French Ensemble Ebène Quartet Makes Baltimore Debut At Shriver Hall This April

The quartet will makes its Baltimore debut on Sunday, April 7, 2024 at 5:30pm.

By: Feb. 22, 2024
French Ensemble Ebène Quartet Makes Baltimore Debut At Shriver Hall This April
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Shriver Hall Concert Series welcomes the celebrated French ensemble Ébène Quartet to Shriver Hall for its Baltimore debut on Sunday, April 7, 2024 at 5:30pm.

The group was the first ensemble ever to win the 2017 Frankfurt Music Prize and has received numerous other awards, including the 2007 Borletti-Buitoni Trust and winning the 2004 ARD International Music Competition. For its 20th anniversary, the Quartet recorded Beethoven's 16 string quartets and traveled across six continents between May 2019 and January 2020. Ébène Quartet now brings to Baltimore works by Alfred Schnittke, Edvard Grieg, and W.A. Mozart.

Ébène Quartet's concert opens with Mozart's Quartet in D major, K. 575. The quartet was written in Vienna and heavily features cello. By spotlighting the cello's upper register, Mozart accentuates the music's soloistic character, and the absence of a strong bass foundation gives the central Trio section a light, ethereal quality that contrasts with the more robust and vigorous tone of the Menuetto movement proper.

Alfred Schnittke's Quartet No. 3 is a striking piece written in 1983 that incorporates past styles within the musical language of the present. Quartet No. 3 includes the first eight-bar phrase from a Stabat Mater by Orlando di Lasso (1532-94), the theme of Ludwig van Beethoven's Grosse Fuge composed in 1825-25, and the personal musical monogram of Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-75).

Edvard Grieg's Quartet in G minor, Op. 27 closes out the program. The stunning work strives towards breadth, soaring flight, and resonance for the instruments for which it is written. The finished score is a work of astonishing vigor and originality, in which lyrical and dramatic elements are juxtaposed, contrasted, and combined into a satisfyingly integrated whole.

Preceding Ébène Quartet's Baltimore debut, the acclaimed tenor Mark Padmore and pianist Mitsuko Uchida perform at Shriver Hall for their own Baltimore debuts on Sunday, March 10, 2024 at 5:30pm. The pair – hailed as “Two Schubert masters” by The New York Times – will perform the composer's famous song cycle Winterreise.

The conclusion of Shriver Hall Concert Series' 2023-24 season showcases cellist Johannes Moser and pianist Marc-André Hamelin on Sunday, April 21, 2024 at 5:30pm. The duo will perform works by Hamelin himself, Boulanger, Debussy, and Franck.

Concert Information

Ébène Quartet (Baltimore debut)
Sunday, April 7, 2024 at 5:30pm
Shriver Hall | 3400 N. Charles Street | Baltimore, MD 21218
Tickets: $46 Single Tickets, $10 Students

WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART: Quartet in D major, K. 575
Alfred Schnittke: Quartet No. 3
Edvard Grieg: Quartet in G minor, Op. 27

There will be a Pre-Concert Talk with The Peabody Institute's Michael Kannen at 4:30pm in Shriver Hall.

About Shriver Hall Concert Series

For more than 50 years, Shriver Hall Concert Series is the area's premier presenter of chamber music ensembles and solo recitalists with a mission to craft performances and educational programs at the highest level of excellence. A 5-time recipient of Baltimore Magazine's distinction “Best Classical Music” in its annual “Best of Baltimore” issue, the coveted subscription series features many of the world's most renowned soloists and ensembles, presented in The Johns Hopkins University's Shriver Hall.

Founded in 1966 by Dr. Ernest Bueding, a pharmacologist at Johns Hopkins University, and a group of similarly dedicated music enthusiasts, SHCS set out to make an important contribution to the vitality of an already vibrant city. When flutist Jean-Pierre Rampal walked onto the stage of Shriver Hall for the first concert, more than 1,100 people witnessed the launch of what is now recognized as a remarkable success story: Shriver Hall Concert Series. In the succeeding years, SHCS has presented hundreds of acclaimed and emerging International Artists in classical chamber music and recitals and a legacy of important debuts and premieres. In addition, SHCS collaborates with local schools and subsidizes hundreds of student tickets each season.

The list of artists presented by SHCS is remarkable—Radu Lupu, Murray Perahia, Ewa Podlés, Maurizio Pollini, Jacqueline du Pré, Mstislav Rostropovich, Jordi Savall, András Schiff, Rudolf Serkin, Janos Starker, Daniil Trifonov, Lynn Harrell, Emmanuel Ax, Alban Berg Quartet, Guarneri Quartet, Kronos Quartet, Cleveland Quartet, and Quartetto Italiano, among many others. SHCS also has a history of championing important musicians early in their careers, including Richard Goode, Hilary Hahn, Hélène Grimaud, Dawn Upshaw, Lang Lang, and the Emerson String Quartet. Commissioned composers include Timo Andres, Sebastian Currier, Jonathan Leshnoff, James Lee III, Han Lash, Caroline Shaw, and Nina C. Young.

Designed specifically for the community, SHCS offers the Discovery Series, a series of free concerts presented in venues throughout the region focused on artists emerging on the national and international scene. Artists featured include Narek Hakhnazaryan, Colin Currie, Xavier Foley, Eric Lu, and the Dover Quartet. SHCS also offers the annual Spring Lecture Series, a series of free talks focused on annual topics related to the intersection of music and society, and a variety of student programs.

For more information, visit

About Ébène Quartet

Pierre Colombet, violin; Gabriel Le Magadure, violin; Marie Chilemme, viola; Yuya Okamoto, violincello.

Attending a concert by the Ébène Quartet is a musical and sensual happening. In the past two decades the quartet has set new standards by making familiar repertoire accessible in new ways beyond perfection, and by constantly seeking exchange with the audience. This spring, Yuya Okamoto joined the quartet's esteemed ranks, adding a new dimension.

After studies with the Quatuor Ysaÿe, Gábor Takács-Nagy, Eberhard Feltz, and György Kurtág, Ébène Quartet had an unprecedented victory at the 2004 ARD International Music Competition. This marked the beginning of its rise, which has culminated in numerous prizes and awards, including the 2007 Borletti-Buitoni Trust, and—as the first ensemble ever—the 2017 Frankfurt Music Prize. 

In addition to the traditional repertoire, the Quartet also embraces other styles. What began in 1999 as a distraction in the university's practice rooms—improvising on jazz standards and pop songs—has become a trademark of Ébène Quartet. The Quartet has released three albums in these genres, Fiction (2010), Brazil (2014), and Eternal Stories (2017). In June 2024, the ensemble presents “Waves,” a new project with the electronic sound artist Xavier Tribolet.

Ébène Quartet's albums—with recordings of Béla Bartók, Ludwig van Beethoven, Claude Debussy, Franz Joseph Haydn, Gabriel Fauré, Felix Mendelssohn, and Fanny Mendelssohn—have received numerous awards, including from Gramophone, BBC Music, and Midem Classical. It participated in the album Green: Mélodies françaises by Philippe Jaroussky, and released a Franz Schubert album with Matthias Goerne and the Schubert String Quintet with Gautier Capuçon. In spring 2023, the ensemble released a recording of W.A. Mozart's violin quintets K. 515 and K. 516 with Antoine Tamestit. The album has received accolades such as Choc Classica, Diapason d'Or, and Gramophone's Recording of the Month.

The Quartet celebrated its 20th anniversary by recording Beethoven's 16 string quartets. For its Beethoven Around the World Project, the Quartet traveled across six continents between May 2019 and January 2020, and performed the complete cycle in major European venues, including the Philharmonie de Paris and the Alte Oper Frankfurt. 

The musicians of Ébène Quartet have been successful in reaching a wide audience of young listeners. In January 2021, the ensemble was appointed by the Hochschule für Musik und Theater München to establish a string quartet class as part of the newly founded Ébène Quartet Academy. 

Since last season, Ébène Quartet has been performing a shared quartet cycle with the Belcea Quartet at the Konzerthaus in Vienna. During the 2023-24 season, Ébène Quartet is the resident ensemble for the Philharmonie Luxembourg, where it will perform chamber music concerts and present John Adams's Absolute Jest with the Luxembourg Philharmonic, and for Radio France, for which the group performs three concerts in Paris. Further highlights of the season include concerts at the Salzburg Festival, the Berliner Philharmonie, the Megaron Athens, London's Wigmore Hall, and New York's Carnegie Hall.

The musicians of Ébène Quartet perform on instruments and bows generously loaned through the Beare's International Violin Society, by Gabriele Forberg-Schneider, and by the Stradivari Foundation Habisreutinger. The ensemble's website is