Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Jerusalem Quartet

I must have been one of the first Europeans to hear them as a group, that dark miserable September night in 2002 or a January night or so in 2003 at the Chopin Academy in Poland. A bunch of young lads, all trained in Jerusalem, all with Eastern European names (so what's new, you ask yourself?) and giving a very lively performance of whatever in front of a rather sparse audience. I wonder if there has been a personnel change - I remember a rather large violist, and I think if he had been called 'Grosz' then I would have remembered that little fact. At the time, high season for suicide bombers, I wondered what it would be like studying music in Israel.

It seems they have won a BBC Music Magazine award for their recording of Shosty's string quartets 6, 8, and 11. They've been increasingly high profile in recent years, and it seems, deservedly so. Well done the lads!

For those interested in conservatoires, bearing a mind that 6 years is a long time in Eastern Europe, the Chopin Conservatoire in Warsaw is in a 1950s or 60's utilitarian Soviet concrete building with lots of brown wood inside. I think you had to pay for the tickets, as you do in Tbilisi. (In Vilnius that would not work, given the noise from the car alarms of the professors' cars which go off regularly during concerts). Nothing special about it apart from a rather large sheet music shop which seemed to be doing lots of business, also with lots of old editions (not antique, just old) of pieces of music. It was quite a favoured concert spot. Another time I heard the Royal Quartet of Poland, also a group of young people, and also coming favourably to the attention of international audiences. Polish audiences were always sparse in these concerts, though.

Photo from Ionarts.