Sara Bittloch (violin)
Donald Grant (violin)
Martin Saving (viola)
Marie Bittloch (cello)
The Elias String Quartet take their name from Mendelssohn's oratorio, Elijah, of which Elias is in its German form, and have quickly established themselves as one of the most intense and vibrant quartets of their generation. They perform around the world, collaborating with many different artists. The Quartet was formed in 1998 at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester where they worked closely with the late Dr. Christopher Rowland. They also spent a year studying at the Hochschule in Cologne with the Alban Berg quartet. Other mentors in the Quartet’s studies include Hugh Maguire, György Kurtág, Gábor Takács-Nagy, Henri Dutilleux and Rainer Schmidt.
The quartet have been chosen to participate in BBC Radio 3's prestigious New Generation Artists scheme and are the recipients of a 2010 Borletti-Buitoni Trust Award. In April 2010, their disc of Mendelssohn, Mozart and Schubert on the Wigmore Hall Live label was given the BBC Music Magazine Newcomer Award. Other highlights of the 2009/10 season have included a month long tour of Australia, their first visit to Italy with cellist Alice Neary and a cycle of Mendelssohn’s Chamber Music at King’s Place, London. This year they had their debut at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, a week long tour in Europe with pianist Jonathan Biss, appearances at The Sage Newcastle, Bridgewater Hall Manchester and the City of London, Cheltenham and East Neuk Festivals. Future projects include a five concert series at Wigmore Hall, a US tour including their Carnegie Hall debut, returning to Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, and participating in Jonathan Biss's Schumann project.
With the support of the Borletti-Buitoni Trust, the Elias Quartet are embarking on their Beethoven project: Learning and performing all Beethoven string quartets, with cycles starting in 2012/13 in various venues including Southampton, Bristol, Brighton, Tonbridge, London, and documenting their journey, learnings and findings on a dedicated website, www.thebeethovenproject.com
They have performed alongside artists such as Michael Collins, Jonathan Biss, Simon Crawford-Phillips, Ralph Kirshbaum, Alice Neary, Ann Murray, Joan Rogers, Mark Padmore, Roger Vignoles, Michel Dalberto, Peter Cropper, Bernard Gregor-Smith, Ettore Causa, Timothy Boulton, Robin Ireland, Adrian Brendel, Anthony Marwood and with the Endellion, Jerusalem and Vertavo Quartets.
The Quartet received second prize and the Sidney Griller prize at the 9th London International String Quartet Competition in 2003 (as the Johnston String Quartet) and were finalists in the Paolo Borciani Competition in 2005. For four years they were resident String Quartet at Sheffield’s “Music in the Round” as part of Ensemble 360, taking over from the Lindsay Quartet. The Ensemble has released discs by Mozart, Beethoven and Spohr with Sanctuary Classics and Nimbus.
The Quartet’s debut recording of Mendelssohn quartets for Sanctuary Classics received wide acclaim. Their performance of the Op. 80 quartet was chosen as best recording on BBC Radio 3's ‘Building a Library’ in
September 2009. Their Wigmore Live disc, recorded live at the Wigmore Hall has received outstanding reviews. They have also released a disc of French harp music with harpist Sandrine Chatron for the French label Ambroisie and Goehr’s Piano Quintet with Daniel Becker for Meridian Records. Their latest CD is a Britten Quartets disc, released by Sonimage.