Albion Quartet, string quartet

British classical string quartet consisting of Tamsin Waley-Cohen, Emma Parker, Rosalind Ventris and Nathaniel Boyd

Who or what inspired you to pursue a career in music?
Chamber music has been a staple of all our lives since we were small. Playing in a string quartet as a child gives you so many opportunities to meet friends and to explore the amazing sound world of the Quartet. Once you catch ‘the quartet bug’ it tends to stick!
Who or what have been the most important influences on your musical life and career?
We are very fortunate to meet and collaborate with many astonishing musicians in the chamber music world. Last week we had a wonderful experience playing the Dvorak viola Quintet with Miguel da Silva, formerly of the Ysaye Quartet.
What have been the greatest challenges of your career so far
Playing string quartets is an all consuming affair. Finding the right work life balance is nigh on impossible. So far, our families still recognise us!
Which performance/recordings are you most proud of?
Sometimes the best concerts happen when you least expect it. Last summer we were resident at The Saint Mere Festival in the South of France. Following an intense week of concerts and a mountain of repertoire we performed Beethoven’s Harp in an ancient (and very hot) church. Despite our fatigue we really felt his spirit with us
Which particular works do you think you play best?
We love the warmth and humour of Dvorak and are very much looking forward to making two Cd’s of his works (quartets 5, 8, 10 & 12) in the Spring for Signum Classics.
How do you make your repertoire choices from season to season?
It’s a combination of what we would like to play and works or composers we have been requested to programme. We feel The String  quartet rep is unparalleled  in its depth and quality; there is a huge variety to choose from. A huge amount of thought goes into programming and it’s something we consider very carefully.
Do you have a favourite concert venue to perform in and why?
London is our home so we are looking forward to returning to Kings Place for several more concerts in the coming season as part of our residency. Other highlights include our trip to the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam in the spring and that Mecca of chamber of music Wigmore Hall next year.
As musicians, what is your definition of success?
The holy grail is to feel that intangible energy and concentration from the audience as a response to the music. As musicians we aspire to feel that the music is passing through us unimpeded and undiluted.
What do you consider to be the most important ideas and concepts to impart to aspiring musicians?
To not be afraid of failure and to dare to live in the moment.
Where would you like to be in 10 years’ time?
Continuing our exploration of this great music together.
Albion Quartet continue their Kings Place residency on Sunday 25 February (, and will give concerts on 23 and 30 March as part of their Snape Maltings residency (

A shared belief in the visceral, communicative power of the string quartet brought together four outstanding performers of their generation to form the Albion Quartet in 2016 following years of close collaboration at different festivals. These players are delighted to further their reputation for creative and imaginative performances in this exciting new venture. Forthcoming engagements include recitals at Wigmore Hall, London and The Concertgebouw, Amsterdam. 

The Albion Quartet is currently Quartet-in-Residence at Gresham’s School, and opened Gresham’s new Britten Concert Hall in 2017. In 2017/2018 they embark on a number of new residencies: they are Quartet-in-Residence at London’s Kings Place, the Sainte-Mère Festival in France, Honeymead Festival, the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama, and at Aldeburgh Music.

A thirst to explore the string quartet repertoire through innovative programming is quickly becoming the quartet’s benchmark. The ensemble’s creative curiosity has led them to curate concerts focused around specific themes and presenting lesser-known works alongside core quartet repertoire – a characteristic manifested in their Kings Place residency programmes. Through the themes of Mentors, War, Folk and Hymn, the quartet will explore the music of a great variety of composers ranging from Haydn, Schubert, Ravel, Dvořák, as well as Britten, Maconchy and Fribbins. Every programme will go on a musical voyage linking each one of these themes to British and European music throughout different periods in time.

The Quartet collaborated with bass Matthew Rose at last year’s Aldeburgh Festival. In 2017 they also performed with violist Douglas Paterson of the Schubert Ensemble. In January 2018 the quartet performs with Miguel da Silva, formerly the violist of the Ysaÿe Quartet, in England and Belgium.

The quartet feels a particular affinity for the chamber music of Antonin Dvořák. Whilst the ‘American’ quartet is a much-loved part of the quartet canon, the majority of Dvořák’s quartets (he wrote fourteen in total) are rarely performed. Following on from their residency at Snape Maltings in March 2018, their debut recordings of Dvořák’s quartets will be released later this year, the first in a series of discs for Signum Records. The also look forward to a recording of Richard Blackford’s Kalon with the Czech Philharmonic this Spring.

They play a stunning quartet of instruments, including a Stradivarius and Guarnerius.

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