Martin Funda, Johanna Staemmler [violins], Teresa Schwamm-Biskamp [viola], Peter-Philipp Staemmler [cello]
“Without a doubt, the Armida Quartet is one of the young newcomer ensembles that lets us experience music in a new way. We need not worry about the future of chamber music: it is already here.” RONDO magazine, 2 Jan 2016
With their spectacular triumph at the International ARD Competition in Munich in 2012, where they won First Prize, the Audience Prize and six further prizes, the young string quartet from Berlin embarked on a unique musical career.
The BBC featured them from 2014 to 2016 in a great number of recitals and broadcast recordings within the framework of its “New Generation Artists” series. In the 2016/17 season they were part of the renowned “Rising Stars” series organized by the great European concert halls; ever since then, the quartet tours the finest chamber music auditoriums in Europe, Asia, and the US.
Founded in Berlin in 2006, the Armida Quartet took its name from an opera by Haydn, the “father of the string quartet”. They have studied with former members of the Artemis Quartet and Rainer Schmidt (Hagen Quartet), drawing further inspiration from Reinhard Goebel, Alfred Brendel, Marek Janowski, and Tabea Zimmermann.
Apart from regular appearances at outstanding European music festivals such as Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and Rheingau, the quartet has enjoyed great success at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, the Philharmonie in Berlin, and Wigmore Hall in London.
The ensemble also takes up the function of artistic director: not only as Artist in Residence for the Duisburg Philharmonic Orchestra, but also with its own recital series, “Mozart Exploded”, which has caused a sensation from Berlin to New York. Planned over a time span of several years, this extensive series will gradually present the complete Mozart string quartets, coupled on each occasion with contemporary music and experimental recital forms.
In 2016 the young musicians launched a special cooperation project with the renowned G. Henle music publishing house: they not only serve as consultants for the new Henle Urtext edition of the complete Mozart string quartets, but they also make their own fingerings and bowings available for the associated Henle Library App. Thus, the Armida Quartet is not only placing itself at the forefront of technical musical development, but is strongly advocating for a closer collaboration between performing artists and musicologists in the future.
With its complete recording of the Mozart string quartets foreseen to appear in installments up to 2021, the Armida Quartet will thus be able to present these new accomplishments to a wider audience.
The ensemble’s debut CD in 2013, featuring works by Béla Bartók, György Ligeti, and György Kurtág, was selected by the German Record Critics’ Award for its critics’ choice list. Further recordings ensued, with works by Mozart, Beethoven, and Shostakovich, followed by the CD Fuga Magna in 2017, a fugue journey through the centuries.
Working with chamber partners is an inspiration for the Armida Quartet: they have additionally worked with Thomas Hampson, Martin Fröst, Tabea Zimmermann, Jörg Widmann, Julian Steckel, Sabine Meyer, and Daniel Müller-Schott.
Apart from their concert activities, the quartet gives masterclasses in Germany and abroad, and they are active in social programs and youth projects including Rhapsody in School and Yehudi Menuhin Live Music Now e.V..
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