The Zurich-based Gringolts Quartet was born from mutual friendships and chamber music partnerships that cross four countries: over the years, the Russian violinist Ilya Gringolts, the Romanian violist Silvia Simionescu, and the Armenian violinist Anahit Kurtikyan frequently performed together in various chamber formations at distinguished festivals; the German cellist Claudius Herrmann played with Anahit Kurtikyan in the renowned Amati Quartet. In the Gringolts Quartet, the four musicians inspire with their radiant, fused, and at the same time finely differentiated ensemble sound.
The musical partners of the group include artists such as Leon Fleischer, Jörg Widmann, David Geringas, Malin Hartelius, Christian Poltéra, and Eduard Brunner. Aside from classical repertoire for string quartet, they are also dedicated performers of contemporary music, including string quartets by Marc-André Dalbavie, Jörg Widmann, Jens Joneleit, and Lotta Wennäkoski.
The Gringolts Quartet has attracted attention among critics and audiences with their exquisite CD recordings of works by Robert Schumann and Johannes Brahms. Together with David Geringas, the Gringolts Quartet participated in the world premiere recording of Walter Braunfels’ quintet in 2012, which was awarded a “Supersonic Award” as well as an ECHO Klassik award. Their CD of quintets by Glazunov and Taneyev with Christian Poltéra was released in the spring of 2016 and was awarded the Diapason d’Or. Jointly with Meta4, a recording with the octets by Mendelssohn and Enescu was published by BIS in 2020 and awarded the Quarterly Prize of the German Record Critics. Also on BIS records, a CD with Schönberg’s string quartets Nos. 2 and 4, praised by Klassik Heute as a “reference recording”, was released in 2017, “triumphally confirmed” (Rondo, Eleonore Büning) from the release of the second volume with the quartets Nos. 1 and 3 in spring 2022, for which the quartet again received a Diapason d’Or.
The members of the Gringolts Quartet all play on rare Italian instruments: Ilya Gringolts plays a Giuseppe Guarneri “del Gesù” violin, Cremona 1742-43, on loan from a private collection. Anahit Kurtikyan plays a Camillo Camilli violin, Mantua 1733. Silvia Simionescu plays a Jacobus Januarius viola, Cremona 1660. Claudius Herrmann plays a Maggini cello, Brescia 1600. Prince Golizyn, who was a great admirer of Beethoven, gave the first performances of the composer’s last string quartets, which he commissioned, on this instrument