Hartlepool Music Society
22nd Season 2006-7
International Recital Series
(Registered Charity No 1071293)

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Martinu String Quartet and Angus Meryon

Wednesday 8th November 2006:

Martinu String Quartet and Angus Meryon (clarinet)
Lubomír Havlák, violin, Petr Mateják, violin
Jan Jíša, viola, Jitka Vlašánková, cello


Mozart - Clarinet Quintet
Shostakovich - String Quartet no 7
Beethoven - String Quartet in E minor Op 59 no 2.

Artist Information: Martinu String Quartet

We are delighted to welcome back the Martinu String Quartet who gave us a delightful concert in 2003.

The Martinu Quartet first came together in 1976 at the Conservatoire in Prague as students of Viktor Moucka a member of the Vlach Quartet. During their studies at the Academy of Music, the members of the Quartet continued to study under Antonin Kohout of the Smetana Quartet. At the same time they took part in master classes with leading ensembles such as the Tel Aviv, Amadeus, Guarneri, Juillard and Alban Berg Quartets.

The Quartet took part in eight international competitions winning prizes at each. Their most important successes were: Portsmouth (Great Britain); The ARO Radio, Munich; Evian (France); The Prague Spring.

Originally called The Havlik Quartet after its leader, it changed its name in honour of the composer, Bohuslav Martinu in 1985. The Martinu Quartet has given concerts in most European countries; it tours regularly the USA, Canada, Japan, England, Spain etc. It has appeared at many international festivals and venues: They are frequent guests of the Prague Spring Festival. The Martinu Quartet broadcasts regularly on Czech radio and television and has made a number of recordings for Radio France, the German ARD, Austrian ORF, The BBC and others.

The Quartet's repertoire includes works from the mainstream of the string quartet Literature.

Naturally, it specializes in the works of Czech composers such as Smetana, Dvorak and Janacek, with particular interest in the works of its namesake, Bohuslav Martinu (they have recorded Martinu's String Quartets Nos. 1-7, Serenade II, Duo No. l for violin and cello and Madrigals for violin and viola on CD for NAXOS).



Reviews: Martinu String Quartet

“A long established Czech quartet of the old school with the kind of rich, heady sonority that provides profound satisfaction on its own term…in Haydn's Op.74, No.3 there were chords of such breathtaking resonance, so perfectly in tune” The Globe and Mail, Toronto

“The Martinu Quartet interpretation is one of the best” (Le Monde de !a Musique),

“Splashes of brilliance and high-spirited exuberance, without sacrificing the richness of sound worthy of the best Czech quartets of recent decades.” Diapason, Paris

“…The homogeneity is unbelievable .... In performance, as if wrapped in velvet, of Schubert's Quartet No 13… it was possible to hear four virtuoso players who respected each other with rare empathy. If you have the possibility, dear reader, to hear the Martinu Quartet, drop everything and for God's sake, go to their concert!” Luxemburger Wart

“One of the most balanced groups on the circuit...it is the Martinu's cellist who shines most radiantly here (Vranicky).” Early Music Review

“The Martinu Quartet gave a storming performance of Smetana's String Quartet No. 1 in E minor.” Hudebnf rozhledy

“The Martinu String Quartet displayed not only their technical mastery but also their ability to draw on the broad spectrum of expression in Martinu's Quartet No. 5 captivating the audience with their forceful interpretation. which gathered momentum culminating in the Finale.” Lidove noviny

“Superb recital…mellow tone, warm temperament, and virtuoso technique...well balanced sonorities blossomed so effortlessly that the music seemed to be playing itself...a rare pleasure from beginning to end…one of the highlights of the season..” The Plain Dealer, Cleveland

“Handsome young musicians who play together magically…the performance was “perfection”” The Greenville News



Artist Information: Angus Meryon

…was born in 1975 and studied the clarinet from the age of seven with Colin Bradbury, then Principal of the BBC Symphony Orchestra. At sixteen he became a member of the National Youth Orchestra and the National Youth Wind Orchestra, where he was co-leader for two years. He continued his studies at the Royal College of Music with Richard Hosford, performing with the Contemporary Opera Studio of the English National Opera and winning the Roger Fallows Prize for chamber music. After leaving the RCM, Angus has continued to forge a successful freelance career, including two invitations to perform at the Brereton International Music Symposium in Cheshire, hosted by Walter Boeykens and Charles Neidich. In 1999 Angus was accepted onto the prestigious “Making Music” Concert Promoters Network Scheme for 2001/2, and has continued to develop a busy solo and recital career with his duo partner Richard Saxel. As a Jellinek Award winner Angus' concerto performances include the Weber, Copland and Mozart concertos in London, Cheltenham, Croydon and Guildford. He made his solo London debut at the Purcell Room in November 2002 as part of the South Bank “Fresh” Series, featuring a world premiere by the young British composer Anthony Bailey.

Angus is strongly committed to music education, and is currently Head of Woodwind at Cranleigh School in Surrey. He is also a consultant for ArtsInsight, which offers workshops, masterclasses and musical training to educational establishments across the UK and abroad.
Recent projects have included a visit to South Africa as the featured classical artist on board the QE2, solo recitals at the International Auditorium in the Canary Islands, a series of recitals and education workshops in the Channel Islands, and tours to China and India with the Amadeus Orchestra, featuring concerto performances of Mozart's Sinfonia Concertante and Stravinsky's Soldier's Tale with the Naach Theatre Company in Mumbai under the auspices of the British Council.
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