The quartet was formed while its members were studying at the Royal College of Music in London. Whilst there, they were coached by the Chilingirian Quartet. They subsequently studied with the Alban Berg Quartet at Cologne.
The quartet was one of the first groups to participate in the BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artists scheme, from 1999 to 2001. They made their Carnegie Hall debut in 2000 as part of the 'Distinctive Debuts' series. Their first performance at the Edinburgh International Festival was in August 2001. The Belcea Quartet were quartet in-residence at Wigmore Hall in London from 2001 to 2006. During their Wigmore residency, the quartet participated in the first performances of The Canticle of the Rose by Joseph Phibbs.
In the 2010/11 season, the Belcea Quartet gave the world premiere of Mark Anthony Turnage's new work for string quartet Twisted Blues with Twisted Ballad at Wigmore Hall, Cologne Philharmonie, Amsterdam Concertgebouw and the Vienna Konzerthaus. In May 2011, they will be curating their own 'Beethoven & Schubert: Final Years’ project with concerts in Aldeburgh, the Gulbenkian Grand Auditorium and Philharmonie Luxembourg, collaborating with Imogen Cooper, Ian Bostridge, Mark Padmore, Julius Drake and Valentin Erben. Towards the end of 2011, the Belcea Quartet will embark on an ambitious survey of the complete string quartets by Beethoven with cycles of concerts planned in the UK, Germany, Austria, Sweden and the USA.
The Belcea Quartet won the Gramophone Award for best debut recording in 2001. Their discography for EMI includes Fauré's La Bonne Chanson with Ian Bostridge; Schubert's Trout Quintet with Thomas Adès and Corin Long; a double disc of Britten's string quartets, which won a MIDEM Cannes Award; Mozart's "Dissonance" and "Hoffmeister" quartets; and the complete Bartók quartets, for which the Quartet was awarded the title Chamber Music Ensemble of the Year by Germany's Echo Klassik Awards and nominated for a 2008 Gramophone Award. Their most recent release, a double disc of the late Schubert Quartets and the String Quintet with Valentin Erben for EMI, was nominated for a Gramophone Award.
- Corina Belcea-Fisher, violin
- Axel Schacher, violin, since 2010
- Krzysztof Chorzelski, viola
- Antoine Lederlin, cello, since 2006
Partial list of recordings:
- Debussy, Dutilleux, Ravel – String Quartets, 2001
- Schubert – String Quartets, 2002
- Brahms – String Quartets, 2004
- Britten – String Quartets, 2005
- Schubert – Trout Quintet (with pianist Thomas Adès), 2005
- Mozart – String Quartets, 2006 (original line-up)
- Béla Bartók – Complete String Quartets, 2008
- Franz Schubert – String Quintet (with Valentin Erben), Quartet in G, Quartet in D minor, 2009
- Beethoven – Complete String Quartets, 2014
- Erica Jeal, "Belcea Quartet/Erben". The Guardian, 6 December 2005.
- James R. Oestreich, "Robust Joking By Way of Haydn". New York Times, 14 March 2000.
- Tim Ashley, "Belcea Quartet". The Guardian, 18 August 2001.
- Andrew Clements, review of December 2005 Wigmore Hall concert with Lisa Milne. The Guardian, 14 December 2005.
- Tim Ashley, "Schubert: 'Rosamunde' Quartet; Quartet in E Flat; Quartettsatz in C Minor". The Guardian, 31 January 2003.
- Andrew Clements, "Brahms: String Quartet Op 51 no 1; String Quintet Op 111, Kakuska/ Belcea Quartet". The Guardian, 6 February 2004.
- Andrew Clements, "Britten: String Quartets Nos 1–3; Three Divertimenti, Belcea Quartet". The Guardian, 1 April 2005.
- Andrew Clements, "Adès: Piano Quintet; Schubert: Trout Quintet: Ades/Arditti Quartet/Belcea Quartet". The Guardian, 6 May 2005.
- EMI Liner Notes
- EMI Germany page
Selected concert reviews
- Tim Ashley, "Belcea/ Bostridge/ Adès". The Guardian, 7 December 2001.
- Ivan Hewett, "Poise and personality". Telegraph, 9 July 2002.[dead link]
- Tom Service, "Bostridge/ Drake/ Belcea Quartet". The Guardian, 19 August 2002.
- Geoffrey Norris, "Quest for the new". Telegraph, 31 October 2002.[dead link]
- Geoffrey Norris, "Profundity and vision". Telegraph, 4 March 2003.[dead link]
- David Fanning, "Aldeburgh Festival: precision of a madman". Telegraph, 24 June 2003.[dead link]
- Andrew Clements, "The Turn of the Screw". The Guardian, 20 July 2004.
- Tom Service, "Belcea Quartet/Kildea". The Guardian, 1 November 2004.
- Erica Jeal, "Janacek at 150". The Guardian, 16 December 2004.
- Rian Evans, "An Evening in Buenos Aires" (review from Bath Festival). The Guardian, 7 June 2005.
- George Hall, review of June 2005 Wigmore Hall concert. The Guardian, 22 June 2005.
- Geoffrey Norris, "Four strings weave a taut web". Telegraph, 5 June 2006.[dead link]
- Geoffrey Norris, "Apt tribute to Britten's originality". Telegraph, 5 December 2006.[dead link]