Introducing the performers…

Lawrence Power (viola)

Lawrence Power is one of the foremost violists today and has been on the shortlist for the Royal Philharmonic Society Instrumentalist Award. He is regularly invited to perform with some of the world’s greatest orchestras, including the Chicago Symphony, the Boston Symphony, the Royal Concertgebouw, Bayerischer Rundfunk, Stockholm Philharmonic, and Bergen Philharmonic Lawrence Power was Artist in Residence with the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra for the 2012/13 season and enjoys a close relationship with the London Philharmonic Orchestra with whom he gave the world premiere of James MacMillan’s Viola Concerto, conducted by Vladimir Jurowski, to huge critical acclaim. He has also performed the Walton Concerto conducted by Yannick Nezet-Seguin and Britten’s Lachrymae conducted by Vladimir Jurowski.

Lawrence has given recitals in London, Glasgow, Cardiff and across the UK, and in Stavanger, Zurich and Vienna. A keen champion of contemporary music, he gave the UK premiere of Olga Neuwirth’s concerto Remnants of Song at the 2012 BBC Proms, the world premiere of Luke Bedford’s Wonderful Two-headed Nightingale and the world premiere of Charlotte Bray’s Invisible Cities at the 2012 Verbier Festival. He regularly collaborates with Maxim Vengerov and recently performed with him at the Barbican Centre in London. His Gramophone-nominated recordings for Hyperion include the Bartok, Rosza, Walton and Rubbra concertos and Shostakovich and Brahms sonatas and York Bowen’s complete works for viola and piano with Simon Crawford-Phillips. His three-disc Hindemith survey has become a benchmark recording of this repertoire. Other releases include Strauss’s Don Quixote with the Gürzenich Orchester and Mark-Anthony Turnage’s On Opened Ground with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, both conducted my Markus Stenz; the Britten Double Concerto with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Ilan Volkov and Anthony Marwood and Vaughan Williams’s Concerto with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and Martyn Brabbins. His most recent release is the music of Arthur Benjamin, with pianist Simon Crawford-Phillips, on which Lawrence plays both viola and violin music.

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Simon Crawford-Phillips (piano)

Simon Crawford-Phillips has established an extraordinarily varied career as soloist, chamber musician, lieder accompanist and most recently as a conductor, making his debut with the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra in 2013.

Simon’s performances in recent years have included a series of concerts at Wigmore Hall together with the Nash Ensemble; a tour of Europe and Carnegie Hall together with the Colin Currie Group; live broadcasts for the BBC from Edinburgh, Cardiff and London; solo performances at the Wigmore Hall, South Bank Centre and Concertgebouw; festivals in Belfast, Edinburgh, Helsinki, Savannah and Verbier; and tours of Holland, North America and Switzerland. As a conductor, he has made his debut with Musica Vitae, Dala Sinfonietta, Västerås Sinfonietta, and returned to the Swedish Radio Orchestra as well as assisting Daniel Harding at the Verbier festival.

Simon works regularly with artists including Colin Currie, Daniel Hope, Pekka Kuusisto, Anthony Marwood, Truls Mørk, Anne Sofie von Otter, Lawrence Power, the Nash Ensemble and the Elias string quartet. He has given world premieres of music by Steve Reich and Mark-Anthony Turnage, as well as working alongside Sofia Gubaidulina, Simon Holt, Colin Matthews and Huw Watkins.

Simon is a founding member of the Kungsbacka Piano Trio, who have released two discs of Fauré chamber music for Naxos as well as performing throughout Europe. In 2016 they toured Sweden and England, culminating in a BBC live broadcast from Wigmore Hall. In 2014, Simon’s piano duo together with Philip Moore (also a long-standing partnership) premiered Steve Reich’s Quartet for two pianos and two vibraphones at the Southbank in London; New York’s Carnegie Hall (one of “The Ten Best Classical Performances of 2014” according to New York Magazine); Kölner Philharmonie; and Cité de la Musique, Paris. Performances in 2015 included the Edinburgh International Festival, for which the duo received glowing, five-star reviews.

Simon also co-founded the “Stockholm Syndrome Ensemble”, a group that aims to redefine the concert experience and is made up of some of Europe’s most exciting chamber musicians. The ensemble has its own series at Musikaliska in Stockholm and has recently been the focus of a TV documentary for SVT.

In addition to radio and television broadcasts in Europe, Australia and Japan, Simon has recorded for the BIS, Channel Classics, Deux-Elles, Hyperion, Harmonia Mundi, LSO Live, Naxos and Signum CD labels.

As well as performing, Simon is heavily involved in curating concerts and designing programmes. He is the artistic director of the Change Music Festival in Norra Halland in Sweden and the co-artistic director of the Wye Valley Chamber Music Festival. He has also presented concerts for Sweden’s classical music radio station P2.

In June 2010, Simon was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Music. Previously, he has held teaching positions at the Royal Academy and Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, and currently teaches at the Gothenburg Academy of Music and Drama too. His guest teaching has included the Schymberg masterclasses in Sweden together with Anne Sofie von Otter, and chamber music at Indiana University in Bloomington, and University of Colorado.

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The Vertavo String Quartet

Øyvor Volle (violin)
Annabelle Meare (violin)
Berit Cardas (viola)
Bjørg Lewis (cello)

The Vertavo Quartet is internationally recognised as one of the most masterful string quartets playing today. Since their formation in Norway in 1984, their dynamic and deeply thoughtful performances have captivated audiences worldwide. In June 2005, the quartet was honoured with the Grieg Prize, an award bestowed on artists of high international standing and whose former recipients include Leif Ove Andsnes, Truls Mørk and the Grieg Trio. Just ten years previously in 1995 they had won First Prize at the 2nd Melbourne International Chamber Music Competition where they were also awarded the Audience prize and the Critics’ prize.

The quartet now play at all the major concert venues in the world. They tour extensively throughout Europe and also in Japan and the US. Recent tours and concerts have taken them to Norway, Spain, Mexico, Sweden, Poland, the US and the UK. They have given concerts at Concertgebouw, Amsterdam; Barbican, London; Kings Place, London and were invited to participate in the 2013 celebration of Benjamin Britten’ s centenary at the Aldeburgh Festival 2013. Collaboration also plays an integral role in the Vertavo Quartet’s concert life; they have formed partnerships with Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Leif Ove Andsnes, Lambert Orkis, Steven Kovacevich, Håkan Hardenberger, Martin Fröst, Sabine Meyer, Isabelle van Keulen. In 2014 they will undertake a quintet tour with the renowned British pianist Paul Lewis.

The quartet’s discography is a diverse one and includes Schumann, Brahms, Grieg, Debussy, Bartok, Nielsen, Asheim, “Les Vendredis” (Russian vignettes of the turn of the 20th century) all for SIMAX Classics, as well as the Mozart clarinet quintet with Martin Fröst for BIS Records. Their Debussy and Grieg recording received the Diapason d’Or. 

The Vertavo Quartet have always had a great affinity for contemporary music and have given commanding performances of works by Ligeti, Adès, Widmann, Gabriela Frank and works by contemporary Nordic composers such as Nørgård, Edlund and Asheim. In March 2013, they gave the world premiere of Poul Ruders’s 4th String Quartet at a major festival of Danish and Finnish composers at the Barbican Hall in London to great critical acclaim.

The 21 variations on the Passacaglia are punctured with cadenzas for cello, viola and violin in turn and these anguished outbursts were delivered with passionate conviction by the Vertao players. It made for a forceful climax.”

The Guardian

Played with a thrilling ironfist-in-velvet-glove touch by the Vertavo Quartet, [Poul Ruders’s 4th string quartet] was a miracle of stylistic lightfootedness.”

The Daily Telegraph

The second of Schoenberg’s four quartets was given by the Vertavo Quartet, four (female) Norwegians, whose reading combined passion and clarity, intellect and emotion, in true Schoenbergian fashion.”

The Sunday Times


“…the garlands must go to the Vertavo Quartet, an all-female ensemble from Norway. They threw themselves at the Bartók Fourth Quartet, taking its ferocious difficulties in their stride with a raw, primal force that immediately raised the hairs on the neck.”

The Independent

The audience sat gobsmacked as the dying echo of Beethoven’s Quartet in C sharp minor faded in the cavernous reaches of the Melbourne Concert Hall on Saturday night … When everyone came to, the audience reaction was over-the-top by Melbourne standards: people stood, people whistled, people shouted.” 

The Sydney Morning Herald

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March 4, 2018 at 11:15

  • Turina: Scene Andalouse for Viola, Piano and String Quartet
  • Chausson: Concert in D major for Piano, Violin and String Quartet, op 21

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