Wolfgang Bender, Stefan Häussler • alternating violins
Simone Heilgendorff • viola
Claudius von Wrochem • cello
The Berlin-based Kairos Quartet was founded in 1996 and focusses on music of the turn of our century. Landmark compositions since 1950 and world premieres are the heart of the quartet's activity, which also includes samples of the Western musical tradition, that of other cultures (like the Far East), or compositions employing media (electronics, video, speech), or the scene.
The Kairos Quartet takes great care in the selection and combination of pieces, sometimes even curating their own concert series as was the case with "Five Windows onto the String Quartet Since 1950". This concert and talk series took place at the Kulturbrauerei Berlin in 2001/02 and presented composers such as Ferneyhough, Lachenmann and Lucier in after-concert talks. Both this series and the international cooperation "On the Sound Path 2013" (London, Assisi, Berlin) was made possible by the Hauptstadtkulturfonds.
The Quartet has also developed close professional relationships with the composers Georg Friedrich Haas (AT/US), Julio Estrada (MX), Giorgio Netti (IT), Sergej Newski (RU/DE), Simon Steen-Andersen (DK/DE) and Xiaoyong Chen (CN/DE). Through workshops, master classes, and lectures on new music and performance practice the Kairos Quartet reaches out to music students and the general public; these have so far taken place as a part of festivals, or in music schools in Austria, China, Germany, Mexico, Norway, Poland, and Switzerland.
After its successful debut at the Internationale Ferienkurse in Darmstadt in 1996 the quartet was invited to numerous international festivals of such different leanings as Ultraschall, MaerzMusik (both in Berlin), Eclat Stuttgart, Huddersfield, Wien Modern, Salzburger Festspiele, Klangspuren/TransArt, Schwetzinger Festspiele, Warsaw Autumn, Ljubliana Festival, Festival d’Automne, and the Festival de Cervantino. Radio productions and live recordings were made by most major German radio corporations as well as the BBC, DRS, ORF, and RAI.
The quartet's ten CDs have populated various best-of lists and received the German Record Critic’s Award (1/2005, Haas). In 2001 it was the first ensemble to become fellows at the Academy Schloss Solitude. The many artistic partners of the Kairos Quartet include baritone Dietrich Henschel, mezzo Angelika Luz, Mayumi Miyata (sho), the sound poets Valeri Scherstjanoi and Michael Lentz, actress Martina Gedeck, the Schlagquartett Köln, the Vokalsolisten of the SWR, the SWR Vokalensemble and the Slowind Quintet.
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