Barbican String Quartet play Lewes

After recent thin times for classical music players and audiences, the Lewes-based Nicholas Yonge Society is beginning its new season of five chamber music concerts with a bang.

Barbican String Quartet
Barbican String Quartet

Spokesman John Hawkins said: “The first concert on October 8 will be played by the young but already multi-prize-winning Barbican String Quartet.

“Among their awards are first prize in the Joseph Joachim International Competition and another first in the St Martin-in-the-Fields Chamber Music Competition. Although based in London (they made their Wigmore Hall debut in 2017 and were 2020 St John Smith Square Young Artists) the quartet has played around the world – from Peasemarsh to Bordeaux and Montreal. No strangers to broadcasting, their performances have been heard on NPO Radio 4 and BBC Radio 3.

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“A truly international group, the Barbican’s members came together at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Dutch first violin Amarins Wierdsma is lucky enough to play on a 1764 Guadagnini violin and the quartet has recently been joined by a new second violinist, James Dong who was born in Melbourne. On top of being a phenomenal violinist, James is a chess virtuoso.

“Violist Christoph Slenczka was born in Germany and started to learn the violin at the age of five. When he was 17 he picked up the viola and started to study that at the Mozarteum in Salzburg. Bulgarian-born cellist Yoanna Prododanova’s debut CD on the Linn Records Label was released in 2020.

“For this wonderfully diverse concert they will be playing Benjamin Britten’s vivid 2nd quartet and Schubert’s 15th quartet between which will be the strange and exciting 2005 quartet by Hungarian composer György Kurtág written when he was 79.”

The concert will be held at 7.45pm on October 8 at Cliffe Building, East Sussex College, Mountfield Road, Lewes, BN7 2XH. Tickets can be bought from or by telephone 0333666 3366. Tickets for ages eight-25 are free on the door.

As for the society’s name: “Ever wondered about the familiar bronze sculpture of two singers in Grange Gardens in Lewes? It was commissioned for the Millennium by the Nicholas Yonge Society in honour of the Lewesian Nicholas Yonge, an Elizabethan music publisher, who was of real importance for music in England. The Society was founded in his name in 1963 and gives an annual series of chamber music concerts by top performers.”