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Oxford Chamber Music Society: 125th Anniversary Concert Season


Marmen Quartet Sunday

12th November 3pm, Holywell Music Room

The Marmen Quartet will open our 125th anniversary concert season. First Prize winners at the Bordeaux and the Banff International String Quartet Competitions in 2019, Marmen is firmly established as one of the finest quartets of our time. Recently they have performed to great acclaim in Canada, the Netherlands, Germany, and Ireland as well as in their home base of London. Their programme for us offers a perfect mix, including one of Mozart’s six quartets dedicated to Haydn and the second of Beethoven’s three profound Razumovsky quartets, written in 1806.

Photo credit: © Marco Borggreve

Ensemble Molière

Sunday 3rd December 3pm, Holywell Music Room

In the second concert of our 125th anniversary season, the Ensemble Molière will perform a beautiful and rarely heard collection of 18th century French baroque chamber music. Ensemble Molière has established a strong reputation across the UK and Europe. With its distinctive combination of instruments – flute, violin, bassoon, viola da gamba/cello and harpsichord – Ensemble Molière specializes in 17th and 18th century repertoire and has already won acclaim at leading Baroque and Early Music festivals. They were selected as the New Generation Baroque Ensemble for 2021/23 by the BBC Radio 3, the National Centre for Early Music and the Royal College of Music.

Photo credit: © Ensemble Molière

Calefax Reed Quintet

Sunday 21st January 3pm, Holywell Music Room

Prize-winning reed quintet Calefax (oboe, clarinet, saxophone, bass clarinet and bassoon) will perform the third concert of our anniversary season. Formed in Amsterdam in 1985, the group has been acclaimed in the Netherlands and abroad for their virtuosic playing, brilliant arrangements and innovative stage presentation. They perform their own arrangements and newly commissioned compositions for the combination of oboe, clarinet, saxophone, bass clarinet and bassoon. Touring across the world, their repertoire spans a history of music from renaissance to jazz. Calefax have released 21 CDs including Bach’s Musical Offerings (202), a collection arranged by the ensemble’s saxophonist Raaf Hekkema, and An American Rhapsody (2023) which captures several iconic American composers.

Photo credit: © Sarah Wijzenbeek

Behn Quartet

Sunday 18th February 3pm, Holywell Music Room

A performance that left the audience silently spellbound for several seconds before bursting into enthusiastic applause, recognizing the magic cast throughout the auditorium by this talented quartet.’ Laura Lunansky (violin), Alicia Berendse Ana Teresa de Braga e Alves(viola), Ghislaine McMullin The fourth concert of our season will be given by the Behn Quartet, a prize-winning international ensemble based in London. Since their formation in 2015, they have won plaudits for award-winning performances at the West Cork Chamber Music Festival, the String Quartet Biennale Amsterdam, and at the Fondazione Cini Venice and the Filarmonica Laudamo Messina in association with Le Dimore del Quartetto. In 2018, during their tour of New Zealand, the New Zealand Herald reported ‘The quartet takes its name from Aphra Behn, the seventeenth-century playwright and feminist political activist. They have recorded chamber works by Maxwell Davies, Stravinsky and Birtwistle for Linn Records, and Robin Stevens for Divine Art Recordings.

Photo credit: © Behn Quartet

Wihan Quartet

Sunday 10th March 3pm, Holywell Music Room

One of the best quartets in the world today’ Leoš Čepický (violin), Jan Schulmeister (violin), Jakub Čepický (viola), Michal Kanka Our 125th anniversary season continues with a concert by the Czech Wihan String Quartet. Described by International Record Review as 'one of the best quartets in the word' the quartet has won many international competitions and developed an outstanding reputation for its interpretation of the repertoire including, of course, its rich native Czech heritage. Their recordings for the Presto Classical label have earned superlative reviews. The quartet will play an all-Czech programme, including three of the great masters whose work remains central to that country’s life and culture.

Photo credit: © Petra Hajska

Maxwell Quartet

Sunday 14th April 3pm, Holywell Music Room

The penultimate concert of the season is given by the Scottish Maxwell Quartet. The group was formed in 2010 by four close friends, who grew up playing folk and classical music together in youth orchestras and music schools across Scotland. They are now firmly regarded as one of Britain’s finest young string quartets. As brilliant playing the classical repertoire as they are performing their compositions from the Scottish folk tradition, they have toured extensively in the UK and Europe, with performances in France, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Norway, and Portugal. In 2020, the quartet undertook a hugely successful 35-date tour of the United States. The New York Times review called them “eloquent performers who bring the same sense of charisma and sense of adventure to their programming”

They have recently released a number of recordings for the Linn label. In addition to playing Haydn and music from their own ‘Worksongs’, they will perform the last- composed of Beethoven’s string quartets.

Photo credit: © Maxwell Quartet

Tom Poster and Friends

Sunday 12th May 3pm, Holywell Music Room

The 125th concert season concludes with Oxford’s own Tom Poster. Tom has performed over forty concertos from Mozart to Ligeti with many orchestras including the BBC Philharmonic, China National Symphony, Hallé, Philharmonia, Royal Philharmonic and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra. He has recorded albums for BIS, Champs Hill, Chandos, Decca, Orchid and Warner Classics. Tom and friends play compositions by four great nineteenth-century composers, all closely linked through music and life. After a first half of solo, duo and trio chamber music they will pay tribute to the founder members of OCMS with a performance of Brahms’ second piano quartet: the opening work in the inaugural concert.

Photo credit: © Tobi Poster

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