The London venue’s triennial competition is open to international quartets ‘of the highest calibre’ under the age of 35
The Van Kuijk Quartet from France has won first prize at the triennial Wigmore Hall International String Quartet Competition. The ensemble receives £10,000 prize money; residencies at Canada’s Banff Centre, Aspen Music School Center for Advanced Quartet Studies and Avaloch Farm Music Institute in New Hampshire; a place at the McGill International String Quartet Academy; and recital appearances at the Morrison Artists Series in San Francisco and The Royal Greenwich String Quartet Festival 2015.
Second prize was shared by the Piatti Quartet from the UK and USA’s Verona Quartet, while third prize was awarded to the Aizuri Quartet from the USA.
‘Standards [at this year’s competition] have been extremely high and it has shown that the art of the string quartet is alive and flourishing, not only here at Wigmore Hall but throughout the world,’ said competition chairman and Wigmore Hall director John Gilhooly. ‘We have heard eleven fine young ensembles, many of whom will go on to have significant musical careers.’
This year’s jury comprised Levon Chilingirian from the Chilingirian String Quartet, Valentin Erben, previously from the Alban Berg Quartet, Peter Jarušek from the Pavel Haas Quartet, Heime Müller, previously from the Artemis Quartet, Lesley Robertson from the St Lawrence String Quartet and Simon Rowland-Jones, formerly of the Chilingirian String Quartet.
The Van Kuijk Quartet – violinists Nicholas van Kuijk and Sylvain Favre-Bulle, violist Grégoire Vecchioni and cellist François Robin – was founded in 2011 and studied at the Paris Conservatoire with the Ysaÿe Quartet. It won first prize and the audience award at the 2013 International String Quartet Competition in Trondheim, Norway, as well as the special ProQuartet-CEMC Prize at the 2013 FNAPEC Competition in Paris. Since 2013, the quartet has been studying at the Reina Sofia Institute in Madrid with Günter Pichler.
The 2012 Wigmore Hall International String Quartet Competition was won by the Arcadia Quartet from Romania.
Photo: Benjamin Ealovega