Alban Berg Quartet

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Alban Berg Quartett
Origin Vienna, Austria
Genres Classical
Occupations Chamber ensemble
Years active 1971–2008
Labels Teldec, EMI
Members Günter Pichler (violin)
Gerhard Schulz (violin)
Isabel Charisius (viola)
Valentin Erben (violoncello)
Past members Klaus Maetzl (2nd violin, 1971-1978)
Hatto Beyerle (viola, 1971-1981)
Thomas Kakuska (viola, 1981-2005)

The Alban Berg Quartett was a string quartet founded in Vienna, Austria in 1970, named after the famous composer Alban Berg.


Period 1st violin 2nd violin Viola Violoncello
1971–1978 Günter Pichler Klaus Maetzl Hatto Beyerle Valentin Erben
1978–1981 Gerhard Schulz
1981–2005 Thomas Kakuska
2005–2008 Isabel Charisius


The Berg Quartet was founded in 1970 by four young professors of the Vienna Academy of Music, and made its debut in the Vienna Konzerthaus in autumn 1971. The widow of the composer Alban Berg attended one of their earliest concerts, and was moved by their performance. When she greeted them after the concerts, she offered the idea to name themselves after him, and they accepted.


The Quartet's inclination and conviction was towards the Viennese classics, through the Romantic tradition to the works of Berg, Schoenberg, Webern and Bartók, and embracing great contemporary composers.[1]

The focus of their activities became a yearly cycle at the Vienna Konzerthaus, and also regular participation in major world musical events including the Berliner Festwochen, the Edinburgh Festival, IRCAM in the Pompidou Centre, Paris, the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, the Salzburg Festival and the Vienna Festival.

Concert trips took the group to almost all the countries of Europe, and also to the USA, to Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Recordings were an important part of the work of the Alban Berg Quartet. Among the prizes obtained by their recordings were the Grand Prix du Disque, the Deutscher Schallplattenpreis, the Japanese Grand Prix and the Vienna Flötenuhr. The group received the highest accolades from the international press, and was considered one of the great ensembles of its time by critics around the world.[2]


Quartets who studied with the Alban Berg quartet include the Nevsky String Quartet, the aron quartet,[3] and the Artemis Quartet.[4]


In 2005, Thomas Kakuska died of cancer. Before his death he nominated one of his students, Isabel Charisius, to succeed him. The Quartet felt that Charisius did an excellent job, but as cellist Valentin Erben said, "There was a big rupture in our hearts."[5]

After an announcement that the last concert would be held in Teatro Colón, Buenos Aires, Argentina,[6] the final South American tour included concerts at the Teatro Coliseo, in Buenos Aires,[7] Teatro Cultura Artística, in São Paulo, and Sala Cecília Meireles, in Rio de Janeiro. After giving two extra concerts in Taipei, Taiwan held in memorial of their late friend, Yuan-Dong Sheu, the ex-president of the Central Bank of Taiwan on 12 and 13 July 2008, the quartet finally disbanded after concerts at the National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing, China, on 15 and 16 July 2008.[8][9]


  1. ^ This and the following two paragraphs are derived from Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Die 10 grossen Streichquartette - Alban Berg Quartett, Wien, Telefunken LP records 6.35485, 1-5 (5 LPs) GX. Insert, p. 12 (Teldec Telefunken-Decca Schallplatten GmbH, 2000 Hamburg 19: 1979).
  2. ^ Opinions quoted are from France Soir (Paris), Presse (Vienna), The Observer (London) and San Francisco Chronicle. (Mozart Quartets, Telefunken LP insert, 1979: item ref 6.35485-00-501.
  3. ^ Aron quartett (on the Danish Wikipedia)
  4. ^ artemis quartett
  5. ^ Asthana, Anushka. "Arts and Entertainment". The Sunday Times (login required) (London). 
  6. ^ "Das Alban-Berg-Quartett löst sich auf" (in German). Bayerischer Rundfunk. 2007-03-13. Archived from the original on 2007-07-05. Retrieved 2007-07-02. 
  7. ^ "Series of Concerts". Retrieved 2008-06-19. 
  8. ^ Williams, Rory. "Calling it Quits. For the Alban Berg Quartet". Retrieved 2008-06-17. 
  9. ^ "Beijing Today. Weekend". 2008-06-05. Retrieved 2008-06-17. 

External links[edit]