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Alban Berg Quartett
Günter Pichler, Violine
Gerhard Schulz, Violine
Thomas Kakuska (Isabel Charisius) , Viola
Valentin Erben, Violoncello

For nearly 40 years the Alban Berg Quartett has performed regularly in music capitals and major festivals throughout the world. They have their own concert series at the Vienna Konzerthaus (where they made their debut in 1971 and where they are now Honorary Members), at the Royal Festival Hall London, (where, Associate Artists for over 15 years, they became Quartet Laureate from 2005/6), at the Opera Zurich, the Alte Oper Frankfurt, the Philharmonie in Cologne, the Theatre des Champs Elysees in Paris and the Auditorio National in Madrid.Since they were founded the Alban Berg Quartett have been prolific recording artists and have received over thirty major international awards, including the Grand Prix du Disque, the Deutsche Schallplattenpreis, the Edison Prize, the first International Classical Music Award, the Japan Grand Prix, and the Gramophone Magazine Award. Public and critics regard many of these recordings as definitive alike.

Among their many recording projects have been the complete quartets by Beethoven, Brahms, Berg, Webern and Bartok, the complete late Mozart and late Schubert quartets, Haydn, Dvorak, Schumann, Ravel, Debussy, Stravinsky, von Einem and Haubenstock-Ramati, as well as live recordings from the Carnegie Hall, New York, the Opera Comique in Paris, the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London and particularly from the Konzerthaus in Vienna. Following their original Beethoven cycle recorded in the studio some years ago, the live recording of their Beethoven cycle at the Konzerthaus during the Vienna Festival in 1989 has been released on CD, video and DVD. The quartet has also made live recordings of works by Janacek, Lutoslawski, Berio, Schnittke, Urbanner and Rihm (most of which are dedicated to the Alban Berg Quartett), Schubert’s late Quartets, the quartets op. 51 and op. 106 of Dvorák, the Mendelssohn’s quartets op. 12 and op. 13 as well as the Piano Quintets by Schumann (with Philippe Entremont), Schubert and Brahms (with Elisabeth Leonskaja) and Dvorak (with Rudolf Buchbinder), Brahms Clarinet Quintet (with Sabine Meyer) and String Quintet op. 111 (with Hariolf Schlichtig), the Mozart’s Piano Quartet in E flat major and Piano Quintet KV 414 with (Alfred Brendel) and, most recently, also live, the “Tango Sensations” of Piazzolla and a world premiere ”Adieu Satie” of the Viennese composer Kurt Schwertsik (both works with Per Arne Glorvigen, Bandoneon).

Press reviews for the Alban Berg Quartett confirm their reputation: ‘Certainly one of the greatest ensembles in chamber music’ (France Soir, Paris), ‘Stunning perfection’ (Washington Post), ‘One of the greatest ensembles of our time’ (San Francisco Chronicle), ‘A wonder by the name of the Alban Berg Quartet’ (Presse, Vienna), ‘Few if any quartets can match their strength and assurance in the Viennese classics and romantics’ (Times), ‘The Alban Berg Quartet have achieved legendary standards in chamber music playing’ (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung), ‘The Alban Berg Quartet overwhelms with Beethoven’ (J. Kaiser, Süddeutsche Zeitung). More important to the quartet than the superlative praise in the press and the enthusiasm of the public is their self-appointed mission of giving the most harmonious interpretation of the works they perform and of extending their repertoire from the classical to the avant-garde; the name ‘Alban Berg’ symbolises this commitment.

In 2005 the quartet suffered a painful loss with the death of their violist Thomas Kakuska. The Alban Berg Quartet continued its concert activities with Isabel Charisius, both out of conviction and in the spirit of Thomas Kakuska. In October 2006 they performed a memorial concert for Thomas Kakuska in the Main Hall of the Vienna Konzerthaus together with singers and musicians like Magdalena Kožena, Thomas Quasthoff, Angelika Kirchschlager, Elisabeth Leonskaja, Heinrich Schiff, Helmut Deutsch, Sir Simon Rattle, and Claudio Abbado.