Debussy Quartet

string quartet
Christophe Collette, violin
Emmanuel Bernard, violin
Vincent Deprecq, viola
Cédric Conchon, cello

“To play three quartets almost entirely from memory with such a level of intelligence and musicality would already be beyond most players.”

— The Guardian

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Biography

The Debussy String Quartet has built a reputation graced with international acclaim through their many recordings and live performances. Since its creation in 1990, they have enlivened the chamber music world with their stylish and stimulating performances. Based in Lyon and honored as Winners of the Evian International String Quartet Competition, the quartet performs about 120 concerts a year all around the world (Europe, Asia, Australia, North America…). The quartet’s recording schedule has included the release of more than 30 CDs in 30 years with works ranging from French Music (recently, around Debussy and Caplet which enriches its collection composed of Bonnal, Ravel, Fauré, Witkowski or Lekeu) to Weber or Shostakovich with the complete string quartets recorded by Arion. It includes the acclaimed Decca label release of the landmark Mozart Requiem recording, in the 1802 transcription by Peter Lichtenthal (about which a documentary film has also been made). The quartet’s mixed chamber music repertoire includes its highly regarded CD of the Brahms and Webern clarinet quintets with clarinetist Jean Francois Verdier and a highly acclaimed collaboration with François Chaplin in several Mozart piano concertos. Its members are the founders of “Les Cordes en Ballade” a chamber music festival and an academy of chamber music in the South of France, where they perform and teach each summer.

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*Represented in North America only

Programmes and projects

The Debussy String Quartet presents a concert in shadows and light, with silhouettes and strings in enigmatic backlighting: as they plunge into the repertoire of three great composers, their profound, passionate interpretations move progressively through the shadows into the light. This programme is performed completely by heart, without music stands or scores, allowing the musicians to once again leave the beaten tracks of a classical music performance.

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Mozart’s Requiem and Haydn’s The Seven Last Words of our Saviour on the Cross are two works which are clearly associated: rooted in an exchange between the human and the divine, between life and death, and between the body and the spirit. Although the works are rarely performed together, the complementarity is clear when they are heard, both in their message and in their musical form. Two different stagings are created here by Louise Moaty and the works are performed by heart, giving the four musicians the freedom to move about and to be enriched by their profound knowledge of the score, thus expressing the full dramatic essence of these two masterful compositions.

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What lies behind a masterpiece? Whether pictorial or musical, it is difficult for the artist to find inspiration without being able to identify the subtle and fragile figures which give birth to creation, nor to succeed in observing those muses without whom nothing would be possible. Accompanied by stage director David Gauchard, the Debussy Quartet wished to question the form(s) of a work through the prism of a painter‘s studio and through his muses, by installing the artist at the heart of a digital and organic stage setting. This brand-new project will appeal as much to the audience as to the quartet, as they observe the instruments being ‘drawn’…

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Reviews

“The playing from the Debussy Quartet is highly persuasive. Using a range of subtle shades the players at last bring variance to frequent restatements, and overcome the absence of an organic link between movements by creating an overall mood of youthful melancholy.” 

—  The Strad

“As for the Debussy Quartet, their feat can hardly be overstated. To play three quartets almost entirely from memory to such a level of intelligence and musicality would already be beyond most players.” 

—  The Guardian

“The subtlety, beauty and sinew of the playing are simply amazing.” 

—  Gramophone

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