Celebrated for the rare energy of their performances as well as the quality of their recordings, Quatuor Arod hurtled into the limelight in 2016 when they took First Prize at the ARD International Music Competition, the Everest of music competitions!
Nicknamed 'Sunrise', the opening of Haydn’s String Quartet, Op. 76 is perhaps the most magical passage in all of Haydn’s music. More than two centuries later, French composer Benjamin Attahir captures the atmosphere of afternoon prayer in Al’Asr, bringing to mind “Glaring light, sweltering heat, the diffraction of the air as it touches the ground”.
Beethoven’s late string quartets have been regarded with awe and wonder since they were written, with Op. 131 amongst the most revered. Beethoven was said to consider it his own favourite and even Wagner was extravagant in his description of the piece: “This is the fury of the world’s dance – fierce pleasure, agony, ecstasy of love, joy, anger, passion, and suffering; lightning flashes and thunder rolls; and above the tumult the indomitable fiddler whirls us on to the abyss”.
Music critics have hailed the rare energy of Le Quatuor Arod in concert as well as the quality of their recordings.
So, what is this “Arod”? A forgotten composer, a mythical city? In fact, Le Quatuor Arod chose their name after a horse imagined by Tolkien in The Lord of the Rings. A symbol of strength and ardour (his name means “agile, swift”), he also embodied a spirit of freedom and companionship given that the elf Legolas provided him with a bareback horse, without reins.
This community of the bow was born in 2013 at the Conservatoire de Paris. All the members of the quartet studied there, benefiting in particular from the teaching of Jean Sulem. Starting out as a group of students, burning to get their fingers on the finest pages of the repertoire, the ensemble chose as their first outing the FNAPEC competition, which has crowned such great string quartets as the Modigliani and Ysa.e. Quatuor Arod won the first prize there in 2014, which for them opened the doors of the ProQuartet residency at the European Centre for Chamber Music.
When the quartet decided to take on the Everest of competitions, the ARD in Munich, they won the First Prize, a supreme accolade which has been awarded only seven times since 1959 and their victory in 2016.
Pushed into the limelight by this exploit, the Quatuor Arod was made the BBC New Generation Artist from 2017 to 2019 and the ECHO Rising Star for the 2018-2019 season, before continuing their glittering career. They are now in demand across the five continents and in the most prestigious concert halls: the Philharmonie de Paris, Wigmore Hall in London, the Berliner Philharmonie, the NDR Elbphilharmonie of Hamburg, the Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, Bozar in Brussels, the Oji Hall in Tokyo and Carnegie Hall in New York.