Featuring Amarins Wierdsma, James Dong violins, Christoph Slenczka viola and Yoanna Prodanova cello they will be in action on Thursday, October 7 in the Assembly Room, Chichester, with the 17th season running monthly through to March 2022.
They will perform: Frank Bridge – Three Idylls for String Quartet; Britten – String Quartet No 2 in C minor Op 36; and Schubert – String Quartet No 15 in G major D887 with tickets available from Chichester Festival Theatre.
Inevitably it feels significant. As Yoanna says: “We are really really looking forward to it. It has been very disappointing with all the cancellations so now we are doubly excited. Obviously it has all been very difficult for the quartet to organise to rehearse and for a while it was impossible. It was a period of waiting around and contemplating and learning to appreciate when we might be able to meet again.
“When the first lockdown came in March last year, we were in our rehearsal space just about to leave for Holland where we were going to a festival. It had been a really busy few months for us, but we received the message at the end of our rehearsal that the festival had been cancelled. We knew that it was going to be the beginning of a strange period, and all of us headed home to our different places.
“Usually we have a very dynamic life travelling from one place to another and playing different repertoire. It is very intense. We were all forced to take a break and it gave us a chance to see what else we appreciated in our lives. For me it was a chance to catch up with my reading. I dove into my library and read non-stop. I started running as well. I am loving it. I am thinking of expanding my running as much as possible. I am trying to do it a little bit intuitively. I don’t want to follow a plan, but eventually I would like to do a half-marathon. But other things we did were just to reconnect with music in a non-stressful way. Instead of rushing to performances and always being in the performance mindset, it was great to have a few months where we can think about what we are doing and focus on different repertoire and also solo playing. That was particularly beneficial. Something happened in my mindset being forced to stop and to think about it a little bit. I realised that music-making is an extremely joyous thing and that you need to keep that freshness and to keep that joy about it even though when you get busy it can get very stressful. It won’t be easy, but you need to keep your mind on every performance as a celebration and to keep that excitement.
“It is difficult when it is your livelihood. It is a little bit of a different game, but really playing music should be about sharing and generosity and never anything tense or stressful. And that is what we want to keep going.”
First prize winners of the 2019 Joseph Joachim International Chamber Music Competition as well as the 2018 St Martin in the Fields Chamber Music Competition, the Barbican Quartet were selected as Young Artists of 2020 in the St John’s Smith Square Scheme. They made their Wigmore Hall debut in 2017 and were 2016 Park Lane Group Artists. In 2018 the Royal Philharmonic Society awarded them the Albert and Eugenie Frost Prize. The Barbican Quartet has appeared in festivals including the Montreal International String Quartet Academy, IMS Prussia Cove, Harmos Festival, Portugal and undertook a residency in Aldeburgh in 2017.