US violist Jonathan Brown leaves the quartet to take up the role of professor of chamber music at the Colburn School in Los Angeles

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Photo: David Ruano

The Casals Quartet, left to right: Arnau Tomàs, Abel Tomàs, Vera Martínez Mehner, Jonathan Brown

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The Casals Quartet has announced the departure of its violist, Jonathan Brown, after 22 years. This follows his appointment as the new professor of chamber music at the Colburn School in Los Angeles, US, a role he assumed on 1 July this year. He leaves behind violinists Vera Martínez Mehner and Abel Tomàs, and cellist Arnau Tomàs. In a post on social media, Brown made the following statement:

‘Joining Cuarteto Casals in 2002 was the easiest decision I ever made, leaving has been by far the hardest. For over 22 years, the quartet has been the center of my artistic life and I am enormously proud of what we have accomplished together as musicians, teachers and as friends. Nevertheless, I am greatly looking forward to beginning my tenure as professor of chamber music at the Colburn School in Los Angeles, where I will be much closer to my family. I will be forever grateful for what we have experienced as a quartet: the concerts, recordings, audiences, students and travels around the world, as well as the countless hours of rehearsal. But above all, I am thankful to Abel, Arnau and Vera for all that I have learned from them, they will be a continual source of inspiration for me; I could not have been more fortunate than to have been a member of Cuarteto Casals.’

The quartet was established in 1997 at the Escuela Reina Sofía in Madrid, Spain, studying under violist Antonello Farulli. It rose to prominence after winning the London International String Quartet Competition in 2000 and the International Brahms Competition in Hamburg in 2002, and has won prizes including Spain’s National Music Award, the Catalan National Prize for Culture, the Barcelona City Award, and received a prize from the Borletti-Buitoni Trust. The Casals Quartet has performed at prestigious venues across the globe, including New York’s Carnegie Hall, London’s Wigmore Hall, Vienna’s Musikverein, Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, and Berlin’s Philharmonie. It has also performed regularly at Madrid’s Royal Palace, playing on the palace’s collection of decorated Stradivarius instruments.

With Brown’s announcement, the remaining members of the quartet published the following on social media:

‘After 22 wonderful years sharing music, experiences and unforgettable life moments, our dear colleague and friend Jonathan Brown has decided to embark on a new musical adventure in his native country, ending his career as violist of the Casals Quartet. We lack words to capture everything that Jonathan has contributed during his time on this project. His musical, human and intellectual quality leaves an indelible mark on each of us, and extends to all musicians, colleagues and students who have been fortunate enough to share his talent, his enthusiasm and his way of understanding music. We want to express our love and gratitude to Jonathan, who has been (and will always continue to be) an indispensable part of this family that is the Casals Quartet. We wish Jonathan and his family the best of luck in this new chapter of his life. Thanks, Jonathan!

’The Casals Quartet faces this new stage full of emotions and enthusiasm, we will share more details very soon.’

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