“France’s Ebène Quartet has fast become one of the hottest chamber groups in the world, with excellent reason: The youthful group’s warmth, vitality, deep curiosity and musical intelligence has carried it far already.” – NPR MusicThe thrilling, young, and award-winning Ebène Quartet – described by the New York Times as “a string quartet that can easily morph into a jazz band” – returns to North America in March for concerts and master classes that will showcase repertoire from two recent releases on Virgin Classics: Dissonances, an all-Mozart album, and Fiction – Live at Folies Bergère, a concert DVD filmed at one of Paris’s most famous music halls. Performances begin in San Diego (March 2), with stops in San Francisco (March 8), New Orleans (March 14), and New York City, where they will make their Carnegie/Zankel Hall debut (March 18). Ebène also furthers its commitment to music education with a series of master classes at the Colburn School in Los Angeles (March 5-7).
Ebène’s fast-growing presence in the U.S. was heightened this fall when NPR named Fiction, the quartet’s 2011 Virgin Classics release, one of their 10 Favorite Classical Albums of 2011 as well as one of their overall 50 Best Albums of the year. Autumn also saw the release of two new recordings from the Paris-based quartet on Virgin Classics, for whom they record exclusively. The first, Dissonances – described by the Los Angeles Times as “exquisite” – takes its name from the strikingly modern harmonies that open the first movement of the C-major “Haydn” quartet (K. 465); the album also features the composer’s K. 421 “Haydn” quartet and the Divertimento (K. 138). The second recording, Fiction – Live at Folies Bergère, is a concert DVD filmed at one of Paris’s most famous music halls and spotlights music the quartet describes as being performed by “the other Ebène”: works by the Beatles (“Come Together”), Wayne Shorter (“Footprints”), and the quartet’s already talked-about spin on “Misirlou,” a tune made famous by its inclusion in the film Pulp Fiction. After an October performance in California, the Los Angeles Times’s Mark Swed raved, “Ebène is a quartet to catch sooner rather than later.” In addition to Mozart’s “Dissonance” Quartet and music from Fiction, Ebène’s March concerts will encompass music by Beethoven, Brahms, Debussy, Mendelssohn, Ravel, Schubert, and Tchaikovsky.
The Ebène Quartet rose to international prominence when their debut recording for Virgin Classics, featuring quartets by Debussy, Ravel, and Fauré, won Gramophone’s coveted Recording of the Year (2009). Since then, the young quartet has gone on to further acclaim, not only for its extraordinary interpretation of classical repertoire but also for its genre-bending forays into jazz and popular music.