What the Belcea Quartet writes in the preface to its recording of the complete Beethoven String Quartets could also be described as their artistic creed. These musicians are not confined by traditional boundaries. It is perhaps the very fact of their diverse cultural backgrounds that is behind their dynamic and free interpretative style.
Founded at the Royal College of Music in London in 1994, the quartet is based in Great Britain. However, the Romanian violinist Corina Belcea and the Polish violist Krzysztof Chorzelski, the two founding members, bring a very different artistic provenance to the ensemble while drawing from the best traditions of string quartet playing received from the quartet’s mentors: the members of the Alban Berg and Amadeus Quartets. This spectrum is extended by the French musicians Axel Schacher (violin) and Antoine Lederlin (violoncello). The Belcea Quartet blends its diverse influences into a common musical language.
This diversity is reflected in the Belcea Quartet’s repertoire. Regular world premieres go hand-in-hand with its profound connection with the great works of the Classical and Romantic periods. The quartet’s open-minded approach to music invariably enables it to find its own unique, elegant and refined interpretations of the main string quartet repertoire. The quartet’s regular partners include Piotr Anderszewski, Till Fellner, Valentin Erben, and Antoine Tamestit.
The Belcea Quartet has been Quartet Artist-in-Residence at the Pierre Boulez Saal Berlin and at the Wiener Konzerthaus. Its impressive discography includes the complete Britten and Bartók quartets as well as works by Schubert, Brahms, Mozart, Debussy, Ravel, and Dutilleux, among others. In 2012 and 2013, the quartet recorded the complete Beethoven quartets live in the Benjamin Britten Studio in Snape, which was recognized with such prizes as the ECHO Klassik Award.