About the Performance

Artemis Quartet w/Eckart Runge
Friday, October 30 | 7:30 PM
The Folly Theater

Gold Memberships currently available.  Call (816) 561.9999 to order.  Single Tickets on-sale August 3. 

One of the top string quartets in the world since its establishment in 1989, the Artemis Quartet has been touted for its precision tempered with a flexibility that is thrilling to watch.  Having changed personnel in recent years, the group has metamorphosed into a significantly younger group while still remaining true to its original pillars of artistic excellence.  Artemis will be performing works by Schubert and Bartok.

Artemis will be joined by founding member and cellist Eckert Runge and will be performing the sublime (yet rarely heard) String Quintet in C major by Franz Schubert.  

Concert Program

SCHUBERT Quartettsatz in C minor, D. 703

BARTOK  Quartet No. 6, Sz. 114

INTERMISSION

SCHUBERT String Quintet in C major (D. 956, Op. posth. 163)

“The interpretation of Artemis Quartet is not only technically on a par with the most virtuosic of their competitors – but it offers as well a higher musical intensity than all the others!” – Süddeutsche Zeitung

About the Artemis Quartet

Anniversary and new start coincide. Instead of a satisfied review, a courageous departure is required. Thirty years after it was founded in 1989 when the Berlin Wall came down, the Artemis Quartet accepted two new members and became significantly younger. The ensemble had mastered several changes in the past few years. But now a fundamental change is imminent: At the beginning of the 2019/20 season, Suyoen Kim, the violinist born in Münster, Westphalia, who is the first concert master at the Konzerthausorchester Berlin, alternates with Vineta Sareika on the positions of the first and second violins, while Anthea Kreston left the quartet. Harriet Krijgh, the Dutch cellist with a high profile, takes over the part from founding member Eckart Runge.

It is a change of staff at high speed and at the same time in the spotlight of an expectant public. Already in September 2019, two appearances in the Amsterdam Concertgebouw are on the tour schedule. In the 2019/20 season, the newly formed quartet will continue its celebrated cycles with three programs each in the chamber music hall of the Berlin Philharmonie and in the Mozart hall of the Vienna Konzerthaus and will continue to be present in the major ranks of Europe, North America and Asia. The challenge is immense: the ensemble has to find itself new and still preserve its character and identity. No musician from the original ensemble that came together while studying at the Lübeck University of Music has been more active since Eckart Runge’s departure. Nevertheless, the continuity of the generations is given: Viola player Gregor Sigl has been a member of the quartet since 2007; Vineta Sareika was added as Primaria in 2012.

The traditional idea that the style of interpretation of a string quartet is shaped and embodied by a leader – often the Primarius – appears to be completely overcome in the Artemis Quartet. Even more: The exceptional quality of the formation, which was recognized early on with significant international prizes and – thanks to numerous outstanding recordings – was soon perceived as a benchmark chamber music association, is due to a continuous collective effort. Gregor Sigl, who is now the senior, is firmly convinced of this. On the one hand, the artistic appearance was always determined by the traits of the individuals making music. On the other hand, however, a kind of quartet DNA has emerged over the decades, which made the common organism ever more complex and elastic at the same time, says Sigl. “Every member has enriched and nurtured the quartet over the years. Every musician brought something valuable with them. They have all contributed to a knowledge base of internalized rules and factual knowledge that is not only carefully preserved, but is also deliberately passed on. ”

The quartet has long limited its repertoire to three programs per season, whereby individual works can be taken over into the following season. Each program is intensively rehearsed for several weeks and then performed many times in series all over the world, which means that the interpretations can be refined and crystallized more and more. The four musicians follow a decidedly perfectionist working attitude, which requires precise time planning and pronounced self-discipline. This allows a high degree of flexibility within the strict framework: “Spontaneity arises where you know exactly what you are doing. Only complete security allows freedom, ”Gregor Sigl learned. The musicians of the Artemis Quartet have always documented the results of their joint rehearsal in detail, so that each resumption of a work can start at the previous level of creative penetration. In this way, the quartet may have a greater wealth of ideas and experience than if it had played unchanged over the years, Sigl believes.

Meanwhile, the musical and ethical foundations of the Artemis Quartet remain stable. In addition to the highest instrumental level, the “uncompromising pursuit of truthfulness”, summarizes Sigl. Extremely pronounced “curiosity” and “openness” in the mutual exchange as well as the deferral of one’s own ego are the prerequisites for the musicians of the Artemis Quartet that “contradiction of all participants in controversial plurality”, which the philosopher Wolfgang Welsch once described as the main social characteristic of quartet art Has. The constant high tension of artistic unconditionality in connection with immense concentration in the formation of the common choreography creates the conditions for the stability of the ensemble on and off the stage. Without this stability, the 30-year history of the Artemis Quartet would not have been possible. “After all, the hardest thing is staying together,” Sigl knows.

In the new constellation, all the prerequisites seem to be right: Vineta Sareika and Gregor Sigl considered the two new colleagues early on in the selection phase for the vacant positions – but hesitated to speak to them because both of them were just so immensely successful in their careers , Both Suyoen Kim and Harriet Krijgh “play sensationally”, enthuses the violist, they are “immensely curious” – and “absolutely want to play the quartet”. A long-cherished professional dream has come true for both musicians. As early as 2020, the Beethoven anniversary marks a phase in which the internationally leading string quartets should be the center of attention. The Artemis Quartet celebrates its 250th birthday with three programs: one large Beethoven Quartet each (op. 59/3, 130/133, 132) is combined with novelties by Peteris Vasks, Lera Auerbach and Jörg Widmann, which were commissioned by the ensemble. For one of the programs presented by the string quintet version of Beethoven’s Kreutzer Sonata, Eckart Runge joins the group as the second cellist.

“Whoever does not cry at Runge’s tone has no heart.” (Elenore Büning/FAZ)

About Eckert Runge

At Eckart Runge, the intensive examination of the large classical repertoire and its versatility in different musical genres combine to form a unique overall artistic picture. Der Tagesspiegel wrote: ‘This frontier worker of the classic scene has magical versatility beyond all drawers and labels.

For three decades, Eckart Runge has shaped the characteristic profile of the Artemis Quartet with which he has given concerts all over the world. The ensemble’s discography, exclusive to Warner classics / Erato, has won several awards, including four with the ECHO classic and the Diapason d’Or. Composers such as Jörg Widmann, Mauricio Sotelo, Lera Auerbach and Thomas Larcher dedicated works to the ensemble.

At the end of the 2018/19 season, Eckart Runge decided to go his own artistic way and to devote himself entirely to his solo and chamber music projects, especially his second great passion, the borderline between classical music and jazz, tango, rock and film music.

Accordingly, Eckart Runge chose the first recording of Nikolai Kapustin’s jazz cello concerto op. 85 and Alfred Schnittke’s first cello concerto for his debut album as a soloist with the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra. With the Munich Symphony Orchestra he will present the European premiere of John Williams cello concerto. 

In a duo with pianist Jacques Ammon, he has given concerts in concert series, festivals and clubs for 25 years. With the programs and albums CelloTango, RussianSoul , CelloCinema and  Baroque Blues , the  two enthuse critics as well as wider audiences. In the Beethoven year 2020, the duo Runge & Ammon with  RollOverBeethoven-Revolution among others guest at the Elbphilharmonie Hamburg, the Beethovenhaus Bonn, BASF Mannheim, the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival and the WDR Cologne.

Eckart Runge also continues to be present on the chamber music podiums: together with the ECHO classic award-winning Quartetto di Cremona, a recording of Franz Schubert’s famous string quintet in C major was released in 2019, with which the musicians go on tour internationally. Another artistic collaboration is with saxophonist Asya Fateyewa and accordionist Andreas Borregaard. In 2019, the three musicians will bring the Goldberg Variations by JSBach on stage in their own adaptation.

Eckart Runge plays a rare cello by the brothers Hieronymus & Antonio Amati from Cremona from 1595, which is made available to him on loan from Merito String Instrument Trust Vienna.

Eckart Runge was a young student at Edmont Baert at the ‘Conservatoire Royal’ in Brussels and then until the concert exam in David Geringas’ master class at the Lübeck University of Music. Other mentors were Walter Levin, Alfred Brendel, Boris Pergamenschikow, the Alban Berg Quartet and György Kurtag. As a student, he won numerous prizes, such as the German Music Competition, the Premio-Stradivari Cremona, the Concours International Violoncelle de Genève, as well as the quartet at the Premio Borciani and the ARD competition.

As a professor at the University of the Arts in Berlin and at the Chapelle de la Reine Elisabeth Brussels, as well as on numerous master courses, he passes on his experience to students from all over the world.

Eckart Runge also sees his artistic self-image in social engagement and supports through regular benefit concerts and on-site engagements with organizations such as  Jeunesses Musicales Deutschland, Yehudi Menuhins Life Music Now and  Mit-Mach-Musik, an integration project for refugee children. 

As a Duo, both artists have been working together for more than 10 years and have appeared at significant concert events such as the Baden-Baden Masters’ Concert, at the Frauenkirche in Dresden, the WDR television station in Cologne, the Vienna Konzerthaus, the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival, as well as in Italy, Belgium, France, Switzerland, South America and the USA. At the invitation of Laura Escalada de Piazzolla, Astor Piazzolla’s widow, the duo performed at a memorial concert in Buenos Aires in 2003. After a concert in New York (Barge Music) in 2006, the two musicians were given a spontaneous invitation to make a guest appearance in the famous Jazz club “Birdland”.

The CD recordings “CelloPassion”, “CelloTango” and “contrapunctango” have been given a special recommendation by the FAZ German national newspaper and the musical magazine “FonoForum”. In 2004, “CelloCinema” – a homage to film music – appeared and was given a very positive reception by the press.

Eckart Runge and Jacques Ammon also understand their artistic work as a natural contribution in social and pedagogical projects. Their regular benefit concerts and direct work on location supports organisations such as “Jeunesses Musicales Germany”, “Yehudi Menuhin Life Music Now” and youth orchestra projects in South America.

Listen to the Artemis Quartet

Listen to Eckert Runge