The four musicians of the Quatuor Ébène breathe new life into chamber music through their consistently direct, open-minded perspective on the works. After studying with the Quatuor Ysaÿe in Paris and with Gábor Takács-Nagy, Eberhard Feltz and György Kurtág, the Quartet had an unprecedented victory at the ARD Music Competition in 2004. This marked the beginning of their career, which has culminated in numerous other prizes and awards.
The Quatuor Ébène’s concerts are characterized by a unique élan. With their charismatic playing, fresh approach to tradition and open engagement with new forms, the four musicians have been successful in reaching a wide audience of young listeners, communicating their knowledge in regular masterclasses at the Paris Conservatoire.
The Quatuor Ébène won the 2007 Borletti-Buitoni Trust Award and was supported by the Trust from 2007 to 2012. In 2005 the Quartet won the Belmont Prize of the Forberg-Schneider Foundation. Working with the Quartet and matching the musicians’ playing styles, Gabriele Forberg-Schneider selected their instruments, which have been made available on loan since 2009: Pierre Colombet plays a violin by Francesco Ruggeri from Cremona (c 1680) with a bow by Charles Tourte from Paris (19th century); Gabriel Le Magadure plays a violin with a Guarneri label (mid-18th century) and a bow by Dominique Peccatte (c 1845); Marie Chilemme plays a viola by Marcellus Hollmayr from Füssen (1625), previously owned by Mathieu Herzog; and Raphaël Merlin plays a cello by Andrea Guarneri from Cremona (1666/80).
The Quatuor Ébène’s numerous recordings, including works by Haydn, Bartók, Debussy, Mozart, Fauré and the Mendelssohn siblings, have won numerous awards, including the Gramophone, Echo Klassik, BBC Music Magazine and Midem Classical Awards. Their 2010 album Fiction, featuring jazz arrangements, the crossover album Brazil (2014) and Eternal Stories (2017) with Michel Portal demonstrate their unique position on the chamber music scene. In 2015 and 2016 the Quatuor Ébène was dedicated to performing song, participating in Green — Mélodies françaises sur des poèmes de Verlaine with Philippe Jaroussky, which won the 2016 BBC Music Magazine Award, and a Schubert album with Matthias Goerne, featuring arrangements for string quartet, baritone and double bass by Raphaël Merlin and the Schubert String Quintet with Gautier Capuçon.
The classical quartet repertoire remains the cornerstone of the Quatuor Ébène’s work and next season centres on Beethoven’s string quartets. In 2020 the Quartet will play a complete cycle, marking both its 20th anniversary and the composer’s 250th birthday. From April 2019 through January 2020 the Quatuor Ébène will go on a world tour with the theme ’Beethoven Live Around the World’ with concerts in North America, South America, Africa, India, Australia and New Zealand as well as Asia and Europe. The Quartet will guest in concert halls including the Perelman Theater Philhadelphia, the Sala São Paulo, the Melbourne Recital Centre and the Konzerthaus Vienna.