choices.
The Sacconi's recording was chosen as one of the top performances, attracting particular praise for their rendition of the second movement, 'Lento'. He notes that 'they have the concentration to sustain the whole movement' and that 'their ending is as beautiful as any'. When he comes to his final selection, he admits 'if I have to choose a winner, I'm really just choosing one among equals'.
The full programme can be found on BBC iPlayer until 8th February.
18 December 2014
Sacconi Chamber Music Festival 2015: ‘Intimate Voices’ 15th-17th May 2015
We are delighted to have in residence the renowned pianist Charles Owen, who will be performing with the Sacconis throughout the Festival weekend. We also welcome double bass player and BBC presenter Chi-chi Nwanoku, exciting young pianist John Paul Ekins and multi-award winning folk musician Jon Boden as our special guest artists.
Programme highlights include Dvorak String Quintet, Mendelssohn Octet, Tchaikovsky Piano Trio, Bach Piano Concerto in D minor and Beethoven Quartet Op.131. For full programme details please go to the Festival page.
The Box Office will open early in the New Year, so watch this space!
17 December 2014
The Sacconi Quartet and Mark Padmore are commissioning British composer Jonathan Dove to write a major new work for string quartet and tenor. The piece will have its world premiere at the Sacconi Chamber Music Festival in 2016, and will also feature in a new recording by the quartet. You have the opportunity of contributing to this exciting landmark in the Sacconi's history and at the same time have the chance of winning a fabulous prize:
• First prize of a Sacconi Quartet recital at a venue and time of your choosing
• Five runners-up prizes of a signed copy of the Champs Hill Records' complete Mendelssohn quartets
19 November 2014
Next January, Ben will be joining other eminent musicians at the Wye Valley Music Festival. The Festival was established back in 2000 to bring world-class chamber music to beautiful and intimate venues up and down the Wye Valley. It has attracted world-class musicians from the outset and is now an important year-round cultural presence in the Wye Valley.
Ben will be playing two concerts over the weekend of 17/18th January 2015; Korngold's String Quartet No.3 and Piano Quintet in E major. Full details can be found at the Wye Valley Chamber Music website.
5 November 2014
The Sacconis have picked up yet another fantastic review, this time for their Ripon concert from Tim Robinson and published in the Ripon Gazette. All three pieces receive high praise, starting with Haydn String Quartet Op. 20, No. 5, where the Quartet 'make us want to get up and dance with their extraordinary internal rhythm', before continuing on to the Janáček String Quartet No. 1, described as 'electrifying, exhausting and exhilarating'.
His highest praise is reserved for the Sacconis' performance of Beethoven String Quartet Op. 132, in particular for the third movement, where words almost fail him; he enthuses 'I hesitate to describe the third movement. Words just will not do. Go and listen to it. Find it on You Tube! Buy the Sacconi’s recording which they about to make. Then go and listen to it live. You must listen to it live. It will change you'.
16 October 2014
The Sacconi's recent start of season concert for the London Chamber Music Society has picked up a glowing review on Musicweb International. The piece, by Claire Seymour, begins by describing it as 'an impressively mature and focused performance', before going on to highlight the individual contributions from each of the Sacconis.
The Beethoven Op. 132 merits special praise, being described as 'an astonishingly assured and mature reading...' and 'the consistency of shared vision and musical voice was still remarkable, and suggested a deep, shared penetration of the work’s musical and philosophical arguments'.
The full review can be found at the Musicweb International website
7 October 2014
Just a quick reminder that the Sacconis perform this Friday, 10th October, at St Martin in the Fields, where Ben will be Musical Director for an evening of Vivaldi and Bach concertos. Baroque concertos from Ben and Hannah (Vivaldi) and Robin (Brandenburg 6 with Philip Dukes), plus the CPE Bach cello concerto performed by Guy Johnston and Bach's Brandenburg 3; all with Cara playing too.
Don't miss this opportunity to hear the Sacconis performing solo in the beautiful setting of St Martin in the Fields, and all played by candlelight. Full details can be found at the St Martin in the Fields website.
23 September 2014
This October, on Friday 3rd, Cara (and cello) will be performing a lunchtime concert at St Barnabas church, Ealing. She will be joined by Fenella Humphreys on violin and Daniel Lowenberg on piano. They will be playing Beethoven: Piano trio in G major Op 1 no 2 and Brahms: Piano trio in C minor Op 101. This free concert will start at 1pm and last approximately 45 minutes.
Full details can be found at the St Barnabas Church website.
16 September 2014
Just a quick reminder about Hannah's upcoming appearances on the International Musicians Seminar Autumn Tour, where she is playing Mendelssohn string quintet in B flat with Pekka Kuusisto, Rachel Roberts, Caroline Henbest and David Waterman.
Her hectic schedule starts on Sunday 28th September at the Hall for Cornwall in Truro followed by Monday at St George's Bristol, Tuesday at West Road Concert Hall in Cambridge, Wednesday at Champs Hill, West Sussex and finishing up at Wigmore Hall on Thursday. Full details can be found at the IMS website.
Do come along to one!
2 September 2014
In anticipation of their upcoming Autumn season, the Sacconi's latest newsletter is now available. Inside, it covers what they've been up to over the past few months, as well as looking forward to the new season. The link to the Newsletter can be found here.
Looking back, it features a personal perspective by Hannah on their performance of Beethoven's Op 132 at the Bristol Proms, which used innovative staging and video to give an immersive experience for both the audience and the quartet. Hannah can be found explaining it all as part of a video interview for Classic FM. It also includes the glowing reviews for the Mendelssohn disc set from Champs Hill records, which includes the Sacconis preforming the Op.13 quartet in A minor.
Looking forward, there are details of the first concerts of the new season, as well as the exciting news that the Quartet have been invited back to the beautiful island of Ischia for another Kirker Music Holiday, October 2015. Definitely a date for your diaries, along with the Christmas Party, which this year is on Thursday 11th December.
16 August 2014
This October, Ben will be Musical Director for an evening of Vivaldi and Bach concertos at St Martin in the Fields, where he will performing with the Locrian Ensemble and the cellist Guy Johnson. The performance will be on Friday 10th October, and full details can be found at the St Martin in the Fields website.
As an added bonus, Ben will be joined for the Vivaldi – Concerto for Two Violins by Hannah!
6 August 2014
The Champs Hill Mendelssohn Quartets four disk set, which features the Sacconis playing Mendelssohn's String Quartet No.2 in A minor Op.13, is BBC Music Magazine's Chamber disc of the month / Critic's Choice in their September issue, receiving a double 5* review for both the performances and the recording.
The enthusiastic and positive review, by Roger Nichols, opens with his observation that it is "... a true delight to me to find ten groups of young string players who take the composer's notes seriously..." and concludes with him saying "Overall, I can only applaud the musicianship of these excellently recorded performances which give us Mendelssohn in his infinite variety".
3 August 2014
The Sacconis recent performance of Beethoven's intense and complex Op. 132 as part of the 2104 Bristol Proms was an ambitious attempt to bring this life-changing piece to a wider audience through the innovative use of multiple, simultaneous camera projections of the four Sacconis, coupled with roving cameras to capture the finest details of the performance. At the centre of the performance was the third movement, performed in almost total darkness; played from memory by the Quartet.
This performance has received considerable coverage on Classic FM, including a wide-ranging interview with Hannah, in which she explains how they hoped the additional visual elements would make this complex piece more immediately comprehensible to a wider audience. The Classic FM coverage also includes pictures from the evening, and the performance is given a 4 star review in the Bristol Post.
21 July 2014
The Sacconis have received a glowing review in this month's Gramophone magazine for their performance of Mendelssohn's String Quartet No.2 in A Minor Op.13 on the recent release of 'Mendelssohn Complete Works for String Quartet' on Champs Hill Records. The Quartet were described as 'elegant and understated' in a glowing review of the 4-disc set. A fuller extract of the review, along with details of where to get the set can be found in the Recordings section.
16 July 2014
This Autumn Hannah is one of a select group of musicians, all specially invited by the IMS Artistic Director Steven Isserlis, who will be taking part in the IMS national tour with the aim of bringing the work done at IMS at Prussia Cove to a wider audience. This hand-picked group of talented musicians also includes Pekka Kuusisto, who was such a hit at this year's Sacconi Festival.
The programme for the performances will be; Beethoven - String Quintet Op.29, Martinů - String Quartet No. 5 and Mendelssohn - String Quintet in B flat; and the dates and venues for the performances are as follows:
Sunday 28th September - Hall for Cornwall, Truro
Monday 29th September - St George's Bristol
Tuesday 30th September - West Road Concert Hall, Cambridge
Wednesday 1st October - Champs Hill, West Sussex
Thursday 2nd October - Wigmore Hall, London
Full details can be found at the IMS website.
4 July 2014
The award-winning Sacconi Quartet, associate artists at Bristol Old Vic, follow up their exquisite interpretation of Schubert's Quintet in C (Bristol Proms 2013) and their unforgettable semi-staged Beethoven 131 (Bristol Jam 2010), with the magnificent Beethoven's great Quartet opus 132. In collaboration with Judith Aston and her colleagues from the UWE Filmmaking department, the performance will experiment with cameras, multiple projections and vj-ing to explore how a cinematic environment can be created to help evoke the imagination and emotion that comes with the music. You should expect a traditional recital performed in a non-traditional setting, creating respectful new ways in to the sublime beauty of Beethoven’s late work.