Most esteemed chamber orchestra

St. Petersburg Quartet
St. Petersburg Quartet

Dundee Chamber Music will welcome the world’s most esteemed chamber orchestra to the Marryat Hall, Dundee on Friday (September 27).

The St. Petersburg Quartet, which has just completed a six concert series at the Carnegie Hall, New York, will perform Shostakovich’s String Quartet no 1 in C;

Borodin’s String Quartet no 2 in D and Schubert’s String Quartet no 15 in G major.

The essence of chamber music is in the intimacy. You are close enough to the players to be aware of what they are putting into the music and to witness the skill of the performers in a way that you can’t with an orchestra.

It is the most live of live music and that will certainly be the case on Friday evening in the Marryat, which is attached to the Caird Hall in Dundee.

The St Peterburg Quartet’s rise to fame has included a Grammy nomination, “Best Record” honours in both Stereo Review and Gramophone, an opening night performance at Mostly Mozart at the Lincoln Center, a five-year residency at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, and hundreds of concerts on many of North America, Europe and Asia’s most prestigious series and festivals.

Their current season includes a performance at Carnegie Hall; a six-concert series at New York City’s popular BargeMusic Series, where they performed the complete Shostakovich cycle; a collaboration with the Naumberg Piano Competition winner Anton Nel; three concerts at the Los Angeles Music Guild; tours of England and France and concerts in Connecticut, Florida, Texas, California, Louisiana, Kentucky, Kansas, Idaho and Mexico.

Founded in 1985 as the Leningrad String Quartet, the SPSQ blazed a trail through chamber music circles, winning a number of prestigious international competitions including first prize at the All-Soviet Union String Quartet Competition; Silver Medal and a Special Prize at the Tokyo International Chamber Music Competition, first prize and both special prizes at the Vittorio Gui International Competition for Chamber Ensembles in Florence, Italy, and first prize and the “Grand Prix Musica Viva” at the Melbourne, Australia International Chamber Music Competition. When the city of Leningrad resumed its historic name, the quartet changed its name to the St. Petersburg String Quartet.

In 2009 the St. Petersburg Quartet launched the St. Petersburg International Music Academy, an intensive summer program for students, which they bring to various campuses and festivals in the USA and Mexico. In 2010 St. Petersburg Quartet was appointed the inaugural quartet in Residence at Wichita State University.

The latest release in the SPSQ’s extensive discography include CDs of Ravel and Debussy quartets as well as the complete chamber music works of Tchaikovsky.

The string quartet comprises first violinist Alla Aranovskaya, second violinist Evgeny Zvonnikov, Boris Vayner on viola and and Leonid Shukayev on cello.

Alla Aranovskaya and Leonid Shukayev are founding members of the SPSQ; Boris Vayner joined in 2005 and Evgeny Zvonnikov in 2010.

Critics have praised their work. The Washington Post wrote: “Unassailable technique and intonation, an astonishingly calibrated range of voicings and dynamics” whilst the Sunday Times (London) reported: “In the St. Petersburg we have the natural successor to the Borodin [Quartet’s] crown - virtuosic and sumptuous-toned.”

The music continues at The Caird Hall, Dundee on October 3 with a concert from the Scottish Ensemble.