Artemis Quartet


An anniversary and a new beginning in one. Far from looking back in satisfaction, the quartet is boldly breaking new ground. Thirty years after it was founded – in 1989, the year when the Berlin Wall came down – a rejuvenated Artemis Quartett welcomes two new members. Over the years the quartet has adjusted to new appointments with ease, and now radical change is on the horizon: from the start of the season 2019/20 violinist Suyoen Kim, born in Münster, Westphalia, and now First Concert Master of the Konzerthaus Orchester Berlin, will alternate first and second violin with Vineta Sareika, following the departure of Anthea Kreston. Meanwhile Dutch cellist Harriet Krijgh, already a high-profile soloist, is taking over from founding member Eckart Runge.

This is a changeover that is happening both at high speed and in the full beam of public expectation. In September 2019 the quartet’s touring schedule already includes two dates in Amsterdam at the Concertgebouw. In the upcoming season, 2019/20, the re-formed quartet will continue its celebrated cycles with three programmes each in the Kammermusiksaal of the Berlin Philharmonie and in the Mozartsaal at the Konzerthaus in Vienna. It will also continue to perform in leading concert series in Europe, North America and Asia. In so doing the quartet is taking on a huge challenge. At the same time as forming anew the ensemble has to retain both its character and its identity. The quartet’s farewell to Eckart Runge also marks the departure of the last founding member of the ensemble, whose four original players came together as students at the Musikhochschule Lübeck. But the continuity of the quartet’s generations is assured: violist Gregor Sigl joined in 2007 and Vineta Sareika was appointed as leader in 2012.

Berlin based Artemis Quartet was founded in 1989 at the University of Music Lübeck and is counted among the foremost worldwide quartet formations today. Important mentors have been Walter Levin, Alfred Brendel, the Alban Berg Quartet, the Juilliard Quartet and the Emerson Quartet.

Being awarded the first place in ARD competition in 1996 and six months later at ‚Premio Borciani’, made the quartet internationally successful. Yet the four initially followed an invitation of the Institute for Advanced Study Berlin in order to enhance their studies as an ensemble and to broaden them in an interdisciplinary exchange with renowned academics. The quartet’s “comeback” happened with its Berliner debut. In 2013, the Beethovenhaus Bonn decorates the quartet as an honorary member for merits of its interpretation of Beethoven’s work.

From the beginning the collaboration with musical colleagues has been a major inspiration for the ensemble. Thus, Artemis Quartet has toured with notable musicians such as Sabine Meyer, Elisabeth Leonskaja, Juliane Banse and Jörg Widmann. Various recordings document the artistic cooperation with several partners, for example the piano quintets by Schuhmann and Brahms with Leif Ove Andsnes, the Schubert quintet with Truls Mørk or Arnold Schönberg’s ’Verklärte Nacht’ with Thomas Kakuska and Valentin Erben from Alban Berg Quartet.

Since 2005 the Artemis Quartet exclusively records for Virgin, today Erato and can by now look back on a large discography. Their recordings have been repeatedly awarded the ’The German Record Critic’s Award’, the ’Gramophone Award’ as well as the ’Diapason d’Or’. The entire recording of Beethoven’s quartets for strings was honoured with the important french ’Grand Prix de l'Académie Charles Cros’ in 2011. The quartet has received an ’ECHO Klassik’ at four occasions, at last in 2015 for the recording of creations of Mendelssohn-Bartholdy as well as in 2016 for the recording of Brahm’s quartets op. 51/1 and op. 67, dedicated to the quartet’s former violist Friedemann Weigle, who tragicly passed away in July 2015. Their next recording with works of Shostakovich will be released in 2018, including the piano quintet with Elisabeth Leonskaja.

Not least to increase the awareness for what is new in the field of established music, the examination of contemporary music is always a significant part of the artistic work of the ensemble. Composers such as Mauricio Sotelo (2004), Jörg Widmann (2006), and Thomas Larcher (2008) wrote creations for Artemis Quartet. In 2014 a concert for strings and orchestra by Daniel Schnyder premiered in Frankfurt. The musicians launched their own contest for musical composition in 2015. Eduard Demetz was nominated the awardee in November 2015 and his string quartet Nr. 2 was given a very well received premiere in Berlin in May 2016.

Press Service

Photo: Felix Broede

Special Projects in Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland

  • Vineta Sareika (Violin)
  • Suyoen Kim (Violin)
  • Gregor Sigl (Viola)
  • Harriet Krijgh (Cello)