"Grand personalities interact unsentimentally, considerately and with heart all at once, creating an emotional eddy that is difficult to explain.”
The above qualities, together with a passionate will for expression and an unceasing artistic curiosity, are the trademarks of this quartet. For 20 years already, the Hugo Wolf Quartet has been a fixture on the international chamber music scene and has fascinated audiences around the globe.
Through training with the Alban Berg, Smetana, Amadeus and LaSalle quartets, and also with Ferenc Rados, the ensemble laid the cornerstone for a highly successful career together. Founded in Vienna in 1993, the quartet soon won such coveted awards as the Special Prize of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra and the European Chamber Music Prize, followed by the International String Quartet Competition in Cremona in 1995 – the same year that it debuted in the Vienna Konzerthaus. In 1998, Vienna’s Musikverein and Konzerthaus elected the four as Rising Stars, and since then the quartet has regularly performed in Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, London’s Wigmore Hall, New York’s Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall, and Berlin’s Philharmonie, as well as at the Lockenhaus Chamber Music Festival, the Colmar Festival, La folle journée de Nantes and the Schubertiade Schwarzenberg.
In terms of program selection, the ensemble equally emphasizes the classical/romantic and contemporary literature. Indeed, numerous compositions have already been written for, and premiered by, the Hugo Wolf Quartet – like Friedrich Cerha’s String Quartet No. 4, Johannes Maria Staud’s “Dichotomie,” string quartets by Erich Urbanner, Dirk D´Ase and Otto M. Zykan, and a quartet and octet by jazz guitarist Wolfgang Muthspiel.
The recordings of Beethoven’s String Quartet Op. 18/4 and Op. 132 (Gramola, 2001) and Franz Schubert’s String Quartet D887 and D87 (VMS, 2009) both won Austrian radio station Ö1’s Pasticcio Prize. In addition, the quartet’s close collaboration with legendary jazz trumpeter Kenny Wheeler and pianist John Taylor is documented on the recording Other People (CamJazz, 2006); and, in 2007, the label cpo released the first-ever recording of two string quartets by Franz Mittler, an enigmatic Viennese multi-talent of the first half of the 20th century. The Hugo Wolf Quartet’s latest CD (VMS, 2010) is a live recording of three early Joseph Haydn works performed during the 2009 Lockenhaus Chamber Music Festival. During the 2011/2012 season, the ensemble will record the complete oeuvre for string quartet by its namesake, Hugo Wolf, as well as a live performance of the Schubert Octet.
Since 2009, the quartet has performed its own concert series. In the renowned Wiener Konzerthaus they enjoy the opportunity to present audiences with concerts and programs that feature a very personalized touch.
During the 2012/2013 season, the Hugo Wolf Quartett will tour in the USA and in Europe (Wigmore Hall London, Concertgebouw Amsterdam, etc).