Lawrence Power (viola) with the Vertavo String Quartet

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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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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November 13, 2016 at 11:15

  • Schubert: Grand Overture
  • Beethoven: Fugue in D major for String Quintet, op 137
  • Brahms: Clarinet Quintet in B minor, op 115 (viola version)

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  • Children 11-17 – £6.00
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