Cellist Ursula Smith joins the quartet, succeeding Heather Tuach


The Fitzwilliam Quartet | fitzwilliamquartet.com

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The Fitzwilliam Quartet formally appointed Ursula Smith as its new cellist on 14 October 2023. Smith had been playing with the quartet since July, standing in for the indisposed Heather Tuach. Smith has performed as principal cellist in various groups, including the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, as well as seven years with the Zehetmair Quartet.

The Fitzwilliam Quartet is now one of the longest established string quartets in the world. It was founded in 1968 by four Cambridge undergraduates, and quickly rose to fame as a result of its members’ personal friendship with Dmitri Shostakovich, continuing to champion his string quartets after his death.

Now celebrating its 55th year, the quartet is about to conclude an ambitious project: recording the Beethoven string quartets on gut strings.

In 1986, what was to be the quartet’s complete cycle of the Beethoven quartets with Decca Records was left unfinished, due to the unexpected departures of violinist Christopher Rowland and his successor Daniel Zisman. Now, nearly 40 years later, they will complete their recordings with the C sharp minor Quartet op.131, paired with a new recording of the final F major Quartet op.135. As in their last recording of Schubert’s last G major Quartet D.887, which also used gut strings, the Fitzwilliam Quartet seeks to authentically recreate the sounds and performance practices of the era.

With the new addition of Ursula Smith, the Fitzwilliam Quartet released the statement that ‘Lucy, Andrew, and Alan - indeed, everyone connected with the quartet - welcomes her with open arms!’

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