Hear the award-winning harpist Oliver Wass and the Gémeaux Quartet perform an all-French programme featuring Debussy, Caplet and Ravel.
Arisa Fujita (violin)
Francesco Sica (violin)
Sylvia Zucker (viola)
Matthijs Broersma (cello)
Oliver Wass (harp)
Debussy Quartet in G minor Op. 10
Caplet Conte Fantastique for Harp and String Quartet
Debussy Danses Sacrée et Profane for Harp and String Quartet
Ravel Quartet in F
Representing four different nations, the Gémeaux Quartet is one of the leading ensembles of its generation. During the 2010/11 season, the Quartet made its highly acclaimed debut at the Philharmonie in Berlin. Recent highlights include concerts in Hong Kong with clarinetist Paul Meyer, a performance of Schubert’s Octet with Jörg Widmann and Bruno Schneider, an appearance at the World Economic Forum in Davos as well as a collaboration with the Bundesjugendballet at the Konzerthaus in Berlin.
In 2012 the Quartet won 2nd Prize at both the International “Franz Schubert and Modern Music” Competition in Graz and the International “Joseph Haydn Chamber Music” Competition in Vienna. Previous prizes include a 3rd Prize at the ARD Music Competition in 2008, as well as the coveted Audience Award. In 2007 the Quartet won 1st Prize at the Chamber Music Competition of the “Migros-Kulturprozent”, were 1st Prize winners of the Basel Orchestra Society Competition and received the Mozart Prize from the city of Lucerne. More recently, the Quartet was honored with the Swiss Ambassador’s Award in London which resulted in a tour of England, Scotland and Wales.
The Basel based Quartet has a busy concert schedule. In addition to performances at the KKL in Lucerne, Opera Bastille in Paris, Tonhalle in Zürich, Wigmore Hall and Kings Place in London and at the Philharmonie in Köln, the four musicians are guests at well-known festivals such as the Lucerne Festival, the Schubert Festival in Schwarzenberg, the Rheingau Music Festival, the Heidelberger Frühling, the Kitakyushu Festival in Japan, as well as the Davos Festival. Radio and television invite the young quartet regularly, and they performed on Swiss Radio DRS2, RTSI, Radio Berlin Brandenburg, SWR, WDR, Hessischer Rundfunk and Bavarian Radio.
The Quartet has collaborated with artists including Isabel Charisius (Alban Berg Quartet), Patrick Gallois, Bruno Giuranna, Maximilian Hornung, Reinhard Latzko, Jens Peter Maintz, Sebastian Manz, Matthias Pintscher, Christian Poltéra and Julian Prégardien.
The four young musicians came together because of their passion for the string quartet repertoire – in 2003 they formed the Gémeaux Quartet at the Hochschule für Musik in Basel where they studied with Walter Levin and Sebastian Hamann. As part of a postgraduate course for string quartets, the Quartet then received further training from the Hagen Quartet at the ‘Mozarteum’, Salzburg University, and continued to work with Rainer Schmidt at the Hochschule für Musik Basel.
During 2010/11 the Quartet was “Ensemble in Residence” at the Folkwang Hochschule in Essen and more recently the Quartet lead an undergraduate course for string quartets at the Hochschule für Musik Basel.
On the record label GENUIN, the Gémeaux Quartet released the first recording of the two string quartets and the string trio by Pierre-Dominique Ponnelle. In June 2015, the Quartet released their second CD with the Piano Quintets by Friedrich Gernsheim with Oliver Triendl on the CPO label, which was recently chosen as recording of the week on German radio SWR2.
Oliver Wass is in his second year of a Masters Degree at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, for which he was awarded a full scholarship to study with Imogen Barford. He graduated from the University of York with a First Class Honours degree in Chemistry.
In May 2016, he became the first harpist ever to win the Guildhall Gold Medal, the Guildhall’s most prestigious prize. Previous winners of the competition include Jacqueline du Pré, Bryn Terfel and Tasmin Little. He has performed all the major harp concertos, including directing the Handel Harp Concerto in the Barbican Hall. He has also performed concertos at the London Handel Festival, the City of London Festival, with the Oxford Sinfonia, and with the World Chamber Orchestra. He recently won the Andrea Vigh Jury Prize at the 4th International Harp Competition in Szeged, and will return to give a recital at the Gödöllő International Harp Festival in the autumn.
He is a 2016 St John’s Smith Square Young Artist, and will be presenting recitals throughout the 2016/17 season, as well as commissioning a new work for solo harp.
He made his Wigmore Hall debut in 2016, where he was praised for his “tremendous dynamism” and “remarkable range of timbres and warmth of the tone” (Seen and Heard International).
His flute-viola-harp trio; The Pelléas Ensemble, are winners of the 2017 Elias Fawcett Award for Outstanding Chamber Ensemble at the Royal Overseas League competition. In 2016 they won both the Grand Prize and the Audience Prize in the St Martin-in-the-Fields Chamber Music Competition, and won a place on the prestigious Tillett Trust Young Artists’ Programme. In 2015 they won First Prize at the British Harp Chamber Music Competition. They are Park Lane Group Young Artists.
They have a busy recital schedule performing around the country, and are active in commissioning new works for the combination which have been performed at St John’s Smith Square, the Two Moors Festival, and the United Kingdom Harp Association. They have appeared live on Radio 3.
An experienced soloist, Oliver competed in and won music festivals throughout his childhood. He studied with Charlotte Seale at the Junior Department of the GSMD, where he became the only harpist to have been a prizewinner in the prestigious Lutine Competition, and he was Principal Harp in the National Youth Orchestra.
Oliver is very grateful for support from the Norman Gee Foundation, The Countess of Munster Musical Trust, and Help Musicians UK, where he holds a Fleming Award.
Pre-concert talk by Caroline Potter, 5:30pm in the Brockway Room
Musicologist Caroline Potter, award-winning author of books on French composers introduces the evening's programme.