Program Books/Castalian Quartet

Castalian Quartet

Since its formation in 2011, the London-based Castalian Quartet has distinguished itself as one of today’s most dynamic and sophisticated young string quartets. Appointed the inaugural Hans Keller String Quartet in Residence at the Oxford University Faculty of Music in 2021, the group is also the recipient of the Royal Philharmonic Society’s 2019 Young Artists Award. The members are gaining international acclaim as they take their talents abroad, having performed at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Berlin Philhar­monic, Hamburg Elbphilharmonie, Paris Phil­harmonie, Vienna Konzerthaus, and Carnegie Hall, among many other esteemed venues worldwide.

The Castalian Quartet will tour North America this season with performances in San Diego; Schenectady and Buffalo, NY; Middlebury, VT; Waterford, VA; Durham, NC; and Toronto in Canada. The quartet collaborates with many living composers, including recent premieres of works by Mark-Anthony Turnage, Charlotte Bray, and Edmund Finnis. During the 2023–24 season, the group will perform several US concerts with pianist Stephen Hough featuring Hough’s own string quartet in addition to the Brahms quintet. The artists have also established a strong presence abroad, with performances of the complete Haydn Op.76 quartets at Wigmore Hall and concerts at the Paris Philharmonie, the Vienna Konzert­haus, and the Tel Aviv Museum of Art. They have played at the Heidelberger Frühling, East Neuk, Zwischentöne in Engelberg, Neuchatel Chamber Music Switzerland, and Banff International festivals. Further afield, they have toured China and Colombia.

In spring 2022, the Castalian Quartet released its first recording, Between Two Worlds (Delphian), featuring works by Thomas Adès and Beethoven, as well as first violinist Sini Simonen’s own arrangements of early works by Orlando de Lassus and John Dowland. BBC Music Magazine raved: “Perceptively programmed, Between Two Worlds explores the mystic properties of time through a series of intricately connected works, each performed with rare beauty and originality by a quartet working at the height of its powers.”

The Castalian Quartet studied with Oliver Wille (Kuss Quartet) at the Hannover University of Music, Drama and Media, graduating with master’s degrees. Awards include Third Prize at the 2016 Banff Quartet Competition and First Prize at the 2015 Lyon Chamber Music Competition. The quartet was selected by Young Classical Artists Trust (YCAT) in 2016. The members have received coaching from Simon Rowland-Jones, David Waterman, and Isabel Charisius.

The group’s name is derived from the Castalian Spring in the ancient city of Delphi. According to Greek mythology, the nymph Castalia transformed herself into a fountain to evade Apollo’s pursuit, thus creating a source of poetic inspiration for all who drink from her waters. Herman Hesse chose Castalia as the name of his futuristic European utopia in The Glass Bead Game. The novel’s protagonist, a Castalian by the name of Knecht, is mentored in this land of intellectual thought and education by the venerable Music Master.