Auryn Quartet to complete Beethoven string quartet cycle

Auryn Quartet

Germany’s Auryn Quartet, whose recordings of the complete Beethoven string quartets were called “the set to beat” by a reviewer for Gramophone, returns to Bates College to finish its three-year survey of the Beethoven cycle in performances at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Feb. 11-12, and 3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 13, in the Olin Arts Center Concert Hall, 75 Russell St.

The ensemble also offers an open rehearsal followed by a reception at 11:30 a.m. on Feb. 12. Tickets for the performances cost $10/$4 and are available at Attendance at the rehearsal is open to the public at no cost, but seating is very limited and must be reserved by calling 207-786-6163.

For more information, please contact 207-786-6135 or

Founded 30 years ago, the Auryn Quartet consists of violinists Matthias Lingenfelder and Jens Oppermann, violist Stewart Eaton and cellist Andreas Arndt. One of the most sought-after and respected ensembles in the world, the quartet has not changed its personnel over this long period, and continues with its fresh and pioneering approach to all genres of music.

Here are the programs for the Bates concerts:

Feb. 11: string quartets Op. 74, E-flat major (“Harp”); Op. 18, No. 2, G major; and Op. 131, C-sharp minor.

Feb. 12: Op. 18, No. 6, B major; Op. 130, No. 13, B-flat major; and Op. 133, B-flat major (“Grosse Fuge”).

Feb. 13: Op. 18, No. 4, C minor; Op. 135, F major; and Op. 59, No. 2, E minor (“Razumowsky”).

This quartet based in Cologne, Germany, reflects a “European tradition that blends elegance of sound with seamless phrasing and clarity of detail,” in the words of a writer for Cleveland’s Plain Dealer.

Describing the quartet’s recording of the complete Beethoven quartets, a reviewer for Gramophone wrote: “There is no shortage of great and famous Beethoven cycles, but there are no performances such as these. For me, this is now the set to beat.”

The Auryn’s main mentors were the Amadeus Quartet and the Guarneri Quartet, with Claudio Abbado another important influence. The quartet won its first prizes at the London International Competition and the ARD Munich competition, both in 1982, only one year after the group’s inception. The ensemble also won the main prize at the European Broadcasting Competition in Bratislava in 1989.

Recent tours have taken the quartet to Lincoln Center in New York, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam and Wigmore Hall in London, where they performed the complete Beethoven cycle.

The quartet runs its own annual chamber music festival in the Venetian town of Este in Italy (Incontri Internazionali) and does the artistic direction for the Musiktage Mondsee in Austria.

The Auryns have a compelling discography, working exclusively with the Tacet company since 2000. The most recent and ambitious recording project is the edition of all 68 Haydn quartets, which was finished in September 2010.

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