Schubert ensemble


7.30pm Saturday, 12 March 2016



  Piers Hellawell The Building of Curves

  Saint-Saens Piano Quartet in B flat, Op.41

  Brahms Piano Quintet in F minor, Op.34





Simon Blendis violin

Annabelle Meare violin

Douglas Paterson viola

Jane Salmon cello

William Howard piano



Since its first concert in January 1983 the Schubert Ensemble has established itself as one of the world's leading exponents of music for piano and strings. Regularly giving around 50 concerts a year, the Ensemble has performed in over 40 different countries. It has over 80 commissions to its name, has recorded over 30 critically acclaimed CDs and is familiar to British audiences through regular broadcasts on BBC Radio 3. In 1998 the Ensemble's contribution to British musical life was recognized by the Royal Philharmonic Society when it presented the group with the Best Chamber Ensemble Award, for which it was shortlisted again in 2010.


The Ensemble is recognised as one of the world's leading chamber groups specialising in music for piano and strings. Although in its entirety the Ensemble's repertoire includes over 130 works, the core repertoire is the piano quartet, encompassing the superb sets by Brahms and Fauré and favourites by composers such as Schumann, Dvorak and Mozart, along with less well-known but equally deserving composers such as Enesco, Korngold and Chausson.


Many of their concerts also involve other combinations of piano with strings, such as quintets or trios. With Peter Buckoke (double bass) one of the founder members, the Ensemble has blazed the trail in unearthing, commissioning and performing a surprisingly large repertoire of works for bass quintet. Aside from the obvious "Trout" quintet, after which the group was originally named, the Ensemble has recorded two sparkling quintets by the nineteenth century female composer Louise Farrenc, has performed the newly discovered Vaughan Williams quintet all over the world and recorded it for Chandos Records. It has also commissioned over 15 new works for quintet with bass. In the field of new music, the Ensemble is held in high regard by composers for its energetic and prolific commissioning programme. In total the Ensemble has commissioned 37 major concert works for its various combinations of instruments, as well as a further 45 for its Chamber Music 2000 project.


In the past few years the Ensemble has enjoyed a busy international schedule, with performances in Romania, Norway, Spain, Holland, Bermuda, the UAE and the USA, as well as a first visit to China. The Ensemble has also released recordings for the Chandos label of works by Martinů, Fauré, Enescu and Dvořák, all of which have been widely praised. The Dvořák disc and the most recent of two Enescu discs were chosen as CD of the month by the BBC Music Magazine.


During 2015 the Ensemble performed in Bermuda, the USA, Holland and Italy. The second of two Schumann/Fauré concerts at Wigmore Hall took place in November. In March it recorded its next CD for Chandos Records of piano quartets by Saint-Saëns and Chausson. Future performances include a six-concert series of piano quintets at Kings Place, starting in October 2016.