The charismatic and sought-after Heath Quartet won the 2016 GRAMOPHONE Chamber Award for their recording of the complete string quartets of Sir Michael Tippett and in May 2013 became the first ensemble in 15 years to win the prestigious Royal Philharmonic Society’s Young Artists Award. Formed in 2002 at Manchester’s Royal Northern College of Music they were selected for representation by YCAT, awarded a Borletti-Buitoni Special Ensemble Scholarship, and in 2012 won the Ensemble Prize at the Festspiele Mecklenburg-Vorpommern where they are now regular visitors.
Following their award-winning debut recording of Tippett on the Wigmore LIVE label, the quartet recorded two discs for Harmonia Mundi/PIAS featuring Tchaikovsky’s first and third quartets (November 2016) and the complete Bartók quartets (June 2017). The latter was shortlisted for the 2018 GRAMOPHONE Chamber Award and won the 2017 Limelight Chamber Recording of the Year.
In the 2020/21 season the quartet is resident at Berlin’s Pierre Boulez Saal where they will develop 3 sui generis projects including a series of concerts to which children can bring their adults. A Beethoven series at Bath Festival and a residency exploring Czech music at the Palau de la Musica Catalana in Barcelona join various appearances throughout the UK in a varied, if disrupted, season.
The quartet’s Signum Classics disc of music by Berg, Webern and Schoenberg with longtime artistic collaborator Carolyn Sampson will be released in the summer of 2021.
Last season’s debuts included Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie (in an all-British programme), Adelaide Festival, Ireland’s Westport Festival, and the UK’s Saffron Hall and Cheltenham Festival. They were in residence at Middlebury College, Vermont, performing a Beethoven cycle to mark anniversaries of both the composer and the college. In the UK, Norfolk & Norwich and Aldeburgh Festivals both hosted the quartet in mini-residencies.
Previous seasons’ highlights include the televised world premiere of John Tavener’s Requiem Fragments at the BBC Proms, concerts at the Beethovenfest Bonn, and their debuts at the Musée d’Orsay and Louvre Auditorium. In 2018 they made their first tour of New Zealand, visiting a number of venues as they travelled south from Auckland to Christchurch.
In the UK they have performed at the Barbican, Bridgewater Hall, Sage Gateshead, Perth Concert Hall and Queen’s Hall Edinburgh. And in Europe they have appeared at the Kissingen Winterzauber and Schwetzinger Festivals as well as Concertgebouw Amsterdam, deSingel Arts Centre in Antwerp, Vara Konserthus in Sweden, Esterházy Palace, and the Musikverein and the Konzerthaus in Berlin and Vienna. USA tours have taken the quartet to Los Angeles, Washington DC, Chicago, Philadelphia, New York City’s Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall, and across the Canadian border to Montreal, Quebec City and Toronto.
Passionate exponents of contemporary music, the quartet have worked with many leading composers including Hans Abrahamsen, Helen Grime, Louis Andriessen, Brett Dean, Sofia Gubaidulina and Thomas Larcher. In 2018 they embarked on a special project with Spanish director Calixto Bieto in a co-production between the Birmingham Repertory Theatre and Holland Festival with performances throughout Europe. A revival of the project was taken to Festival l’Automne Paris in October 2019.
The quartet relish sharing the stage with other artists. Recent partnerships include Anna Caterina Antonacci, Ian Bostridge, Adrian Brendel, Michael Collins, Colin Currie, Aleksandar Madzar, Anthony Marwood, Lawrence Power, the Tokyo Quartet, and jazz musicians Trish Clowes and Gwilym Simcock.