Loewenguth Quartet

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The Loewenguth Quartet was a string quartet music ensemble led by the French violinist Alfred Loewenguth.[1][2] It was particularly famous for performances of classical repertoire such as Beethoven, Mozart and Haydn quartets, and was active from the 1930s to the 1970s.


The founding line-up of the Loewenguth Quartet was:[3]

From the early 1960s the desks were occupied thus:

The quartet was dissolved in 1983 at the death of the founder.[9]


Alfred Loewenguth was born in Paris in 1911. He formed his first string quartet in 1929, but appeared in public as a violinist first in 1936.[10][11]

Loewenguth began to study the violin at 8 years old, and had his first pupil when he was 12. At 16, he entered the Conservatoire National de Paris, and he set up his own Violin School when he was 17. At 19 he won the first prize at the Conservatoire, and principal medals for chamber music and solfeggio. For chamber music he was a pupil of André Tourret and Jean Roger-Ducasse. In 1959 he founded the Alfred Loewenguth Youth Orchestras,[12] and in 1969 he set up the Music Festival of the Orangerie de Sceaux.[13] He both founded and directed the Conservatoire of the 9th arrondissement of Paris, and taught at the Conservatoire of Stuttgart, at the Schola Cantorum de Paris, and at the Académie Internationale at Nice. Although he devoted the core of his musical work to teaching and to chamber music - with his quartet or in duo (for more than fifty years with the pianist Françoise Doreau), he also had a career as soloist. The cinematographer Benoît Jacquot devoted a documentary called "Enfance Musique" to him in 1979.[14]

The Loewenguth Quartet appearances in Southern Africa were hugely successful, and they completed three tours, in 1955, 56, and 64.[15]

Alfred Loewenguth died in 1983.

The quartet performed the complete quartets of Beethoven in a series of 6 concerts over three consecutive weekends in November 1948 in New York.[16] On 12 November 1948 they gave the premiere of the 6th quartet, op. 64 (1947) of Egon Wellesz at the Library of Congress.[17] In the same year they also performed the complete Beethoven series for the Casavant Society in Montreal.[18] The quartet performed Priaulx Rainier's string quartet at the Edinburgh Festival in 1949.[19]


The Loewenguth Quartet made many recordings on 78rpm and 33rpm discs, for various labels including Deutsche Grammofon (and Archiv), Vox, Philips, Westminster, Les Discophiles Français, Club National du Disque and some smaller French and American labels.[20]

  • Beethoven: Op 18 no 4 (1947) & No 16 (1946).
  • Beethoven: Complete Quartets (Vox Box SVBX 543/4/5). (published 1962?)
  • Mozart: Quartets K387 & K428 (1951), K458 (DGG 18315) (1950) also (Decca 10", DL 7517), K465 (c.1945) (another version live 1972), Clarinet quintet K581 (live 1972 with Georgina Dobrée). (DOREMI reissue vol 1)
  • Haydn: Quartets op 64 no 5 (DGG 18315), op 76 no 2 and 74 no 3 (Oriole Eurodisc SMG 20066). (DOREMI reissue vol 1)
  • Hugo Wolf: Italienische Serenade. (Opera label)
  • Jean Françaix: Quatuor à cordes; Juvénalia. (Opera label)
  • Roussel: String Quartet in D major op 45. (1953).[21](Decca DL 4026)
  • Claude Debussy: String quartet op 10 (DGG 18312) (Club National du Disque CND 75)
  • Maurice Ravel: String quartet in F (DGG 18312) (Club National du Disque CND 75)
  • Gabriel Fauré: Quartet (and Roussel quartet), (Vox TV34014S). Complete Chamber Music, (VOX QSVBX 5152).
  • César Franck: Quartet in D major.
  • Émile Goué: Third quartet, Sonata for piano and violin (with Doreau).(Azur Classical CD AZC 081)
  • J. S. Bach: The Art of Fugue - Contrapunctus 9. (1945)
  • Jacques Ibert: String Quartet. (1945)
  • Franz Schubert: String Quartet No.14 "Der Tod und Das Mädchen". (Les Discophiles Francais DF 203).(1956)
  • Schubert: No.12 'Quartettsatz'. (Discophiles Francais DF 203).(1956)
  • Franz Schubert: String Quintet D. 956 * with Roger Loewenguth, cello. (Les Discophiles Francais DF 214).(1958)
  • Jean Roger-Ducasse: String quartet no 2.
  • Sergei Prokofiev: 2nd Quartet (& Roussel Quartet) (DGG). (1955)
  • Pierre Vachon: Quartets Op 11 no 1, 5. (DGG Archiv SAPM 198033)
  • Nicolas Dalayrac: Quartets Op 7 no 3, op. 1 no 3 (5). (Archiv SAPM 198033)


  1. ^ Albert Richard, 'Alfred Loewenguth: 70 Ans-50 Ans d'Activité,' La Revue Musicale no. 347 (1981), 48 pages.
  2. ^ Alfred Loewenguth, 'Reflexions sur la Musique de Chambre en général et sur le Quatuor á cordes en particulier', in Rüdiger Görner (Ed.), Logos Musicae: Festschrift für Albert Palm (Franz Stein Verlag, Wiesbaden 1982), p.131-32.
  3. ^ Sleevenote, Loewenguth Quartet: Haydn Quartets op 74 no 3 & op 76 no 2,(Oriole LP SMG 20066), issued 1963.
  4. ^ a b c Performer in the early 1950s Deutsche Grammophon recordings.
  5. ^ Martini is also known as the conductor of the Concerts Colonne.
  6. ^ Jacques was father of the composer Ida Gotkovsky, see [1].
  7. ^ Active 1972 in live Mozart recordings.
  8. ^ Borsarello biographical notices
  9. ^ Some details from the French Wikipedia article on Quatuor Loewenguth.
  10. ^ See short history of the quartet on the Doremi reissue prospectus of Loewenguth recordings: [2]
  11. ^ Jonathan Woolf review of the Loewenguth Quartet on Musicweb International [3]
  12. ^ *Alfred Loewenguth youth orchestras
  13. ^ Festival de l'Orangerie de Sceaux
  14. ^ This biographical section translated from French Wikipedia article on Alfred Loewenguth.
  15. ^ Photos: Loewenguth Quartet tours of Southern Africa 1955, 56, 64
  16. ^ 'Quartet begins concerts series', New York Times Sunday 14 November 1948.
  17. ^ Rob Barnett, 'Review, Egon Wellesz String Quartets (Nimbus)', Music Web International.
  18. ^ The Canadian Encyclopedia: 'Casavant Society': #Montreal.
  19. ^ Schott's Music - Rainier profile
  20. ^ See title listings in Library of Congress Catalogue online.
  21. ^ Review by Richard F. Goldman, Musical Quarterly XXXIX (2)(1953), p.338-39.

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