The Dante Quartet, one of the UK’s finest ensembles, is known for its imaginative programming and impassioned performances. The Quartet was founded in 1995 and chose its name to reflect the idea of an epic journey. The Quartet has been honoured with the Royal Philharmonic Society Award for Chamber Music and has also received international awards for its recordings.
Frequently heard on Radio 3, the Quartet has appeared many times at London’s Wigmore Hall and Kings Place, and at some of the UK’s foremost festivals and music societies. Abroad, the Quartet has played in France, Germany, Holland, Spain, Switzerland, Finland, the Czech Republic and Poland, and has twice toured Japan.
The Dante Quartet has made a series of acclaimed recordings for Hyperion, winning the BBC Music Magazine Award and the French Diapaison d’Or. The Quartet has also recorded for Signum and Toccata Records and their recording of the string quartets by Herbert Howells was released on the Naxos label in 2019. The Dante Quartet has recently recorded the eight string quartets and two quintets of C.V. Stanford on the SOMM label.
The Quartet has performed cycles of the complete Beethoven and Shostakovich string quartets in single marathon weekends They have collaborated with playwright Clare Norburn (author of concert-drama ‘Breaking the Rules’) on a dramatized version of Beethoven’s quartet cycle, featuring actor David Timson as the composer. This innovative format has proved popular and has been performed many times. The Quartet will undertake further performances of ‘Beethoven’s Quartet Journey’ in August 2022.
Committed to teaching, the Dante Quartet has participated in courses at the University of Birmingham, Cambridge, Cornwall, Purcell School and further afield in France and Project Q in Japan. The quartet has enjoyed close links with King’s College, Cambridge, collaborating with the celebrated King’s College Choir and was Quartet In Residence at the University of Birmingham.
New music forms an important strand of the Quartet’s repertoire: commissions and premieres include works by Matthew Taylor, Dmitry Smirnov, Elena and Alissa Firsova, Michael Finnissey and Roxanna Panufnik. In February 2017 the quartet gave the world premiere of the song cycle ‘Who Wrote the Book of Love?’ by Jonathan Dove with the Canadian bass-baritone Philippe Sly. In 2022 the Quartet will perform the String Quartet by Ian Venables.
In 2004 the Dante Quartet founded its own chamber music festival in the Tamar Valley, presenting classical concerts alongside collaborations with international artists from other disciplines such as folk and jazz.