Ligeti Quartet

String Quartet

At a glance

Ligeti Quartet

String Quartet

Magnificently vivid performances... sheer unadulterated exuberance

The ​Ligeti ​Quartet has ​been ​at ​the ​forefront ​of ​modern ​and ​contemporary ​music since its ​formation ​in ​2010, ​breaking ​new ​ground ​through ​innovative ​programming ​and championing ​of ​today’s ​most ​exciting ​composers ​and ​artists.

Biography —

Freya Goldmark, violin
Patrick Dawkins, violin
Richard Jones, viola
Val Welbanks, cello

The ​Ligeti ​Quartet has ​been ​at ​the ​forefront ​of ​modern ​and ​contemporary ​music since its ​formation ​in ​2010, ​breaking ​new ​ground ​through ​innovative ​programming ​and championing ​of ​today’s ​most ​exciting ​composers ​and ​artists. This ensemble has been making waves between classical, contemporary, and electronic music worldwide in countries such as the UK, Canada, United States, China, Germany, Denmark, and France.

Highlights for the ensemble in 2024 include the live US premiere of their latest Anna Meredith album ‘Nuc’ at New York City’s Bang on a Can Festival, a tour showcasing electroacoustic music by various composers at the CrossCurrents Festival in Birmingham (UK) paired with the sister location in Bogota, Colombia, and the release of a new recording with critically acclaimed singer Lotte Betts-Dean and guitarist James Girling. The quartet has also been selected to represent the UK at Classical Next in May.

Having played at landmark venues around the world including Carnegie Hall, Curtis Institute, Wigmore Hall, Purcell Room, Barbican Hall, and Kings Place, the quartet also enjoy performing in more unusual places, previous venues including museums, galleries, theatres, pubs, planetariums, a fishing boat, and a cave. They have commissioned many new works and have collaborated with artists from all types of musical backgrounds including Anna Meredith, Xenia Pestova, Elliot Galvin, Kerry Andrew, Laura Jurd, Meilyr Jones, Neil Hannon, Seb Rochford, Shabaka Hutchings, Sean Noonan, Shed 7 and Submotion Orchestra.

The quartet’s most recent album ‘Nuc’ (2023, Mercury KX) is a celebration of Anna Meredith’s music for string quartet, including arrangements by the quartet’s viola player Richard Jones. “An album that continually surprises and enlightens” (BBC Music). Their tour of the album in 2023 was supported by Music In The Round and Arts Council England. Their previous album Songbooks Vol. 1 (2020, Nonclassical), part of a long-standing collaboration with award-winning composer Christian Mason, explores the way in which the acoustic properties of the string quartet emulate the human voice through Mason’s use of extended techniques and unique sound-worlds. “Magnificently vivid performances… sheer unadulterated exuberance” (Gramophone).

The quartet named themselves after the Hungarian composer György Ligeti (1923-2006), inspired by his kaleidoscopic musical outlook and tireless invention. 2023 included many concerts celebrating the 100th anniversary of his birth. They curated the “Ligeti Day” at Aldeburgh Festival (23 June 2023) during which they performed two concerts of György Ligeti’s music and the world premieres of 15 new commissions including Entasis by Lukas Ligeti (supported by Britten Pears Arts, BBC Radio 3, the Vaughan Williams Foundation, and Bourgie Hall).

This ensemble has been a champion of many British awards and national grants through their promotion of new music and community work. They are regular winners of the Arts Council England National Lottery Project Grant for projects such as their Nuc album tour and Workout! project initiated during the pandemic in which they workshopped and recorded 100 new pieces by 100 composers from around the world. They have also received awards from the Vaughan Williams Foundation, Hinrichsen Foundation, and Britten-Pears Foundation for new commissions and world premiere performances of works by Robin Haigh, Christian Mason, and Tom Green. Other honours have included the Emerging Excellence Award from the UK Musician’s Benevolent Fund, The Felix Foundation Grant, the Tillett Trust Grant, and winners of London’s St John Smith’s Square Young Artist Scheme.

The Ligeti Quartet are passionate about music teaching, supporting emerging composers, and taking new music to diverse audiences. They have held residencies at the universities of Cambridge (2016-19), Sheffield (2016-20), and Goldsmiths, University of London (2018-21), and Nottingham High School (2020-2022). Their educational work has also transpired worldwide with students from Canada’s Royal Conservatory of Music at the Glenn Gould School, the University of Montreal, and with annual visits to Copenhagen’s Royal Danish Academy of Music. In addition, the UK Arts Council 2019 grant was awarded to the ensemble towards educational work with children with hearing impairment and special education needs.

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Photos —

Credit Ed MilesDownload - 10.2 MB
Credit Ed MilesDownload - 2.8 MB
Credit Louise MasonDownload - 1.7 MB
Credit Louise MasonDownload - 2 MB
Credit Louise MasonDownload - 1.8 MB
Credit Louise MasonDownload - 2.3 MB
Credit Louise MasonDownload - 9.2 MB
Credit Louise MasonDownload - 5 MB
Credit Patrick YoungDownload - 9.9 MB
Credit Louise MasonDownload - 2.5 MB

Reviews —

The execution of their musicianship is perhaps most impressively demonstrated by the quartet's internal pulse and ability to hold down a groove - interesting and funky rhythms being a huge part of Meredith's compositional character.

BBC Music Magazine

The players had a golden key to the multitudinous styles of this savage parade: you knew each work had fullest value and meticulous preparation.

The Arts Desk

The Ligeti players deliver remarkably committed, focused performances, thrillingly responsive to the subtle fluctuations in tone and attack needed to bring this music alive, and delivering a brilliantly convincing account of the churning noise of Tanya Tagaq’s primal Sivunittinni as an ear-splitting closer. It’s a potent, persuasive disc, delivered in a close, authentic recording.

The Strad

This is explosive music, but its intricacies and subtleties make it feel more than just a chaotic swarm. Many of the pieces on the album are jam-packed with ideas, forming maximalist explosions. But it's the quartet and composer's meticulous attention that each melody pops, showing that even in subdued moments, there's a flurry of colours ready to shine.

The Quietus

The Ligeti Quartet use the full range of their skills on their instruments to help facilitate Anna Meredith's fantastical musical cosmo on Nuc, from woozying glissandi, snappy Bartok pizzicato, lightspeed scale passages, soaring harmonics, to just simple and beautiful, melodic passages.


The musicians' impromptu effort was much appreciated, and the works were magnificent.


Selected Discography —


Tuggemo, the opening track on this collaboration between the Scottish composer and the London-based string quartet, is a conscious nod to rave culture, something often near the surface with Meredith’s music. But the most interesting tracks here push the string section to its limits: the microtonality of Honeyed Words, the shimmering irradiance of Chorale, or the wonderfully demented minimalism of Shill.

The Guardian - Top 10 Contemporary Albums 2023

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  • Ellie Shouls