Kuss brings life to rare and new chamber repertoire

The Berlin based Kuss Quartet joined by Principal Viola of the Berlin Philharmonic, Naoko Shimizu, continues its national tour with a second concert in Sydney, under the auspices of Music Viva.

Their first performance in Sydney last week included Gordon Kerry’s String Quintet, Bedrich Smenata’s String Quartet no 2 in D minor, György Kurtag’s Officium Breve in Memoriam Andreae Szervánszky, op 28 andWA Mozart’s String Quintet no 3 in C major, K515. The performance earned high praise in the media (see link below).

Their second concert too presents the opportunity to hear rarely heard string quartet repertoire. In this programme they reprise Gordon Kerry’s String Quintet, (2012) a world premiere, commissioned for Musica Viva Australia by Kim Williams, AM; Mozart’s String Quartet no 21 in D major, K575, György Kurtag’s Officium Breve in Memoriam Andreae Szervánszky, op 28 and Johannes Brahms’ String Quintet no 2 in G major, op 111.

György Kurtag (b1926) is a Hungarian-Jewish composer. His Officium Breve in Memoriam Andreae Szervánszky, op 28  is a string quartet in 15 movements.

The Kuss Quartet was formed in 1991 by then teenage violinists, Jana Kuss and Oliver Wille. Friends from a young age, Kuss and Wille were both students at the East Berlin Hanns Eisler music school. “I can’t really remember a time without the quartet,” admits Wille, “but I remember that we had our first rehearsal before the Wall came down, which was 1989.”

The group’s first mentors came from the great European quartet tradition, emphasising faithfulness to the score and a disciplined questioning approach. The arrival of violist William Coleman ten years later brought a new emphasis, one that is “always being flexible, always questioning but in a very different way” according to second violinist Oliver Wille. This combination is, for cellist Mikayel Hakhazaryan, “something very honest, something very positive”.

Naoko Shimizu

Naoko Shimizu has been a member of the Berlin Philharmonic since 2001, where she is currently Principal Viola. She was winner of the Geneva International Competition (1996), of the first prize at the ARD International Music Competition in Munich (1997) and of the Young Concert Artist International Auditions in New York (1998). In 2010 Naoko toured Australia with the Berlin Philharmonic.

The Kuss Quartet:

Violin Jana Kuss

Violin Oliver Wille

Viola William Coleman

Cello Mikayel Hakhnazaryan

with Viola Naoko Shimizu

Bookings: www.cityrecitalhall.com or call (02)8256 2222 or in person at 2 Angel Place, Sydney.

Read Peter McCallum’s review in the Sydney Morning Herald


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