RTÉ VANBRUGH QUARTET
Gregory Ellis - Keith Pascoe - Simon Aspell - Christopher Marwood
Resident Quartet to Radio Telefis Eireann
Artists in Residence at University College, Cork
Lecturers in Chamber Music at Dublin Institute of Technology
Awe-inspiring and infinitely moving… the kind of experience one encounters on only a few occasions in a lifetime… only one or two ensembles in the world plumb such depths. These were among the reactions of Strad magazine to the Vanbrugh Quartet’s twenty-fifth aniversary Beethoven cycle at London’s Cadogan Hall in November 2010. Winners of the 1988 London International String Quartet Competition, the Vanbrugh Quartet is internationally recognised for its beauty of sound, clarity of texture and integrity of interpretation within an unusually wide and varied range of repertoire.
Appointed Resident Quartet to RTÉ in 1986 and with more than 1000 performances in Ireland to its name, the group has dedicated itself to bringing the string quartet repertoire to audiences throughout the country. In April 2005 the Quartet planned and hosted European Quartet Week as part of Cork’s tenure as European Capital of Culture. At the same time they have built a thriving international career, with regular tours taking them throughout Europe, the USA and the Far East.
In 1996 the Quartet founded the West Cork Chamber Music Festival and has overseen its emergence as one of Europe's most vibrant music festivals. The Festival masterclasses have become a focal point for Ireland’s most talented young chamber musicians and, supported in part by the Quartet’s own Scholarship Fund, more than one hundred players have already benefitted from the experience of taking part. In 2008 the Quartet introduced a new composition workshop to the Festival to encourage the art of string quartet writing amongst Ireland’s young composers.
As well as presenting the core string quartet repertoire, the RTÉ Vanbrugh Quartet has consistently championed the work of Irish composers in concerts and broadcasts in Ireland and abroad, and has premiered new works by Gerald Barry, Seorse Bodley, Siobhan Cleary, David Cox, Raymond Deane, Donnacha Dennehy, Stephen Gardner, John Gibson, Deirdre Gribbin, Ronan Guilfoyle, Rachel Holstead, John Kinsella, Philip Martin, Jane O’Leary, Sam Perkins, Eric Sweeney, Niall Vallely, Kevin Volans, David Wallace and Ian Wilson.
The RTÉ Vanbrugh Quartet has an extensive and critically acclaimed discography which includes the complete Beethoven quartets as well as numerous contemporary Irish quartets. Awards include Gramophone Critics’ Choice 2003 for Boccherini’s cello quintets and Gramophone Editor’s Choice (February 2006) for Charles Stanford’s viola and piano quintets, a CD released by Hyperion in co-operation with RTÉ. Their latest CD, of music by Deirdre Gribbin, was released in March 2013.