Castalian STRING QUARTET
biography

Sini Simonen violin

Daniel Roberts violin

Ruth Gibson viola

Christopher Graves cello

 

“A powerful individuality of sound matched by an instinctive singularity of musical intention”
– The Scotsman

 

In the decade since its formation, the London-based Castalian Quartet has distinguished itself as one of the most dynamic, sophisticated young string quartets performing today.  Named the inaugural Hans Keller String Quartet in Residence at the Oxford University Faculty of Music in 2021, they are also the recipient of the Royal Philharmonic Society’s 2019 Young Artists Award. The Quartet received the prestigious inaugural Merito String Quartet Award and Valentin Erben Prize in 2018, has won a Borletti-Buitoni Trust Fellowship Award, and is beginning to gain international acclaim as they take their talents abroad. The Castalian Quartet will have their debut performances in Seattle, San Francisco, New York, Atlanta, Vancouver, and many other cities across North America in the 2021-22 season.

 

In February 2019, the Quartet was joined at Wigmore Hall by guest artists Stephen Hough, Cédric Tiberghien, Michael Collins, Nils Mönkemeyer, Isabel Charisius and Ursula Smith to perform the chamber music of Brahms and Schumann.  The Guardian (UK) raved, “To hear this music, so full of poetry, joy and sorrow, realised to such perfection, felt like a miracle.” Other pre-Covid highlights included debuts at the Paris Philharmonie and Vienna Konzerthaus; performances of the complete Haydn Op.76 Quartets at Wigmore Hall; concerts in the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Heidelberger Frühling, East Neuk,  Zwischentöne Festival in Engelberg, Neuchatel Chamber Music in Switzerland and Banff International Festivals. Further afield they undertook tours of China and Colombia.

 

Formed in 2011, the Castalian Quartet studied with Oliver Wille (Kuss Quartet) at the Hannover University of Music, Drama and Media, graduating with a Master’s degree.  In addition to the above, awards include Third Prize at the 2016 Banff Quartet Competition and First Prize at the 2015 Lyon Chamber Music Competition. The Quartet was selected by Young Classical Artists Trust (YCAT) in 2016.  They have received coaching from Simon Rowland-Jones, David Waterman and Isabel Charisius. Ruth Gibson makes her debut with the quartet this season.

 

Their name is derived from the Castalian Spring in the ancient city of Delphi. According to Greek mythology, the nymph Castalia transformed herself into a fountain to evade Apollo’s pursuit, thus creating a source of poetic inspiration for all who drink from her waters. Herman Hesse chose Castalia as the name of his futuristic European utopia in The Glass Bead Game. The novel’s protagonist, a Castalian by the name of Knecht, is mentored in this land of intellectual thought and education by the venerable Music Master.

 

2021-22 season