It is the oldest, uninterrupted existing
string quartet in the world. Founded almost 200 years ago, the Leipzig Gewandhaus-Quartett can be seen as a remarkable part of the western history of music. Shortly after its foundation in 1808 by the former leader of the Gewandhaus Orchestra Heinrich August Matthäi the ensemble, whose chamber music concerts immediately attracted a lively response from the public, established itself as a permanent part of the Leipzig concert scene and became a highlight of Saxon music tradition. Since then the quartet has continued its concert activity from generation to generation until today with great success.

In the 19th century the quartet's style of playing
was first and foremost influenced by the members Ferdinand David, to whom Mendelssohn dedicated his violin concerto, and Joseph Joachim, who gave the first performance of Brahm’s violin concerto. The current members of the Gewandhaus-Quartett maintaining the heritage of this unique ensemble today have been playing together since 1993. Traditionally the quartet consists of the leaders of the Gewandhaus Orchestra.

The ensemble gave the first performance
of about 100 works, among others by Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy, Robert Schumann, Antonín Dvorák, Max Bruch and Max Reger often in the presence or with the assistance of the composers. Even today the quartet dedicates itself not only to the classical repertoire but especially to contemporary music. Recently the ensemble premiered the work ‘Deciso’ by the Leipzig composer Olav Kröger as well as Günther Kochan’s piano quintet at the Leipzig Gewandhaus. Furthermore, they made a CD recording of Ermano Maggini’s string quartet.

During the history the ensemble played
with such important musicians as Clara Schumann, Johannes Brahms, Edvard Grieg and Arthur Nikisch. This tradition is still kept today, and the Gewandhaus-Quartett works with internationally renowned artists such as Yo-Yo Ma, Menahem Pressler and Sabine Meyer. In addition to their regular performances at the Leipzig Gewandhaus (the quartet has its own chamber music series there) the four musicians very successfully appeared at major music centres in Europe, Japan, Argentina and the USA. Furthermore, the Gewandhaus-Quartett gave concerts in private audiences of the Japanese emperor Akihito and the British heir apparent Prince Charles.

Many CD recordings demonstrate
the high international reputation of the ensemble. The current members of the quartet have already recorded various CDs for NCA including a CD with the late string quartets by Beethoven, the recording of works by Shostakovitch, Stravinsky and Prokofieff and a CD with string quartets by Schumann and Mendelssohn which were formerly premiered by the Gewandhaus-Quartett.

The quartet took part also in the production
of films about classical music by the Japanese broadcasting corporation NHK, playing quartets by Haydn, Beethoven, Schubert and Mendelssohn Bartholdy.




Heinrich August Matthäi
Founded the Gewandhaus-Quartet
 




Evening note of the Gewandhaus-Quartet from 1842
 




 

The Chambermusic Hall
at the „Neuen Gewandhaus“ (build 1884 / 1944 destroyed by allied Bombs in 1944)

The Gewandhaus-Quartet iwith its legendary members:
(fr.l.) Edgar Wollgandt (Violine), Julius Klengel (Cello), Carl Herrmann (Viola) und Karl Wolschke (Violine)



GUEST ARTISTS OF THE GEWANDHAUS-QUARTET
( Selection )


William Sterndale Bennett · Fritz von Bose · Johannes Brahms · Fritz Busch · Ferruccio Busoni · Eugen d’Albert · Ernst von Dohnányi · Heinrich Wilhelm Ernst · Niels W. Gade · Edvard Grieg · Ferdinand Hiller · Salomon Jadassohn · Wilhelm Kempff · Franz Konwitschny · Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy · Ignaz Moscheles · Elly Ney · Arthur Nikisch · Hans Pfitzner · Max Reger · Carl Reinecke · Julius Rietz · Anton Rubinstein · Charles-Camille Saint-Saëns · Clara Schumann · Alexander Siloti · Bruno Walter · Joseph Wieniawski



 WORKS PREMIERED BY THE QEWANDHAUS-QUARTET
( Selection )

Max Bruch · Quartet c-minor, op. 9 (1859)

Ferruccio Busoni · Quartet Nr. 2, d-minor, op. 26 (1888)

Antonín Dvorák · Quartet f-minor
(released work, arranged by Günter Raphael, 1929)

Niels W. Gade · Quintet e-minor, op. 8 (1845)

Salomon Jadassohn · Piano quintet Nr. 3, g-minor, op. 126 (1896, Piano: Salomon Jadassohn)

Julius Klengel · Sextet d-minor, op. 60 (1922)

Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy · Quartet D-major, op. 44,1 (1839); Quartett E flat-major, op. 44,3 (1838)

Max Reger · Sextett F-major, op. 118 (1911); Piano quartet
a-Moll, op. 133 (1915, Piano: Max Reger)

Carl Reinecke · Piano quintet op. 83 (1865, Piano: Carl Reinecke); Quartet D-major, op. 211 (1892)

Anton Rubinstein · Quartet B-major, op. 47,2 (1856);
Quintet F-Dur, op. 59 (1860)

Robert Schumann · Quartet a-minor, op. 41,1 (1843)
Piano quintet E flat-major, op. 44 (1843, Piano: Clara Schumann)
Piano quartet E flat-major, op. 47 (1844, Piano: Clara Schumann)