12th Nov, 2018

Dante Quartet to play all 15 of Dimitri Shostakovich’s string quartets in Artrix extravaganza

Ross Crawford 21st Oct, 2018

IT’S not for the faint hearted, but brilliant, challenging music and a chance to look into the heart of a composer working at the height of Stalinism is coming to the Artrix next weekend.

The world-renowned Dante Quartet is playing all 15 of Dimitri Shostakovich’s string quartets in what promises to be an immersive and stunning programme stretching from Friday, October 26 through to Sunday, October 28.

Along the way they’ll be supported by a series of respected speakers and each performance will include an introduction by Stephen Johnson, author of ‘How Shostakovich Changed My Mind’.

Dimitri Shostakovich’s career spanned the Soviet Union at the height of its power and his work frequently reflected the regime he worked under.

His string quartets run from the almost spring-like joy of the first, written in 1938, to the intimacy of his 15th, written in 1974, a year before his death.

“This is one of those massive projects they love to put on in Bromsgrove backed by some very knowledgeable speakers,” said Dante Quartet cellist Richard Jenkinson, former lead cello with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra.

“A lot of Shostakovich’s quartets are very dark and it’s not going to be for the faint hearted but it’s an amazing project, a musical journey – when are you going to hear all of Shostokovich’s string quartets again?

It’s going to be fun and an opportunity to immerse yourself in the darkest thoughts of a brilliant composer,” he added.

“There’s huge variety there – the 8th is probably the most famous with its reference to the bombing of Dresden in 1945, the 3rd was one of his favourites while the 4th has some real jewels in it.”

The Dante Quartet, featuring Richard Jenkinson on cello, violinists Krysia Osostowicz and Oscar Perks and viola player Yuko Inoue, are some of the finest players in the world.

They’re no strangers to the Artrix either having led a weekend of Beethoven sonatas there three years ago while their busy recording and touring schedule will see them head to Japan – where they will play Tokyo, Osaka and Hiroshima – after the Shostakovich weekend.

Exploring Shostakovich opens on Friday, October 26 at 5.30pm with the keynote talk: ‘The Man and his Music’ by Stephen Johnson, followed by Quartet No.1 at no charge with Quartets 2 and 3 at 8.15pm at £20 per ticket.

Thereafter there will be a series of speakers, discussions and concerts covering the entire weekend, including a masterclass with Robin Ireland and the student quartet from Birmingham Coinservatoire.

For full details and tickets visit https://www.artrix.co.uk/ with saver tickets for whole weekend from 2 College Walk, Bromsgrove B60 2ND, 01527 874136.

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