Natalia Prischepenko and
Gregor Sigl, Violins
Friedemann Weigle, Viola
Eckart Runge, Cello
"“Ranging from Beethoven to Ligeti, their performances overflow with fullness of sound, delineated structure and unparalleled drama."
– Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
The Artemis Quartet’s meteoric rise to renown throughout Europe began with its sweep of the top awards at the German Music Competition in 1995, the Munich Competition in 1996, and the Borciani Competition in 1997. The Quartet has gone on to appear in such major venues as the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, the Salzburg Festival, the Beethovenhaus in Bonn, and Wigmore Hall in London. On its fourth North American tour, in the spring of 2002, the Artemis Quartet confirmed its preeminence among the world’s young string quartets, winning extraordinary praise from critics and the public across the continent from Boston to Los Angeles. The New York Times’ Anthony Tommasini declared that “the Berlin-based Artemis Quartet increasingly seems the most impressive quartet among the new generation.”
Formed at the Musikhochschule in Lübeck, Germany, where its members studied with Walter Levin, formerly of the LaSalle Quartet, the Quartet also worked with the Alban Berg Quartet in Cologne, and in master classes with the Emerson and Juilliard Quartets. In spite of its immediate success, the Artemis focuses constantly on the quality of its musicianship. In 1998, at the invitation of the Alban Berg Quartet, the Quartet was in residence at the Musikhochschule in Vienna, where it enlarged and deepened its repertoire and musical knowledge. In 1999, the young musicians accepted an invitation from the Berlin Science Academy to live and work intensively for three months with luminaries from other fields such as physics, literature, art, history, and mathematics.
The Artemis Quartet was honored with the 2001 Rheingau Music Award, and was the first quartet ever to be awarded the Music Prize of the Association of German Critics. In recognition of the Quartet’s contribution to the interpretation of Beethoven’s music, the Verein des Beethoven-Hauses Bonn granted the ensemble honorary membership in 2003. The following year, the Quartet was awarded the 23rd Premio Internazionale Accademia Musicale Chigiana in Siena, Italy.
The Quartet’s recordings on the Ars Musici label include works by Mozart, Beethoven, Wolf, Zemlinsky, Webern, Berg, Ligeti, Brahms, and Verdi. Its Ligeti recording won a 2001 Diapason d’Or. In 2002, two of the Quartet’s previous recordings—a 1999 release of Beethoven Quartets Opus 59, Number 3 and Opus 132, and their 1997 debut album with works by Berg, Webern, Wolf, and Zemlinsky—were each awarded a Diapason d’Or and the magazine named the quartet “Artists of the Year 2002.”
In 2005, the Artemis Quartet signed an exclusive recording contract with the Virgin Classics/EMI label, a venture that will ultimately generate at least ten recordings over five years. The Quartet’s first recording for Virgin Classics, of Beethoven String Quartets Op. 95 and 59/1, won Germany’s 2006 Echo Klassik award for “Chamber Music Recording of the Year.” The ensemble’s inaugural recording with new members Gregor Sigl and Friedemann Weigle, a collection of works by Schubert including the Quintet for Two Cellos (with Truls Mørk), won the German Record Critics’ Award (Deutscher Schallplattenpreis) in 2008. Most recently, its recording of the Schumann and Brahms Piano Quintets (with pianist Leif Ove Andsnes) received the 2008 Gramophone Award for chamber music.
The Artemis Quartet appeared in a motion picture early in its career, Bruno Monsaingeon’s 1996 film Death and the Maiden, at the invitation of the Alban Berg Quartet. Five years later, the ensemble was featured in Monsaingeon’s Strings Attached, a documentary on Beethoven’s Grosse Fuge, Op. 133.